FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett has done the losing thing. In each of the last two seasons, both of which he spent with the Bears, his team had records below .500.
Through training camp and one week of the regular season with the Patriots, Bennett has said all the right things when it comes to helping his new team win. Sunday night's win over the Cardinals was an example of his willingness to leave less of a mark on the box score in order to have a greater impact in the trenches. He recorded three catches for 14 yards, but he was used effectively as a blocker both in the running game and the passing game.
With left tackle Nate Solder and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski out, it served the Patriots well to be able to take advantage of Bennett's physical skill set, and he didn't mind putting it to use.
"Lots of people, they equate how well you've done in a game for fantasy football or how many points you scored, but there's so many intangible things that go on during the game that most people overlook -- except your teammates," Bennett said. "When you go out there and try to do every single thing that I can possibly do to get a win on the football field and in the real column and not in the fantasy football column, I'm not really worried about it.
"Whether it's blocking, pass-protection, catching the ball, getting a big first down, whatever it may be, that's what I'm here for. I'm not really here to catch 1,000 balls. I've caught 90 balls and lost a bunch of games. It's not that fun. Whatever it takes to win, that's what I'm here for."
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is afforded a level of flexibility with Bennett that not many others can provide. On a week-to-week basis -- depending on the opponent or how the Patriots roster is constructed -- how Bennett is deployed may differ. In Week 1, his job was to mix it up at the line of scrimmage.
"Marty certainly did an excellent job the other night, ran behind them a lot in the running game," McDaniels said earlier this week. "He did a good job on the edge, we kept him in pass protection more than a handful of times and he did a nice job in terms of securing the edge of the pocket there too. Unselfish, team guy; just played hard on every snap, played a ton of snaps for us and really did his job.
"When he was asked to do whatever it was, he performed his responsibility and helped us in a number of different ways. That’s what our tight end positon generally does, and like I said, Marty was out there most of the time the other night and did a nice job of it. We gained a lot of production out of the things that he did, regardless of whether they showed up in the statistics or not."
Bennett wasn't disappointed in his stat line immediately after the game, and he was excited enough to be back in the win column that he didn't sleep on the late-night plane ride home from Arizona because he was "so jacked up from winning."
"Winning is contagious," he said. "Losing's contagious. You start losing, next thing you know you lose your car, you lose your house, you lose your job. If you're winning, your daughter's a winner, she grows up to be a winner, I don't want my daughter to be a loser. I'm just trying to win as much as possible in life so the winning can rub off on her as well."
The question is, for someone in a contract year, a 29-year-old who could potentially earn himself another sizable contract, a player who has not been afraid to speak up in the past about his lack of involvement in other offenses, will winning be enough for him at season's end? Will he eventually want to boost his statistics to make him a more attractive free agent?
That remains to be seen. But thus far, the marriage between the tight end with the big personality and the team with the buisnesslike approach has been a blissful one.