MIAMI — Michael Bennett seemingly had an ugly divorce from the Patriots midway through New England’s 2019 season.
You wouldn’t know it from talking to him, however.
Bennett was suspended by the Patriots for one game then traded to the Dallas Cowboys prior to Week 8. Former Patriots defensive tackle Mike Pennel complained about a lack of transparency within the Patriots organization earlier this week. Bennett, who was on Super Bowl LIV radio row promoting a new podcast with his wife, “Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett,” didn’t share those frustrations.
“For me, I think I had a great experience with the Patriots,” Bennett said Wednesday. “I think schematically, I just didn’t fit in with the things they were doing, that what I wanted to do. It was just better for me to go to the Cowboys, I think. That’s what it really worked down to really. Bill Belichick, I think he’s really a straightforward person when it comes to the plan. The only thing he cares about is really not feelings or anything, it’s just about winning.”
Bennett explained his suspension at the time as coming down to philosophical differences. Bennett described those as “mostly football” related Wednesday.
“I think it was one of those things that was mostly just different,” Bennett said. “Went from one lineman on the field or two linemen from what I was used to doing with four. It was different.”
Bennett is a better scheme fit in a four-man defensive front, while the Patriots were running a hybrid defense with just one or two defensive linemen. The Patriots require defensive linemen to eat up space, while Bennett is better at getting upfield.
Bennett had no complaints about his defensive line coach, Bret Bielema, who since has moved on to the New York Giants.
“Bret was a good guy,” Bennett said. “I think Bret is a great person when it comes to schematic football and understanding football from a holistic perspective. Because he’s been a head coach, he’s been a defensive line coach, a D-coordinator, been all different types of coach. So I feel in the Patriots, it was an opportunity to learn so much more about football and not just football but also how to run a business and just keeping your stuff really tight and keeping it cool.”
Bennett also said he learned to improve his work ethic with the Patriots.