Edgar Bennett joins the Silver and Black for his first season with the club as the wide receivers coach.
Edgar Bennett joins the Silver and Black for his first season with the club as the wide receivers coach. Bennett, who will enter his 26th season in the NFL, will begin his first coaching stint outside of Green Bay’s organization, having coached the last 13 seasons with the Packers.
Bennett comes aboard the staff having spent the last 17 seasons with the Packers’ club in multiple roles, serving as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2015-17, wide receivers coach from 2011-14, running backs coach from 2005-10 and as the team’s director of player development from 2001-04. Bennett also spent five seasons playing running back for the Packers. As a player and coach, Bennett has won 11 division titles, appeared in six conference championships and won both Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 and XLV in 2010.
During his tenure as the offensive coordinator, Bennett helped orchestrate an offense that finished with 96 touchdown passes since 2015, the most in the NFC and second most in the NFL during that time frame despite missing All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers for nine games in 2017 due to injury. As a former running back, Bennett was able to guide his running back corps to an average of 4.41 yards per carry in the same time frame, a mark that ranks sixth in the NFL. Additionally, Bennett led an offense that ranked eighth since 2015 with a 58.8 percent conversion rate in the red zone, including a third-place finish in 2017 with a success rate of 61.9 percent.
In 2017, Bennett’s offense ranked fifth in the NFL in yards per rush (4.47 avg.), despite having to shuffle the backfield due to numerous injuries, including starting RB Ty Montgomery who missed eight games. The offense also tied for sixth in the NFC with 25 touchdown passes on the season.
Guided by Bennett, Rodgers put together one of the most prolific passing seasons in club history in 2016, tossing for 4,428 yards, completing over 400 passes for a completion percentage of 65.7, while adding an NFL-high 40 touchdowns through the air to just seven interceptions. In wake of Rodgers’ success under Bennett’s tutelage, WRs Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams combined for a league-best 26 touchdown receptions. Nelson led the league with 14 scores of his own, adding 1,257 yards receiving and 97 receptions, the fifth most in the Packers history, en route to earning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. Additionally, the offense as a whole averaged 27.0 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the league.
At the helm of the offense for the first time in 2015, Bennett emphasized ball security, as the team’s 17 turnovers were the fifth fewest in club history and also ranked fourth fewest in the NFL that year. Bennett’s primary focus was most apparent with Rodgers, as he posted the third-best pass interception percentage (1.4) in the NFL, throwing just seven interceptions on 572 attempts. Bennett oversaw an offense that saw its quarterback post over 30 touchdown passes (31) for the fifth time in career. Green Bay also rostered four wide receivers that notched at least 50 receptions in the same season, just the third time (1983 and 2002) the feat has been accomplished since 1940. The offense’s incredibly efficient play helped guide the club to a franchise record seventh consecutive playoff berth (2009-15).
From 2011-14, Bennett put together one of the finest receiving trios in the NFL, as WRs Randall Cobb, James Jones and Nelson made the Packers one of just three teams to roster three receivers with at least 20 receiving scores each during that span. The three combined for 92 receiving touchdowns. Nelson accounted for 43 of those, the fourth most in the NFL since 2011 and also finished sixth in the league with 4,841 receiving yards in the same time frame.
In 2014, Bennett mentored Cobb and Nelson to one of the greatest single-season performances the NFL has seen by two teammates, as they became the first duo in league history to each record 90-plus receptions, 1,200-plus yards and 12-plus receiving touchdowns. Nelson’s 1,519 receiving yards set a club record, while his 98 receptions were fourth-most in franchise annals. For Cobb, it was the first 1,000-yard season of his career. The two both earned Pro Bowl selections after becoming the first pair of Packers players to notch at least 90 receptions in the same season.
A 2013 campaign saw Green Bay receiving corps account for 3,319 yards receiving, the second most in a single season in club history, despite dealing with the loss of Rodgers for seven games due to injury. With four different quarterbacks taking the snap from under center that season, the group of receivers still managed to average 207.4 yards per game, second most in the league.
In 2012, Jones led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns, becoming the first Packer to lead the league in receiving scores since Shannon Sharpe (18) accomplished the feat in 1994. With the absence of two of their top wide receivers for multiple games, Bennett helped second-year receiver Cobb emerge as a versatile threat, as he led the team with 80 receptions and 954 yards, while also hauling in eight touchdown passes.
In 2011, the receivers posted some of the best numbers in club history, accounting for a team-record 3,667 yards receiving and 38 touchdowns, the second-highest touchdown total in NFL history by a receiving group at the time. Bennett coached Nelson to a career-high 15 touchdown receptions, the third most in team history, adding 68 receptions for 1,263 yards (18.6 avg.), marking the second-best receiving average in the league that year among wide receivers with at least 50 receptions. Wide receiver Greg Jennings earned a Pro Bowl selection that season, posting 949 yards and nine touchdowns in just 13 games played.
Prior to his move to wide receivers, Bennett served six years as a running backs coach for the Packers from 2005-10. In his six years, Bennett coached running backs to 1,000-yard seasons three different times.
In his last season as running backs coached, Bennett oversaw the development of sixth-round draft pick running back James Starks, who set franchise rookie playoff-record 123 yards in 2010 in the NFC Wild Card round and was instrumental down the stretch during the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV title run. From 2008-09, Bennett coached RB Ryan Grant to over 1,200 yards on the ground in consecutive seasons, just the third tailback in team history to accomplish the feat. Grant also finished second in the NFC in 2009 with 11 rushing scores, the most by a Packers running back since 2003.
Bennett was key to the initial progress of Grant in 2007, Grant’s first season with the team, as he totaled five 100-yard performances and set a Green Bay postseason record with 201 yards on the ground against the Seahawks. In 2006, Bennett helped lead the Packers’ all-time leading rusher RB Ahman Green to his final 1,000 yard season. Due to injuries in Year 1 as running backs coach in 2005, Bennett mentored undrafted rookie RB Samkon Gado to the second-most productive season by a first-year running back in club history, as Gado posted 582 yards and six scores on the ground.
Prior to his move to coaching, Bennett spent four years in the Packers front office, serving as the team’s director of player development from 2001-04. Bennett and his developmental cast around him were recognized in 2003 as the NFC’s best player development department.
PERSONAL: Native of Jacksonville, Fla. ... Played eight seasons in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears ... Was the Packers’ fourth round selection in the 1992 NFL Draft ... Played in 112 games, starting 77 of them and tallied 3,992 yards rushing on 1,115 carries and added 21 touchdowns ... Also added 284 receptions for 2,245 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns ... Became the fifth running back in Packers annals to rush for 1,000 yards in a season during the 1995 season as he finished with 1,067 ... Started for the Packers in their Super Bowl XXXI victory ... Was a four-year starter at Florida State (1987, 1989-91) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social science, with a primary emphasis in political science and a secondary emphasis in sociology ... Inducted into the Florida State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 ... Attended Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville (Fla.) and earned first-team all-state honors ... Has a wife, Mindy, a son, Edgar IV, and daughter, Elyse Morgan.