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Martellus Bennett and the Cowboys: Is it Time to Move on?

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“I think I can be one of the all-time greats. It’s part of the system. I think the Cowboys are a great fit for me. The system has to change for me to produce. There’s some things they have to do on the coaching side of the ball to make me . . . fit into the system. It’s not just all on the player. There’s different things that have to be done to put me in a position to make those plays.”

Which Cowboys player, current or former, would you initially guess uttered these words?

Antonio Bryant?

Nope.

T.O.?

Wrong again.

These are the thoughts of none other than the Cowboys second-string (perhaps soon third-string) tight end, Martellus Bennett. You can view the full sit-down conversation with Bennett below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVae78Tu_aU&feature=player_embedded]

Quite the statement for a player fresh off of a 15 catch season. But are Bennett’s struggles really due to the Cowboys’ coaches? Are his limited opportunities the result of their ignorance or, perhaps, Bennett’s own incompetence?

In an attempt to possibly light a fire under the now third-year tight end’s, well, end, owner Jerry Jones said this after the 2009 season:

“There’s a big difference in the ‘down to business’ of those two guys (referring to Bennett and Anthony Spencer). Spencer has been down to business since he walked in the door. Bennett can get down to business. I know that he can. We all see what a tremendous weapon he is and can be. His blocking is really as impressive as his ability to be a big target for Romo.

I’m confident he sees that. He is extremely smart. He can get it. I think ‘focus’ would be the word. He will get a lot more tweets if he is a big-time ballplayer than he will just off of his creative ability.”

Jerry hit the nail right on the head. As of now, Bennett seems more focused on making music and getting on Twitter than learning the playbook.

But, to Bennett’s credit, Mr. Jones was also correct about his blocking ability. It is difficult to quantify run-blocking stats for a tight end, but the Cowboys appeared to flourish when running outside to Bennett’s side. Our numbers indicate the ‘Boys backs galloped for a gaudy 6.5 yards-per-carry when running behind the former Texas A&M standout.

Our film study also shows Bennett also allowed just one sack and four quarterback pressures on the season, despite staying in to block on pass plays quite often.

Still, Bennett’s on-field production has not coincided with his off-field attitude. Of course confidence is a necessity in any successful football player, but questioning the offensive scheme is a pretty big “no-no” for someone with 35 career receptions.

The Cowboys rid themselves of someone who questioned authority last season in Terrell Owens. But with all that has been made of T.O.’s locker room destruction, we would argue he is actually a better teammate than Bennett.

First, he produced. Even in his last year in Dallas– a “down year”– Owens hauled in 10 touchdown passes. Bennett had zero last season.

Second, and more importantly, Owens practiced as hard as anyone on the team. As much as T.O. was ridiculed, he never let his off-field attitude pollute his tremendous on-field effort. That does not appear to be the case for Bennett, at least not currently.

So what should the Cowboys do with Martellus?

Cut him? Not going to happen, nor should it.

Trade him? That boat may have already sailed. Cincinnati reportedly offered a first round selection last year for Bennett. The team might be happy to get a third for him now.

Of course, the future of Bennett is linked to the organization’s feelings on John Phillips. As we detailed in our Phillips v. Deon Anderson study, the second-year tight end was a bit over-matched in the run game. Further, having three solid tight ends is a must for a team that runs Double Tight formations more than anyone in the league.

Thus, the Cowboys are likely to stick with Bennett for at least another year and pray they can obtain his undivided focus. If Bennett can get ‘down to business’ and cash in his ticket, the sky is the limit.

He certainly has the potential to be one of the all-time greats.

Just ask him.

Bennett certainly has the potential for greatness, but at a certain point, potential is irrelevant.

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9 Responses to Martellus Bennett and the Cowboys: Is it Time to Move on?

  1. Omar says:

    I find it almost impossible to believe that someone would ahve traded a first for Bennett. Even the Bungles.

  2. jongb35 says:

    As do we, but it has been reported by multiple sources. Shocking. More shocking that Jerry didn’t pull the trigger.

  3. Omar says:

    Jerry gets a lot of bad press, but he seems like a smart football guy. I don’t think he’d pass up a first round pick for that, if it’s being reported after the fact…I dunno. I’m calling bullshit on the veracity of those reports. Note, I am not trying to criticizing your work…I like it quite a bit.

  4. jongb35 says:

    Thanks for the feedback and for reading. A first does seem very high, although Bennett was a 2nd rounder, so I’m sure Cincy knew they would have to at least give Dallas some kind of return on their investment.

    I still see a possibility of Marty B being dealt, just from all the reports of the Cowboys talking to multiple TE prospect (Anthony McCoy and Dorin Dickerson off the top of my head).

  5. Omar says:

    I see the possibility, of him getting dealt, however I don’t really see Jerry Jones giving up on such a young (turned 23 yesterday) promising player with lots of upside, especially after passing on such an attractive bounty. He’s only been on the team for two seasons, and in his rookie season Tony Romo was hurt, and the second season…well, I’m not sure I can explain that, perhaps Garrett will get him more involved in the up coming season. As to trading him, I feel that unless there’s a player on the board in the second that they’re absolutely in love with, they should keep him.

  6. jongb35 says:

    I agree. The value for a trade just is not there now, and there is no doubting he is a tremendous athlete. If he can get his head straightened out a little, there’s no reason he can’t become a legitimate option in the offense.

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