The New England Patriots reportedly have given their new defensive coordinator a new defensive lineman.
The two have a history — and not the best one.
The Patriots on Friday reportedly acquired defensive end Michael Bennett from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a future draft pick. With Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown and Trey Flowers all free agents, the move is a savvy one especially with a new defensive coordinator in the fold.
That defensive coordinator is Greg Schiano, who reportedly is set to fill the role vacated by de-facto DC Brian Flores’ departure for the Miami Dolphins.
Bennett spent the first four years of his career (2009 through 2012) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano was the head coach during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns before getting canned, so he and Bennett had a year to get, um, acquainted before Bennett bolted for the Seattle Seahawks.
Following his move to the Pacific Northwest, Bennett had little reservation shredding Schiano.
First, there’s an instance Bennett discussed of a 2012 joint practice with the Patriots. The way Schiano acted around New England head coach Bill Belichick got to the point that it was weirding out the Tampa players.
In a story published on NFL.com in 2013, an unnamed Bucs player first detailed the practice to Michael Silver.
“He gathered us before we practiced and told us that if Belichick said something to us on the field, we should listen, “the player said. “He said, ‘Treat their coaches like they’re your coaches.’ We were like, ‘Huh?’ When we practiced together, whatever Belichick wanted, he did. It was hilarious — here (Schiano) is, acting like Mr. Tough Guy all the time, and when Belichick wanted something, he was like, ‘Yes, Bill.'”
In that same 2013 story, Bennett took a shot at Schiano for the joint practice.
“He’s trying to be Belichick. Yeah, some people think Belichick’s an (expletive), but he’s a legend. When this guy acts that way, it’s a whole different deal.”
We’ll now fast forward to 2015, where Bennett had this exchange with Portland, Ore., radio host John Canzano, which was transcribed by BucsNation.
“You seem like a guy who couldn’t play for a stiff,” Canzano said.
“I did that before. It wasn’t fun,” Bennett said, alluding to his time in Tampa. “His name is Greg Schiano.
“I think you lose guys like that. Guys are their own men. To a coach (like that), his whole life is football … A player, he tries to distance himself from football (in his off time), you know?”
Things might be different this time around since Schiano will be a defensive coordinator and not head coach, but Bennett still will have to report to him. Because of that, time will tell if the two will be able to leave the past in the past.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images