Announcers love to talk about breaking records, so at Thursday’s night’s football game they were rooting for Martellus Bennett to catch a touchdown pass – it would have given him a scoring reception for five NFL teams.
It didn’t happen, leaving us to wonder if it’s going to happen anytime this season. The fans are still awaiting the electric Rodgers-Bennett connection they drooled for all offseason.
Let’s look at the stats for Bennett with the Giants, Bears, Patriots, and Packers. Now 30, Martellus first spent four years as a backup with the Cowboys. Due to a rib injury, Marty played in only 11 games in 2015. I’ve included both Bennett’s current numbers, and his projected totals for the entire regular season.
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Bennett’s quarterbacks have included some of the best: Eli Manning (NYG), Jay Cutler (Bears), Tom Brady (NE), and now Aaron Rodgers – three out of four ain’t bad.
His stats show great productivity and consistency. The projected numbers for this season indicate he hasn’t been ignored. If anything he’s been overused by Rodgers. But his average yardage per catch is in the gutter, and his yardage on the year could be embarrassing.
His productivity, as measured by receiving yards per target, is currently at 5.0. This compares to Jared Cook’s 7.4 (2016), Richard Rodgers’ 6.0 (2015) and 7.5 (2014), Andrew Quarless’ 5.9 (2013), and Jermichael Finley’s 7.7 (2012). In his six years with Green Bay, Finley was targeted the most, 92 times, in 2011, and he had his highest catch total, 61, in 2012.
Conclusion: Bennett is getting plenty of looks, but he is not producing as he did with his three previous teams. In fact, he doesn’t even compare well with the numbers of his teammate, Richard Rodgers. The much-maligned Rodgers actually had 58 catches and eight touchdowns in 2015, his sophomore year.
The Bears’ game illustrates the problem. Bennett’s line on Thursday was six catches on seven throws for 39 yards. His first catch was a beautiful 26-yard grab – but it succeeded due to Rodgers play-faking, rolling out, and surprising Chicago by going downfield on a 3rd-and-1.
For the rest of the game, Bennett had five catches, for 4, 2, 7, 0, and 0 yards. Since Rodgers was having success everywhere else — Nelson, Cobb, and Adams — he stopped targeting Bennett before the third quarter ended.
As some TP commenters have said, he looked slow and sluggish, he’s carrying excess weight around the waist, and there are rumors that he showed up for training camp badly out of shape. Is the 30-year-old resting on his laurels? With a three-year contract at $7 million per season, has he lost his incentive to perform?
And, yes, Jared Cook, who I wanted the Packers to originally sign to a multi-year deal, is having a better year in Oakland (through three games) than Bennett is having.
I’d like to know why Bennett spent most of the game lingering around the line of scrimmage. That sounds like questionable game planning, more than anything. Maybe Big Mike, not trusting his four-guard offensive line, decided to use Bennett as an escape valve when his blocking unit broke down – which it didn’t.
This isn’t what Green Bay expected, and Bennett has never before in a lengthy career looked so ordinary.
Whatever the reason, Bennett needs to be made more productive, and fast – like within days, when the Packers face Dallas and after that in Minnesota. Those are the kind of games he was brought in for.
As one TP commenter has said…..
It seems to me that MB is doing what is asked of him for the start of this season and if you watch his blocking, it has been exceptional on many plays. I’m sure you will see a different MB when or if the starting line gets heathy
So he won’t give 100% unless the O line is healthy?
In fairness to Bennett, his head might not be in the game. Have some compassion people, his brother almost died.
I agree that it looks like scheme is a factor. How many times have they run him down the seam or on a cross / drag route? He has been kept around the line of scrimmage consistently. You have to believe that is where he is being coached to go, right? If the play called for him to go downfield and he doesn’t wouldn’t that be addressed by the coaches? Now, why is that the scheme? Because of O line problems or because he is out of shape? Or some of both? TBD. Will be interesting to see how they use him once the starting tackles are back.
He has been a disappointment. Looks like Cadaver Ted, made wrong call & should has kept Cook. What a SHOCK!!
Yeah, Bennett has not looked like the stud he has been over the years. Perhaps he will improve once things become clearer to him scheme-wise. His drops have been alarming. Cook seemed to be on the same page with Rodgers sooner.
“I’d like to know why Bennett spent most of the game lingering around the line of scrimmage. That sounds like questionable game planning, more than anything.”
That’s the exact same thing I’ve been wondering so far the majority the season. It seems like the routes he’s been relegated to run are 3 yard outs and random check downs. TFANCIL gives a great point. Bennett lays some great blocks and chips on edge rushers which buys Aaron some extra time and that might be purposely intended since the O-Line is a walking MASH unit.
I’ve been a little frustrated wondering why MM hasn’t utilized him in the same way they used to use Jermichael Finley. Stretching the defense and finding midfield seams. It seems painfully obvious that that’s the way Bennett should be utilized, but at this particular point in the season, he might be more valuable as an additional blocker and safety net.
if were going to pay him 7 million to block, we should have just kept Lang and Cook.
Bennett is not a stretch the field big play threat and I’m not sure he ever has been. He’s a big, strong, all around tight end who should be big over the middle, moving the chains and occasionally beating someone deep. But he’s not Jared Cook. That he’s an all around tight end makes it harder to predict the play call. I just wish he would show a little bit more emotion and good spirit on the field. He just seems like he’s trudging around out there without any passion or motivation.
Paid him to be a GB Packer. If the needs of the team are to block because the O Line is a center and 4 guards, then he is doing just fine. However, when does go downfield, and QB1 launches a pass to him, the needs of the team are that he hauls it in. That is where the perceived problem is. Too many drops.