Injuries abound for the Dallas Cowboys just like they do for every other NFL team. When the team is hit, it’s up to that team to adjust. Maybe it’s signing another player to add depth or to act as a replacement or the team calls on another player to step-up.
Martellus Bennett, you’re up.
The Dallas Cowboys lost tight end John Phillips to a season ending ACL injury in the first preseason game of the year against the Bengals. Phillips was giving a serious push to replace Bennett as the team’s back-up behind Witten before his devastating injury.
Now it’s up to Bennett to finally live up to expectations. Last season Martellus had a pretty decent preseason and looked to have a strong regular season. But despite a few highlight plays here and there, the former Texas A&M was largely a disappointment. His stat line read more of an injured player and not a guy looked upon to make a serious red zone impact. Bennett ended his season with 15 catches, 159 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.
This season Martellus has another opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. In the Cowboys last preseason game against the Chargers ESPN.com NFC East blogger Matt Mosley stated that he saw Bennett play his game as a Dallas Cowboys, including the regular season. Dallas will need that type of production from Bennett as Witten will undoubtedly continue to see double teams.
If Bennett continues to develop and the Cowboys utilize more two tight end sets, that will take a little heat away from Romo and Witten. Jason Witten has been Romo’s security blanket for awhile and if Bennett is able to gain Tony’s trust then the Cowboys will have two of the league’s better pass catching tight ends.
Bennett is also big enough to become a strong blocking presence for the ‘Boys and should aid in opening more holes for Jones and Barber in the backfield. Also if the Cowboys offensive line continues to show signs of wear and Dallas is forced to use two tight ends for blocking, Bennett could surely provide needed assistance as a go to man for disrupting ends rushing off of the edge.
Early on in this year’s training camp Bennett nursed a sore ankle and took a lot of heat for missing team workouts because of the ankle. Once he returned he stated that he was ready to prove everyone wrong about him and that he was simply angry.
Those criticizing Bennett were doing so because Martellus makes himself an easy target. He’s an interesting guy both on and off the field but he seems to make the most noise with his off-season antics. An example is his “Osama Bin Happenin’” video he posted on YouTube where he was seen wearing a long, fake black beard and scooting around on the floor rapping the lyrics to a song he made up.
That video, along with his “black Olympics” video from last year, did not sit well with the team or fans. Honestly, allowing that type of behavior is from a player is usually reserved for superstars. Bennett has yet to reach that status and some wonder if he ever will
Hopefully Bennett is able to transform his off the field actions into production on the field. The 2010 season is make or break for Bennett as the Cowboys will welcome John Phillips back from injury and he’s sure to push for that back-up spot behind Witten once again.
You can catch Jason’s radio show, “Monday Night Quarterback,” every Monday night at 8pm ET on www.blogtalkradio.com/cowboyjay