EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Officially, Michael Bennett has not spoken publicly since joining the Dallas Cowboys.
But in his first outing with the team on Monday night, his play spoke for him – quite loudly, and in quite a public setting.
Rotating into multiple positions along the Cowboys' defensive line, Bennett did exactly what they were hoping he'd do when they sent a seventh-round draft pick to New England to acquire his services. He wreaked havoc.
Playing behind the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, Bennett finished with three tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
If that weren't enough, he gave Daniel Jones plenty to think about, as he hit him four times on the night, contributing a healthy chunk to the 16 total hits the Cowboys put on the rookie quarterback.
"I thought he was outstanding. I thought he really was impactful in there," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. "I thought that the team in general were feeding off of what he was bringing, and of course very likely he was feeding off what Lawrence was doing out there and what Quinn was doing."
To break it down specifically, the Cowboys sacked Jones five times and hit him another 11. Lawrence and Quinn deserve credit for that, with 1.5 sacks between them. Jaylon Smith and Maliek Collins got in the action, as well.
But for a guy who just got to town a week ago, it was remarkable to see Bennett put his Pro Bowl pedigree to use immediately. In addition to his aforementioned stat line, he seemed to bully his way through or around the Giants' offensive line, seemingly at will.
"It opens up our game, and it opens it up for Rob on the other side," Lawrence said. "They can't chip forever, and they can't chip both sides forever and expect to get the ball out in under three seconds."
Long known as one of the most outspoken members of the NFL fraternity, Bennett has been mostly seen and not heard since he arrived in Dallas. He wasn't in the Cowboys' locker room for most of last week, which unsurprisingly created a big crowd of reporters at his locker following his big debut. Despite that, Bennett simply dressed and carried on his way.
Given the nature of the NFL, that may change at some point. The spotlight is bright, and a lot of people have a lot of burning questions for him.
The Cowboys don't seem concerned. Whatever questions they had about trading for Michael Bennett just got answered on national television. For the cost of a late-round draft pick, they added some serious juice to their pass rush, and that picture feels like it's worth about 1,000 words.
"He really is a great addition for us – and I don't use that word," Jones said. "I'm going to say it: he's a great addition."