FOXBORO -- Since arriving to the Patriots in an offeseason trade, tight end Martellus Bennett has said several times just how happy he is to be in a place where the finer points of the game are appreciated. You aren't judged solely on your production as a receiver or as a run-blocker, in New England. All the little things add up -- it's a mosaic, as coach Bill Belichick likes to say -- and when those little things lead to wins, everyone's happy.
Bennett has been used in a variety of ways through for regular-season games, and he's rarely come off of the field, playing in 92 percent of the team's offensive snaps. He's served as a go-to option in the passing game, accumulating over 100 yards receiving in Weeks 2 and 4. He's also played in games when the Patriots have leaned on his prowess as a blocker. Against the Cardinals in Week 1, he caught three passes for 14 yards but helped protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, even blocking defensive end Chandler Jones one-on-one on occasion. Against the Texans in Week 3, he caught two passes for 10 yards, but he was one of the team's best run-blockers, helping LeGarrette Blount pick up 105 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
Bennett's role may change again in Week 5 with quarterback Tom Brady back in the fold and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski progressing toward full strength. Executing a plethora of assignments seems to excite the 29-year-old who is in the final year of his contract. And he's not the only one.
"My mom enjoys it," Bennett said on Thursday. "My mom's like, 'I like you on the Patriots. I get to see everything you're capable of. All the other teams, they don't let you do everything you can do as my son.'
"I'm like, 'All right, mom.' She liked it when I ran the ball the other week [once for six yards against the Texans]. She's like, 'Oh, yeah! Nice! I knew you could do that. you did it in high school. You did it here.'
"So my mom really enjoys it. I enjoy it as well being diverse. Here the best thing about it is everything matters so making a good block pays just as much as making a great catch. That makes it a little bit easier because there's not a bigger emphasis on any phase of the game. Every single play, everyone cares about."
In other words, it's about more than fantasy points, even though Bennett's fantasy stock may be on the rise after his five-catch, 109-yard performance against the Bills, when he was the most productive offensive player on the Patriots.
"Nah, that stock doesn't put any money in my pocket so I don't really worry about it," Bennett said. "That's one stock I don't invest in. There's no [return on investment] in that. I'm not really into it. It would be good if everybody would buy my stock in real life. Then it would be cool. That would be good. It would be going up and up for the Martellus Bennett Corporation, but it doesn't really matter."