Martellus Bennett returning to New England is the kind of perfect move that makes us all hate the Patriots.
Bill Belichick is a wizard, that’s practically common knowledge. He’s also incredibly lucky which is less talked about but is still a big part of his success. There’s no luck involved when it comes to drawing up the schemes Belichick makes in games, or the way that he prepares his team so well that it can come back from a 28-3 deficit.
Luck comes when something you didn’t expect falls right into your lap; something like Martellus Bennett getting cut by the Packers. Maybe all along this was Belichick’s wizardry at work, but chances are he simply got lucky at the right time.
It’s no secret that for the first time in years there are serious questions about the Patriots chances to win a Super Bowl. Say what you will about the cliche that they always manage to pull it out, this year is different. Tom Brady is old, the offense is good but not great, and the defense is a joke. For the first time in a long time, New England is mortal and no one could figure out what wizard spell Belichick would come up with to fix things.
Enter: Martellus Bennett.
Cut by the Packers for failing to disclose an injury, he was claimed by the Patriots on Thursday afternoon. There were plenty of smarmy responses to this, with most people pointing out that Dwayne Allen has zero catches this year as the team’s second tight end. Dwayne Allen is not Martellus Bennett; that catch total is going to change.
Bennett had one of his most productive seasons in New England last year. He only averaged little more than three catches per game, but ended the year with seven touchdowns and 701 yards. That’s efficiency, and it’s what New England needs.
The instant criticism then and now of Bennett is that he’ll be ineffective because of Gronk. Lest we forget that Bennett was targeted five or more times by Tom Brady in nine games — six of those came with Gronk on the field. In Week 5 (albeit against Cleveland) Bennett was on the field with Gronk and saw eight targets, which was more than his counterpart. That’s a small sample size but it’s proof that this could work.
It also can’t be overstated how important locker room chemistry is during a Super Bowl run. Bennett might not be the missing piece, but he was there last season when the Patriots won a Super Bowl and he’s bringing that chemistry back with him.
This isn’t a case where the Patriots didn’t bring him back because he’s not good. Ne England churns is roster after every season, especially Super Bowl winning ones. Bennett bet on himself and lost, now he’s going back to place where he can reset the score and try again.
New England is already without Julian Edelman, which drastically changed their offense. Adding in Bennett gives Brady another big-bodied receiver to throw to and to draw coverage away from Gronk, Brandin Cooks, and others. He has to prove his worth, after a dismal season in Green Bay, but Bill Belichick is bringing him back for a reason.
Never doubt a football wizard.