Martellus Bennett’s ‘Unselfish’ Play For Patriots Earns Praise From Josh McDaniels

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Martellus Bennett’s strong showing as a blocker Sunday night did not go unnoticed by New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

“Marty certainly did an excellent job the other night,” McDaniels said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “We ran behind him a lot in the running game. He did a good job on the edge. We kept him in in pass protection more than a handful of times, and he did a nice job in terms of securing the edge and the pocket there, too.

“Unselfish, team guy. He just played hard on every snap, played a ton of snaps for us and just did his job. When he was asked to do whatever it was, he performed his responsibility and helped us in a number of ways.”

Starting in place of injured No. 1 tight end Rob Gronkowski, Bennett caught just three passes for 14 yards against the Arizona Cardinals but stood out in a blocking role. He spent much of the game — which the Patriots won 23-21 — clearing lanes for running back LeGarrette Blount and protecting first-time starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“That’s what our tight end position generally does,” McDaniels said, “and 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.”

Gronkowski’s status for this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins remains unclear. ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculated in a “SportsCenter” appearance the All-Pro tight end could miss an additional two games as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury suffered during training camp.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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