Martellus Bennett questions role in Bears offense
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Martellus Bennett repeated that he wasn’t trying to be a bad employee, and then continued talking about his dissatisfaction with his role in the Bears’ offense.
Thursday, he said there was “nothing I can do” about his perceived under-use in the passing game, not even bringing it up to quarterback Jay Cutler in the huddle.
“I just kinda keep my head down and go to work,” he said. “Because when you say something, you become the a–hole, even if it’s a valid point. So I just avoid drama.”
So it’s not worth it to be difficult?
“Not in this league,” he said. “They don’t play the a–holes.”
Bennett’s wrong about his final point, and, statistically, about his first one, too.
Only Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen have more targets among tight ends than Bennett’s 58. It’s the exact same number of targets as Bennett had this time last year.
There is a drop-off in production from the others, though; Bennett’s 324 receiving yards are almost half that of the Patriots star, who leads NFL tight ends. Bennett’s four drops, according to Pro Football Focus, are tied for the second-most among tight ends and one behind header Garrett Graham.
Bennett is likely sulking about his season-low three catches on a season-low five targets Sunday.
“At some point they gotta come my way,” he said. “But until they do, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Bennett takes pride in both blocking and receiving. He said many of the league’s most high-profile tight ends — he named the Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham, the Jaguars’ Julius Thomas and Monday’s opponent, the Chargers’ Antonio Gates — don’t do both.
“Jimmy can’t block worth (expletive) … ” he said.
“They get a lot of credit, a lot of love, but Julius doesn’t block nobody, Gates doesn’t really block anybody, but they do a great job in the passing game.
“It all depends on the system you’re in.“
Bennett said he has to “kick ass at the line of scrimmage and kick ass down the field.” He did that last season, setting career highs with 90 catches, 916 receiving yards and six touchdowns to earn his first Pro Bowl bid. He then stayed away from volunteer offseason activities at Halas Hall while he stumped, in vain, for a new contract.
Chargers coach Mike McCoy praised Bennett for being a good blocker and explosive in the passing game — “not only all the short, quick underneath things, but he can stretch the field and make the big plays.”
Bennett admires the chemistry that his friend Gates — who is 10 touchdowns from tying Tony Gonzalez for the tight end career record with 111 — has with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
“The way he runs his routes — and Philip kinda knows those things — he has a lot of freedom within the offense,” Bennett said. “Most times, I don’t really have that much freedom like he has, to get open like that.”
Asked if he was jealous, Bennett smiled.
“He’s their No. 1 target, and I’m like, third, fourth,” Bennett said. “So that’s been my whole career.
“Even last year, year before that. But I still make plays.”
The return of Alshon Jeffery, he said, didn’t change the way he was defended.
“They pay attention to me, still,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything the other team is doing. I don’t feel like anyone in the NFL can hold me.”
What went unsaid: the hint that his own team is all that can slow his production.
“At this point,” he said, “I’ll just be a real good employee.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley