Running the Numbers: Missing Martellus Bennett
My latest submission to DallasCowboys.com is a piece on the importance of tight end Martellus Bennett. Although Bennett frustrated all of us and never developed as a receiver, he was dominant as a blocker. I’ve been saying for years that Bennett is better than Witten as a blocker. I even ranked Bennett as the fourth-best player on the team in 2010.
From the article:
I’ve tracked Cowboys plays for the past three years, and during that time Bennett played 1,496 snaps. You can see above that Bennett was a receiver on only 37.4% of those plays. On the other 62.6%, he was asked to either pave the way for running backs or keep Tony Romo on his feet. He performed both tasks at a near-elite level.
In pass protection, Bennett was actually superior to Jason Witten. Let me clarify that Witten is no slouch as a blocker; he’s one of the league’s best. Over the past three years, however, Bennett didn’t allow a single sack. Actually, he allowed Romo to get hit just a single time in 166 snaps of pass protection, and the quarterback was forced to move out of the pocket only five times because of pressure from the defender Bennett was blocking.
Witten, in comparison, has yielded four sacks on 242 snaps of pass protection since 2009. He has let Romo get hit three times and forced him to roll out on seven occasions. Those are really solid numbers; Witten allowed some sort of pressure on just 5.8% of snaps in pass protection. Bennett was even better at 3.6%.
Head over to the team site for more stats and analysis.