It isn’t often that a receiver in any position catches 90 passes, earns a trip to the Pro Bowl, yet achieved it in an offense he considers stale and stifling. But such was the case for Martellus Bennett in 2014.
Bennett, beginning in his fourth different offense in eight NFL seasons, described the system of coordinator Adam Gase and staff “empowering,” a term that few would apply to the offense of Marc Trestman.
“At first [the Trestman offense] was difficult to learn but after you got it, it pretty much was what it was, no changes week to week,” Bennett said. “We ran the same offense no matter what… . Last year we ran the same stuff no matter what. It was predictable. If it was third down and the down-and-distance was something, I could call a play before it came in.
“And if I could do it, [Green Bay defensive coordinator] Dom Capers could do it.”
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Not so what Bennett has experienced in a relatively short time under Gase. Despite missing most of the offseason program and practices, Bennett immediately took to a system notable for fitting itself to the player rather than the player to the system.
“I feel like I get to do everything that’s in my repertoire now,” Bennett said. “Everything I’ve shown them I can do, they find a way to use it. They don’t just stick you in a role. They craft a role for each guy when they see what you can and can’t do; use the things you do well and limit using the ones you don’t.
“They craft the role to the player rather than the player to the role. Which is empowering.”
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Which is basically what Gase has found with Bennett, a 6-foot-6 physical target (who’s listed at 265 but wants his weight kept a mystery) who will block and is a student of both his craft and his offense.
“He's so smart,” Gase said. “He came in, and how fast he learned the playbook for not being here. And then being able to adjust... how physical he is in the run game and pass protection - it's so unique. Not many tight ends you see that can do what he does.”