Hello Giants fans! I kind of took a break from writing these, but I figured I'd get back to it. Today's profile is actually the first one that doesn't cover a player from the 2011 draft class. Bennett has four years of playing experience in the NFL under his belt. Unfortunately for Mr. Bennett his NFL career started off on the Dallas Cowboys. You can all begin your collective booing here. After four years of not being able to flourish under Jason Witten (who by the way I have all the respect for in the world, he's one of the best Tight Ends in the NFL and a classy guy at that), Bennett signed a one year "show me" deal with our New York Giants. This move was probably prompted by both Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum tearing their ACL's in the Giants Superbowl victory versus the Patriots.
Yes, I know that last picture is rather disturbing. But I also find it funny, so oh well. Anyway to get back on topic Martellus Bennett is a player that I am really excited about this season. This guy is a lot more athletic than the last few starting Tight End's that we've had. While I have a lot of respect for both Ballard and Boss, these guys just didn't possess the athletic tools that Bennett does. If Eli can turn both of those guys into successful players on our offense then I am extremely eager to see how Bennett does on our team.Stats
Martellus Bennett went to college at Texas A&M and was regarded as one of the better Tight End prospects entering the 2008 NFL Draft. His Freshman year he had 18 receptions for 162 yards and three Touchdowns. In his Sophomore campaign he improved to 38 receptions and 497 yards, once again with three touchdowns. Bennett then improved once more in his final year as a Junior, nabbing 49 receptions for 587 yards and finding the endzone four times. On top of being an above average receiving weapon for A&M, Bennett also offered great blocking in the run game, which earned him a second round selection in the 08 draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
His rookie year was rather successful, he compiled 20 receptions for 283 yards and four Touchdowns. For a Tight End sitting behind Jason Witten, that isn't bad at all. He hit a sophomore slump of sorts his second year, only grabbing 15 receptions for 159 yards and no Touchdowns. He improved to a career high 33 receptions his third year with the Boys, but he only picked up 260 yards and never found the endzone. His fourth and final year was another disappointment for Cowboys fans as Bennett only caught 17 passes for 144 yards and once again no Touchdowns. Despite his lack of receiving abilities there is no doubt that Bennett is a great blocking Tight End.
There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that Martellus Bennett was brought in by the Giants organization to improve the running game. After ranking 32nd in the running game last year, the whole team was horrified by the results of our ground game. For years the Giants had been a ground and pound team and there were times that the Giants were frustrated with their lack of a run game. While we were fortunate enough to ride Eli's arm to a Superbowl win, the moves Jerry Reese made in the offseason made it clear that he was not happy with the terrible running game. Here's a quote from our GM.
"I think he's going to really help our run game, because he's a tremendous blocker. We think he could be a good receiver, but what he gives us as a receiver is going to be a bonus. We think he can really help us get our run game going, because he's the blocking tight end that we haven't had. Jake [Ballard] was an okay blocker, Bear [Pascoe] has been an okay blocker. But Martellus could be a dominating blocker, and that's what we haven't had, really for a while. We haven't had a dominating guy since, like, Howard Cross."
Imagine having another Howard Cross on the end of our line. If Bennett continues to be an amazing blocker there is no doubt our running game will improve greatly. It's also been said that anything he contributes in the passing game will be a "bonus". Here's another quote from Reese about the Tight End position.
"We've had some young guys really do good jobs for us. Kevin Boss caught like 35, 45 balls. Then you get Jake in, he catches 35, 45 balls. Somebody else will do that. That's not a staple in our offense, the tight end. I think our offense is more receiver-oriented and back-oriented. Henry Hynoski caught a bunch of passes last year out of the backfield, our fullback. So there's different ways to skin a cat."
Reese makes a very good point about the rest of the receiving options that are already on the Giants. With our very talented receiving group and other options like Hynoski, Bennett doesn't have to show off Jerry Rice-like catching abilities.
The Mouth From the South
In case you haven't heard Martellus Bennett talk, he will gladly sit down with you and talk your ear off. It was just a year ago that Antrel Rolle was the loudest player in a Giants uniform, but Bennett had no problem taking that title from him. I know that the Giants are a quiet, under the radar kind of team but I have to say that I find Bennett to be hilarious. It's not like our entire team runs their mouth's like our inner state rivals in green, so I have no problem with Bennett using his gift of gab as long as he is producing on the field. Bennett has been quoted as calling himself a "Black Unicorn" when it comes to running routes, and had no problem talking about his former team either. Here are a few gems from our new Tight End.
"I really just want to kick those guys’ a—es. You know what I’m saying? That’s what it’s all about, you know? I mean, we’re cool, but we ain’t that cool. I kind of got some ill feelings towards them. It’s a game. Every game is the same way. I kind of hate everybody, honestly, in the NFL."
"It was a situation where I wanted to get the ball more. You want to be a bigger part off of the offense, and feel like you are more a part of the team, not that guy who just plays. It’s pretty tough, but I think it helped me a lot. There are a lot of things I do now that I got from Witten, be it preparation or things I have seen him do. Now it’s part of my approach to the game."
"That was like 10 weeks ago. My hamstring feels good. Want to touch it?"
"I'm kind of like a black unicorn out there. It's amazing to watch. You go out there and you see a big, black guy running down the field, it's usually me."
You see what I mean? He's a quote monster. He even had his own sports blog when he was serving his sentence....erm I mean playing with the Cowboys. Bennett definitely enjoys the spotlight and won't shy away from a microphone or camera. While I find it entertaining there were many Giants fans that were concerned about his mouth, especially considering he showed up weighing 291 at the Giants OTA's. Fortunately those concerns were curbed once Bennett slimmed down to around 270 and began to trot around like a....black unicorn during training camp.
Why He Can Make an Impact
Well this is pretty simple, you take one of the best blocking Tight Ends in the NFL and put them on the team that had the worst running game in the league and you're going to get some type of production from that player. Bennett is going to be a big asset in our ground attack this year, basically being a more athletic Right Tackle for us. Now speaking of Right Tackles, that's exactly who is going to benefit from this signing. Whether it is Diehl, Brewer, Mosely, Locklear, or whoever else we might dig up between now and the season opener, Bennett is going to help that Tackle contain and push back any Defensive End that we may be facing. Most of us here know that our Offensive Line is the shakiest part of our team right now, and having Bennett come in and help out with the blocking is going to be huge.
As far as receiving goes, I highly doubt that we see a whole lot from Bennett. If he is able to contribute to our passing attack then it's going to be an amazing luxury for an already potent offense. But anywhere between 30-40 catches would be perfect for Bennett. I do think that he will get better as a receiver by playing on the Giants. Eli has the ability to make a bad player average, and an average player good. Bennett will have to clean up his route running and focus more on really using his hands, but the receiving aspect of his game will improve just by the fact that he's playing with Eli Manning and defense's are going to be focused on the other big weapons the Giants offense has to offer. Also keep in mind the fact that Bennett is on a one year deal meaning it's a contract year for him. He is really going to want to shine and earn himself a big payday either from the Giants or on the Free Agent market.
I Hate Youtube
So I couldn't really find any good videos of Bennett actually playing football, but of course there were plenty of him talking and what not. Of course there were a few highlight tributes but I hate those because they don't show any of the lower points of a player, which doesn't give the person watching the correct impression. If anyone can find some good footage of him actually playing then please feel free to post it, it'd be much appreciated. But since I can't find any, I guess I'll give you this.
I know, he's crazy as hell. But he's our knucklehead now, and we have to cheer hard for him.
I really think that Bennett has the potential to be another one of Reese's great under the radar Free Agent signings that us Giants fans have been treated to. I have no doubt that he can be an instant contributor to the blocking side of things, there are even a few reports of him being able to block JPP in training camp. Having the edge sealed off by the big-bodied Bennett will be great for Bradshaw and Wilson. There is also a chance we can use his athleticism in the passing game, which would just be icing on the cake. The only thing that I'm worried about is that if things start to go south for any reason, Bennett will probably be the first one to pipe up. I'm all for dealing with his antics, but if they start to affect the team in a negative way then the Giants are going to have a problem. I'm sure that Coughlin will have no problem putting the muzzle on Martellus though. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if coach hasn't said something to Bennett about his yapping already.