Martellus Bennett made just three catches in his Patriots debut, but he felt as though he did all the little things he was asked to do in his team's 23-21 win over the Cardinals on Sunday night.
Even with Rob Gronkowski inactive due to a hamstring injury, the Patriots didn't ask Bennett to be a major factor in their passing game. He was targeted five times. He did, however, see regular work as a blocker, both in pass-protection and in the running game.
"I felt like I did a great job," said Bennett, who racked up 14 yards on his three receptions. "Whoever I was blocking, whatever I was doing, I was just trying to whoop their ass all day. I just like to be the guy where you see him it's like, 'Damn, here he comes again.'
"I felt like that was my job today. Pass-protect, run-block, and whatever it is, I feel I'm able to do a lot of different things, and each week is going to be different for me. One week I may catch 10 balls. One week I may block 75 runs. It doesn't really matter. I'm just trying to do the best I can to help out the team."
Bennett has long been regarded as one of the better dual-threat tight ends in the league when it comes to his work as both a blocker and receiver. He is not the mismatch that Gronkowski can be in the passing game, but his size and athleticism coupled with his willingness to mix it up at the line of scrimmage made him a fascinating addition to the Patriots offense this offseason.
How he'll be used when Gronkowski is healthy remains to be seen, but with both Gronkowski and left tackle Nate Solder (hamstring) out for the season-opener, the Patriots relied on Bennett to do some grunt work, helping fill-in left tackle Cameron Fleming and right tackle Marcus Cannon. At one point, he was trusted to match up with former Patriots edge defender Chandler Jones one-on-one. He was called for a hold on the play, but the assignment showed just how much faith the Patriots have in Bennett's ability to seal off a talented pass-rusher by himself.
Though some of the only camera time Bennett received during the broadcast was immediately following the national anthem, Bennett's attitude seems to jive with the Patriots way of doing things.
"I'm not a fantasy football player," he said. "I'm a blue-collar tight end. I enjoy being a hard-working guy who shows up with my lunch box and my hard hat and just come to work. If they ask me to catch it, I try to make plays. I feel like I'm able to do a lot of things. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm here to do. Our motto is, 'Do your job,' and that's what I'm gonna try to do."