Patriots

Patriots

Martellus Bennett has been one of the most productive tight ends in football over the course of the last four seasons -- three with the Bears and one as a member of the Giants -- but he knows that in New England he'll be running routes alongside a unanimous All-Pro at the same position. 

Being the No. 2 at that spot behind Rob Gronkowski is no problem for Bennett, however. He visited ESPN's First Take on Wednesday to promote his new children's book and app "Hey AJ It's Saturday," and he explained that he's embracing the opportunity to play next to the game's top tight end. 

"I'm super excited about it because it takes a little pressure off of me too," Bennett said. "I really don't mind being Robin, you know? So right now it's just working every day and just trying to get better. He's an excellent player, and I'm gonna be able to get a lot of single coverages with him."

Bennett was one of the newcomers to New England who turned heads during the team's OTA and minicamp practices that were open to reporters. His size -- 6-foot-6, 275 pounds -- stood out, and he consistently made athletic plays on the football while working with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Monday's OTA session was the first time the media saw Bennett and Gronkowski work on the field as a pair, but Bennett says they've been getting to know each other ever since they worked out together at Jay Glazer's Unbreakable Performance Center in Los Angeles earlier this offseason. 

 

Bennett believes that he and Gronkowski can function as an ensemble just as some other successful duos -- duos that Bennett has seen up close -- have in the past. 

"Rob is awesome. I love being with him in the meeting rooms and talking to him about football," Bennett said. "We've been coaching each other up, teaching each other. I saw Brandon [Marshall] and Alshon [Jeffery] work together a lot, like how they pushed each other to become better. I saw [Terrell Owens] with Miles Austin early on in his career. So for me I kind of take that saw approach with Rob. It's just like two guys, two bros, just trying to push each other to get better."

The Patriots coaching staff has also pushed Bennett in ways he may not have been expecting. While his specific jobs within the offense are still relatively undefined, he says that he's been pleased with the way that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and tight ends coach Brian Daboll have tried to deploy him. 

The team has moved Gronkowski around in different formations and used him as an in-line tight end, a slot receiver, a wide receiver and even as a fullback at times. Might the same sort of movement be in store for Bennett?

"I don't really know what my role is in the offense just yet because there's a lot of things that they're finding out that I can do that people haven't let me do in the past which has been very, very exciting," Bennett said. "They let me . . . They're expanding, and they're just saying, 'Let's see if you can do it. Can he do this? Can he do that?' It's like finally getting the leashes off and letting me go."