In Week 1, the Patriots pulled off the most improbable victory of the weekend when they traveled to Arizona and beat the Super Bowl contending Cardinals without the services of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, Rob Ninkovich and other important pieces. One player who quietly had a good night on the bright stage was new tight end Martellus Bennett.
The reason Bennett’s good night is listed in the “quiet” category is because he excelled doing something that never gets enough credit: blocking. The Patriots had Marcus Cannon and Cameron Flemming as their two tackles and needed all the help they could get up front. They got it in the form of Bennett, who did a good job pass blocking and was excellent blocking for the Patriots rushing attack.
This weekend against Miami, Bennett can now breakout as a serious weapon for the Patriots passing game.
Miami does not have a clear player on their roster that con cover someone like the 6-foot-6-inch Bennett (few teams do) or Rob Gronkowski, if he plays. It will take a group effort that will stretch a Dolphins defense that will already be pressed covering Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and, potentially, Gronkowski. Bennett can line up in the slot, outside or tight to the offensive line and present different matchup problems from each spot. A deeper look was taken about Bennett’s overall potential in New England before the start of the camp.
Another layer to this matchup involves Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Joseph was the defensive backs coach for the Bengals in 2014, when Cincinnati gave up big games to Patriots’ tight ends Gronkowski and Tim Wright. Although the personnel is not the same, these factors bode well for New England on Sunday.
An additional factor will be the additional comfort level Jimmy Garoppolo has with Bennett and the offense as a whole. Playing in training camp and the preseason is one thing, but getting meaningful action in the regular season is another animal entirely. Having that experience under his belt should only serve the Patriots current starting quarterback well.
Bennett proved his worth in week one and now can put up the flashy numbers that will be reminiscent of his 2014 season, when he was one of the focal points of the Bears offense. Week two provides the perfect opportunity for Bennett. He is facing a defense that will have more trouble handling him and is another week comfortable in the offense and with the quarterback. If takes advantage of that opportunity, the Patriots should come away from Sunday 2-0.