Well, the first meeting between Michael Bennett and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano could be... awkward. The two first-year members of the New England Patriots were together for one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they apparently didn't get along.
After their lone season together in Tampa Bay, Bennett was critical of Schiano and, per NFL Network's Mike Giardi, once said this about him.
Michael Bennett on Bill Belichick, while criticizing his former head coach in Tampa Bay, Greg Schiano. "He’s trying to be Belichick. Yeah, some people think Belichick’s an *****, but he’s a legend. When this guy acts that way, it’s a whole different deal.” #Patriots— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 8, 2019
According to OMFonWEEI, Bennett said in that same 2013 interview that there wasn't respect for Schiano in the locker room, and that's part of what caused his tenure as head coach to end poorly.
Here's a reminder of what Michael Bennett said in 2013 on Greg Schiano, now Def. coordinator w/ Pats:— OMF (@OMFonWEEI) March 8, 2019
"I think he just wants to flex his power. He has small (man's) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there's not much respect for him in that locker room" pic.twitter.com/u796NyuZ3G
These remarks from Bennett certainly don't paint a good picture of his relationship with Schiano, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, Bennett said those things in 2013, so a lot of time has passed since then. He may have gotten over his disdain for Schiano long ago, so it's possible that these comments might not even matter.
Additionally, Bennett didn't like Schiano as a head coach. With the Patriots, Schiano will be a coordinator and will report to Bill Belichick, so it's likely that the power dynamics between Schiano and his defensive players won't be as bad. And if there is an issue, Bennett can always take it up with Belichick.
It's also fair to assume that Schiano has learned from his failed tenure as a head coach and given his successful stop with the Ohio State Buckeyes, he seems to know what he's doing as a coordinator. If he and Bennett have both grown, this could be a non-issue.
Bennett and Schiano will likely have to talk things out in the near future just to make sure they're on the same page. But, for now, these comments are merely a small hurdle.
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