CHICAGO - Martellus Bennett said he didn't even realize his new team was playing his old team until he got the beep.
"I never know who we play the next week, but I always know the week of,'' the Bears tight end said. "It pops up on my phone. I go to 'Save the Dates,' so I get these reminders at the beginning of the week.''
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This week, of course, the Giants popped up. Bennett, who injured his knee Sunday against the Saints, was hoping to pop them back Thursday night. He was activated as a game-time decision and had two catches for 29 yards in the first half. "It would be a hard one to miss,'' Bennett said.
In some ways, Bennett already has gotten his revenge against the Giants for not re-signing him as a free agent and instead bringing in Brandon Myers this offseason. With the Bears, Bennett is one of four primary targets for Jay Cutler. Through the first five games, he caught 25 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns, ahead of the pace from a year ago, when he caught 55 passes for 626 yards as a Giant, both career highs. Myers has caught 18 passes for 208 yards and the entire collection of Giants tight ends has suffered a letdown in terms of blocking.
As Bennett gets more comfortable with his new teammates and the new offense the Bears have installed -- one in which he is a primary passing target, which he never was with the Giants -- he figures he should surpass those numbers.
"It's getting better and better every week,'' Bennett said. "I expect to make a huge push as far as production goes as the year goes on.''
Bennett said getting in on the ground floor of an offense is helpful, too.
"Sometimes you go to places that already have their system put together or what roles are for guys are already put together and you just try to get in where you fit in,'' he said. "But here I came into a situation that was brand new and there were some things they could tailor around me and the things that I do well, so it's been pretty special.''
That's not to say his season with the Giants wasn't special. His kooky personality was allowed to shine as much as his ability to catch passes. He said there weren't any hard feelings when he left to sign a four-year, $20.4 million contract with the Bears.
The Giants knew what to expect physically from Bennett because they practiced against him for a year and faced him twice a year during his time with the Cowboys. But they also knew what to expect from him verbally and were prepared for the chatter that he brings to the field.
"He's going to say bizarre things,'' Justin Tuck said. "That's Martellus. Or, as he calls himself, The Black Unicorn.''
Bennett doesn't go by that name anymore. It was a New York thing. In Chicago, he's now Martysaurus Rex. And a year after cozying up to Eli Manning, he has a new quarterback to whom he can send non-sequitur texts and try to form a connection with.
"I got a new BFF this year,'' he said. "It's like going to a new school. Any time you go to a new school, it's just new uniforms, new people and you make new friends, and that's just how it's been for me here.
"And it's been an easy transition, because I'm everybody's BFF.''
Notes & quotes: The Giants made two changes to their starting lineup on defense, inserting recently acquired Jon Beason at middle linebacker over Mark Herzlich and putting nickel cornerback Terrell Thomas on the outside in place of Trumaine McBride. Thomas matches up better than McBride against the Bears' big, physical receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery . . . DE Damontre Moore (hamstring), who was listed as doubtful and did not practice this week, was active. Six of the Giants' seven inactives were because of injury: David Wilson (neck), David Baas (neck), Corey Webster (groin), Jayron Hosley (hamstring), Adrien Robinson (foot) and Cooper Taylor (shoulder). Third-string quarterback Ryan Nassib was the final inactive . . . The Bears were without two-time Pro Bowl CB Charles Tillman (knee) and starting NT Stephen Paea (toe).