New England Patriots TE Martellus Bennett has accumulated 253 yards from scrimmage on 16 touches over the first quarter of the season. This puts him on pace for 1,000 yards on the year, which would easily be a career high.
Bennett’s best season came in 2014 when he posted 916 yards and 6 touchdowns on 90 receptions. He has surpassed 500 yards just two other times in his prior eight seasons in the NFL. It would be a shock if he didn’t eclipse 500 yards in 2016.
The 6’6, 260 pound tight end picked up 109 receiving yards this past Sunday against the Bills as one of the only offensive players to have a positive game. Pro Football Focus notes that Bennett only ran 17 routes against the Bills since he had to stay in to block, but he made the most of his chances.
This was his second 100+ yard game as a member of the Patriots; he only had two 100+ yard games in his eight years prior to joining the Patriots.
The Patriots offense will change in the coming weeks as QB Tom Brady returns to the field and as TE Rob Gronkowski starts to become more involved with the offense (Gronkowski has been asked to block on 75% of his snaps this season).
Bennett’s production will be linked to his rapport with Brady, but his opportunities can go one of two directions.
One: Gronkowski becomes a larger part of the offense and draws double coverage, opening up opportunities for Bennett underneath.
Two: Gronkowski becomes a larger part of the offense, but defenses still give Bennett the attention he deserves, which means Gronkowski or WR Julian Edelman or WR Chris Hogan will see favorable match-ups.
I’m sure we’ll see both situations occur over the final 12 games of the regular season. Bennett has been everything the Patriots were hoping for, and more, when they acquired Bennett and a 6th round pick for a 4th round pick this offseason.
In my opinion, Bennett’s done enough to prove that he should be a near-100% snap player alongside Gronkowski, Edelman, and Hogan. If RB Dion Lewis returns to full health and ability, the Patriots offense is going to be incredible over the final half of the season.