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Despite Early Success, New York Giants’ Martellus Bennett is Looking to Improve

September 27th, 2012 at 9:30 AM
By Casey Sherman

The New York Giants signed Martellus Bennett away from their biggest rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, as a solution to a rash of injuries to their tight ends. Though Bennett saw limited playing time in Dallas playing behind Jason Witten, the Giants were confident he could be a starting tight end in the NFL. So far this season, Bennett has proven them right, putting up numbers better than the majority of starting tight ends in the league. But Bennett is unimpressed with his play and believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

Thus far this season Bennett has caught 15 balls for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Last years as a Cowboy, he finished the season with 17 catches, 144 yards and zero touchdowns. He is the first player in Giants' franchise history to catch a touchdown pass in each of the first three games of the season. He also leads the Giants' receivers in touchdown receptions. Most would say those were impressive statistics for a first-time starter, but not Bennett.

"I'm probably the only person who's not impressed with the way I've been playing," Bennett said Wednesday. "I think there's a whole lot of room for improvement."

Finding areas for improvement in Bennett's game, after the way he has performed of late seems difficult, but Bennett knows what parts of his play needs work.

"Everything. Technique, and just my whole game. I'm not happy with my whole game right now, so I'm just working on getting better as a player," he said.

Does Bennett believe he will improve? Of course. Confidence is something the self proclaimed "black unicorn" does not lack.

"I've always thought I was one of the best at the tight end position, I just never had a chance to get out there and show it. I think this is my chance to show it," he said.

Though it's only been three games, it appears the signing of Bennett is becoming a win-win situation for the Giants and Martellus. The Giants now have a big tight end who can block and catch, and Bennett gets his opportunity to prove himself as a quality starting NFL player.

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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38 Responses to “Despite Early Success, New York Giants’ Martellus Bennett is Looking to Improve”

  1.  The Original G Man says:

    Here’s “Marty B” last night:

    @1987Marty
    I really enjoyed A Football life about coach Coughlin. Great man great coach.

  2.  jfunk says:

    Yay! All aboard the Bennett cheerleader express!

    After our brief layover in Dropsville is complete, it should be smooth sailing.

    I hope he scores three TDs in Dallas and we get treated to a shot of “Jerry face” each time.

    I also hope we find a way to extend his contract before the end of the season.

  3.  kujo says:

    Demo,

    You are correct–We debated the center issue for months. That’s legitimate, but that’s not how you commonly refer to that period of time; “Princess Meatlocker, the guy who cried all over this board because he wanted us to draft a center over JPP.” That was never my argument then, and it surely isn’t now. I definitely didn’t see JPP’s upside, but its not like I was balls out for a center in the 1st round. I thought we needed a top prospect in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd round, while you felt we could acquire someone in the mid to low rounds, or someone who wasn’t drafted at all, to mold and develop. Turns out we were both wrong–Reese went out and spent top dollar on a free agent who was picked in the 2nd round.

    Look, this is stupid. It’s all said and done, but you keep bringing it up. That’s obnoxious.

    •  kujo says:

      On the other hand, kudos to you for the Corey Webster slam.

    •  demo3356 says:

      No princess…You keep bringing it up. You said you were done yesterday so i left you alone, today FF55yrs calls you out for always running your mouth but not being able to take it when someone gives it back to you. You then precede to go on another 2 paragraph vagfest about how I pick on you AGAIN. If you don’t like it shut the phuck up and keep my name out of your mouth. What you cant do is call me out and talk ish but then curl up and cry when I fire back. Stop being a btch already and move on… like you said you did yesterday Clown

    •  giantsfan says:

      I have to admit, I was extremely disappointed at the JPP draft selection as well. If there was any area we were strongest at, DE was it. Not only that, but to draft a guy with mimimal experience in FOOTBALL, not even DE, but FOOTBALL as high as 15, I was shocked.

      Boy was I wrong. I was so wrong. Man, I hope this guy is our next Strahan.

      •  demo3356 says:

        Giants fan, I too was disappointed in the pick. Couldn’t figure out why a team with 3 stud DE’s would spend a top 20 pick on another DE, but one thing I’ve learned is never to doubt Reese, Ross and company.. those guys have forgotten more about scouting and football then this entire board collectively will ever know

        •  giantsfan says:

          Demo,

          You have to wonder though, if Reese got lucky. Was this actually a dumb move and he got really lucky? I mean like I said, this guy was drafted 15 overall with 2 years of football experience. In most cases, this would be a really bad move haha. But I will trust in Reese and Ross from now on ha

          •  demo3356 says:

            No, not luck. They knew what he was and were near giddy when making the pick. I think Ross has some USF ties, because he has gotten some raw gems from that program in JPP and Williams.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            No I think that pick wasn’t luck. JPP developed faster than they probably could have reasonably hoped but they knew he had this type of ability. The thing they might have got lucky with is this kid seems to have the want to maximize his talent.

  4.  JimStoll says:

    repost:

    F0XLIN says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM
    +1 watched with my fiance last night, I look to him for inspiration after that

    Nothing is surprising to me regarding David Wilson. This is exactly how TC/Gilbride approach all rookie running backs. Until they prove they can protect the ball and equally as important the quarterback, they will not see the field.

    Although comparing a 7th rd Bradshaw to a 1st round Wilson isn’t fair, but Wilson also had pass protection concerns coming from the spread at VT. In 07 Bradshaw fumbled 2 early kick off returns and the Giants turned to Ruben Droughns inthe return game.

    It wasn’t until Ward and Jacobs got injured, and Droughns stunk that Bradshaw saw the field in December vs the Vikings and had the infamous breakout game vs the Bills.

    I look for the same scenario (minus the injuries) to play out with Wilson, only in November due to his intelligent reputation.

    Reply
    demo3356 says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM
    agreed, this is how they work with the Rooks, nothing new

    Reply
    JimStoll says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM
    add to that that despite the great late season and playoff run that bradshaw had in ’07, he was relegated to third on the depth chart for all of ’08
    that will give you a sense of how long Wilson may have to wait

    what I find unfortunate right now is that wilson is only getting in about 1 or 2 snaps a game, and then they are for plays specifically designed to go to him, which makes him a target; that only increases the difficulty in getting on track

    I will suggest this — the minute wilson breaks a big play from scrimmage, he will begin to see time

    Reply
    demo3356 says:
    September 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM
    Braddie was “Relegated” back to 3rd because Ward returned from his injury and he and BJ ran for like a combined 2200 yds

    Reply

    Demo, my point was that Bradshaw started out no. 3 in ’08 despite what he accomplished at the end of 07; not that Jacobs and Ward didn’t perform well
    I was simply highlighting the fact that wilson now has to climb over both Bradshaw and Brown before he sees significant play time

    •  demo3356 says:

      Jim- He should have to climb over them. Also Bradshaw had a great game in Buffalo and was solid in the post season, lets not act like he went for 150 a game during that run. Jacobs and Ward were better all around backs in 08 than Bradshaw was, as proven by the 11-1 prePlaxitard start and the 2000- yds rushing. Wilson is a different case and light years more talented than Bradshaw. He will be starter by end of this year or beginning of next. He’ll have to prove it though

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    I like some of us here felt Bennett would be an improvement over Ballard. I knew Bennett was talented and underutilized in Dallas. But I didn’t see him being this good. Now watching Bennett play he’s even more talented than I thought. That TD that Bennett caught vs TB is a play only a few TEs at 265 can make. I heard a few compare Bennett to Gronk before the season and I thought it was an exaggeration. But now watching him I think athletically he’s very similar to Gronk. Vernon Davis and Graham are on their own level athletically but in that group right after them athletically Bennett belongs. The key for him is round out his receiving game. It’s good that he thinks highly enough of himself that some success isn’t enough. He’s trying to be the best TE he can be.

    It’s just a shame that he’s playing so well that’s he’s probably pricing himself out of our range next year. As much as I would want to keep him, paying a TE top dollar when we have both Nicks and Cruz that will need new deals doesn’t make sense. Hopefully, Robinson learns a lot from Bennett because I bet he’s our starting TE next year. Unless we can find another Bennett type player who we can resurrect.

    It’s just a shame that he’s playing so well that’s he’s probably pricing himself out of our range next year. As much as I would want to keep him, paying a TE top dollar when we have both Nicks and Cruz that will need new deals doesn’t make sense. Hopefully, Robinson learns a lot from Bennett because I bet he’s our starting TE next year. Unless we can find another Bennett type player who we can resurrect.

  6.  giantsfan says:

    I am very impressed by Bennett.

    I curbed my enthusiasm when he was signed. All I hear about this guy is potential but nothing to show for it. I didn’t believe in the hype.

    Well, he’s definitely proving to the a fantastic addition, and easily the most athletic TE we had in years. He looks to be even better than shockey ever was.

    There was a moment, however, that I was very disappointed at. During the Panthers game, it looks like Bennett stopped running his route. I’m not sure what happened there, but in the sidelines, they showed Eli trying to give him advice. But Bennett was having none of it. Kept walking away from Eli. I didn’t like that attitude at all. I’m not sure what that was about. Seem like a kid pouting. Just one instance though. Aside from that, I am very happy with his production.

    •  demo3356 says:

      There is a reason we got him so cheap and nobody including Dallas who’s seen him day in day out for 3 years really tried to get him. He has been an enigma and very inconsistent his whole career. He had a bad rep and was considered an under achiever. Hopefully being on this team, in this locker room, surrounded by all these proven vets will help straighten him out and reach his potential. That circus atmosphere in Dallas and Romo’s love affair with his butt buddy Whitten didnt help a kid like Bennett at all

  7.  norm says:

    This being America, in the end it came down to money. Not the nickels and dimes the owners might have saved by putting the NFLRA pension into a 401(k), but the billions rung up week in and week out by bookies from Las Vegas to Sri Lanka. A sea of money, an ocean of money was at stake and the pressure to reassure all that money, to calm all that money down, must have been immense. Tectonic. Planetary.

    We’ll get the real officials back thanks to the gravitational pull of the money bet on U.S. football. Because the most lucrative random numbers generator on Earth, the NFL, needs every game to be played on the square. Even the appearance of a fix could send the planet wobbling into the sun. And given sufficient incompetence, the appearance of a fix was inevitable.

    That’s what happened Monday night in Seattle. This wasn’t about integrity or love of the game or player safety or the fans or even the quality of the product on the field. This was about a game so poorly officiated by scabs that sportsbooks were refunding money — because an NFL game looked crooked.

    This deal got done because without real officials, real money can’t trust the NFL. Not after Monday night.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8429968/money-talks-agreement-nfl-officials

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I said after the game that it would be the sports books that brought the league to it’s knees over the officiating. It was pretty obvious. Betting is what brings large parts of the audience for all of the games that don’t involve one’s rooting interest, and that leads to huge ratings, which leads to large dollars from the pipes that carry the games and The Red Zone.

      The bookies, and the networks (angry because the replacements were extending game times and screwing up their schedules without them having had the possibility of selling more commercial time) had to be satisfied. Anyone who believes the owners caved for any other reason (ie. “the integrity of the game”, “the health of the players”) is a damned fool.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      Not one sportsbook in Vegas refunded money for that game.

      I’ve actually only heard of one site that actually did refund bettors their money, unfortunately that site was not the one I place my bets on. A refund would be most appreciated though. LOL.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      I’ll also add that the NFL might fix some games from here to there , But it is nothing and i mean NOTHING compared to what the NBA does.

      The NBA is the most crooked league in this country. Any coincidence how the NBA hasn’t arrested other refs after Tim Donoghy named ALL those who are “in” on the fix?

  8.  fanfor55years says:

    I love Bennett, and was high on him right from the start. I even said that I fully believed that he really had been hosed in Dallas and never allowed to reach his potential because of Romo’s immaturity (and that of Garrett and Jerruh) and focus on his best pal Witten (for whom I have lots of respect and blame not at all for being an excellent, reliable, player who just benefited from being favored by his quarterback). Martellus dropped a few passes and fell into the doghouse and was never really allowed out. Yet he was one of the reasons that their relatively ordinary running game worked pretty well since he was a devastatingly good blocker.

    And that last point is the one being overlooked now. Yeah, his receiving results are great (and will, I am sure, get better), but it is his blocking that remains more important to the Giants. It’s simple folks: if the Giants can run the ball they have an unstoppable offense. No defense in the NFL can stop a team that has Eli, Nicks and Cruz if a safety has to come up to help against the run. A defense with only three players deep simply cannot beat the Giants’ passing game unless the weather is just awful. Three back means they have to have single coverage on Nicks or Cruz. And unless every team suddenly has a Revis (and there aren’t two of him….he’s light years better than any other corner in the league) that means that with Eli’s vision and anticipation he will be able to find the guy who is singled up, who will have beaten his defender 80-85% of the time, all game. So note that the running game has become stronger NOT just with the return of Beatty and the placement of Locklear at RT and the emergence of Brown (all of which are BIG deals), but with the increasing comfort level that Bennett has with the offense and his high-quality blocking (he is sealing the edge way better than anyone has for the past few years, even better than did Boss).

    Bennett is headed toward being a huge asset for the Giants and could well turn into one of the pieces that gets them another ring even if he’s only here for a year.

    •  norm says:

      Signing Bennett had the dual benefit of improving the Giants running game while simultaneously weakening the Cowboys’.

      After just a few games running behind Bennett last year, DeMarco Murray was already being hailed as one of the league’s elite backs.

      This year, after three games, he’s rushed 50 times for 213 yards. That 4.3 ypc average looks somewhat respectable – until one considers the 49 yard run he had against the Giants, greatly aided by Kiwi being tackled from behind in front of one of the scab refs.

      Subtracting that run reduces Murray’s 2012 production thus far to 155 yds on 49 carries, or a very pedestrian 3.2 ypc.

      Something tells me his numbers would look much more robust were Bennett still wearing the star on his helmet.

      •  norm says:

        Comparing apples to apples, here is how DeMarco Murray and Andre Brown fared against the same Tampa Bay defense in successive weeks.

        Brown: 13 carries for 71 yards
        Murray: 18 carries for 38 yards

        Unless someone believes that Brown is significantly more talented than Murray (I don’t) then it’s reasonable to concluded that Brown enjoyed far superior blocking than his Cowboy counterpart.

        Without going back and breaking down the tape, it’s impossible for me to say how much of Brown’s success vs. the Bucs was directly attributable to Bennett. But I think it’s safe to assume that #85 played some part in that success.

        •  fanfor55years says:

          Nice post. Bennett is definitely a factor in the run game. Anyone who watches will see that he does three things in that regard VERY well:

          1) Makes really excellent seal blocks;

          2) Gets much more consistent success taking a DE or OLB outside the running gap than any Giants tight end has done since Bavaro; and

          3) Has reached the second level of the defense to allow 3-4 yard gains to turn into longer ones on a more consistent basis than Ballard or Boss could manage.

          Being at the games and seeing this is one of the very nice things about not having to watch on TV. It all becomes pretty obvious. The guy was REALLY good against Tampa Bay, and appeared to me to be following that up with a very strong game in the trenches against Carolina although all most paid attention to was his excellent work as a receiver.

          Great acquisition. Right now it looks like signing Bennett and Locklear may be the BIGGEST moves Reese made for 2012, although Hosley is going to give them a run for the money in that regard. And as I’ve said, Wilson’s fresh legs will pay off later this season.

    •  giantsfan says:

      Revis is very good, but I think you exaggerating a bit. He gets away with quite a fair amount of holding per game.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Nope. All corners hold a bit. Otherwise they couldn’t cover anyone. Only my opinion but I think there’s a HUGE gap between Revis and whomever is the second best in the league. HUGE.

        Interestingly, I think the Giants have two corners (Amukamara and Hosley) who just might jump into the elite category by no later than midway through the 2013 season. Yeah, I think they can be THAT good, THAT early in their careers. I’ve always liked Webster (you may remember I said so when the rest of the world never wanted to see him on the field again), but while he is one of the better corners in the league, he ain’t “elite”. I think these two youngsters might be.

  9.  F0XLIN says:

    I agree on Prince and Hosley, they are coming into their own fast. I’m still interested to see Hosley matched up on some of the taller receivers in the league, as his height is the only knock on him

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Check out Hosley’s vertical leap. That makes up for a lot of height. He could have problems, as does everyone, with Megatron, but otherwise I think he can get to the best height at which to get the pass as well as any receivers in the league.

      •  F0XLIN says:

        Yea agreed, just curious to see. Obviously the timing of his jumps is critical there but clearly he can play the ball from what he did at VT. He seems VERY instinctive out there for a 3 game rookie.

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