Martellus Bennett Was a Better Blocker Than Jason Witten
That title grab your attention? I’ve been talking about Martellus Bennett’s dominance as a blocker for three years. I wrote on the subject today at NBC:
And as a blocker, Bennett was outstanding. Asked to block on 62.6 percent of his snaps, I recorded Bennett as never allowing a sack in his four-year NFL career. He also allowed pressure on quarterback Tony Romo just seven times, or 3.6 percent of his snaps in pass protection. As a comparison, Jason Witten allowed pressure on 5.8 percent of his pass protection snaps over the same period.
Bennett was good in pass protection, but he was sensational as a run blocker. Over the past three seasons, the Cowboys averaged 5.6 yards-per-carry when running behind Bennett—compared to 4.9 yards-per-carry behind Witten. It’s never popular when I say this, but Bennett is a better blocker than Witten (who is a great blocker in his own right).
I don’t think the Cowboys were wrong to let Martellus walk. He was a knucklehead who really didn’t fit in well with Jason Garrett’s approach, and he may have been so one-dimensional that the value of his blocking diminished just a bit. The point is that Martellus was pretty good at what he was asked to do, and the ‘Boys will probably miss his blocking in 2012. The question is if the improvement in the passing game (whether it comes as the result of a superior pass-catching tight end or more three-receiver sets) will make up for his departure.