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Eatman: Worrying Of Bennett's Production Simple Waste Of Time


Oh, it's an easy annoyance. The second-round pick who never really made it here in four years goes to the division rival, the Super Bowl champions, and has now done something no player in the Giants' storied history has ever done.

Martellus Bennett became the first Giants player to record a touchdown catch in each of his first three games.

Are you kidding? No, it's a reality and one that obviously has Cowboys fans wondering why it didn't work out like that in Dallas.

It doesn't really take a Sherlock Holmes investigation to figure out. The Cowboys had Jason Witten. He was and still is the starter. He was and still is a better overall player. And Martellus Bennett's contract expired and he wanted to be a starter.

He found that in New York and so far, he's taking advantage.

In three games, Bennett has 15 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns. He needs two catches to tie last year's total and he's already surpassed his 144-yard production from all of last year. And the three touchdowns? Well, that's one shy of the four he had in his entire four years in Dallas, which all occurred in his rookie season.

Not just good for Martellus, but great for Martellus. That's all he ever wanted was to be a starting tight end in the NFL and he's getting the chance to do that. And on a big stage with a great quarterback throwing the ball to him.

Like anything involving the Cowboys, this will probably be turned back at them for not developing him better, but the reality of the situation is this: It wasn't going to work here in Dallas, not to the point of making anyone happy.

When you take a guy in the second round, you expect production. You expect a good starting player who can possibly get to a Pro Bowl level. You don't expect a backup who sometimes contributes and sometimes he's just a blocker that often had no impact on the game.

And on the flip side, when you're taken in the second round like he was in 2008, Bennett expects to one day be that starting player and a go-to member of the offense.

With Witten in the fold, it wasn't going to happen. And it's nothing new. It didn't work for Anthony Fasano in 2006 either. He was a second-round pick that was here two years and the Cowboys traded him to Miami, one day before the draft in which they got Bennett with the 60th overall pick.

If anyone is to be blamed here, it has to be the Cowboys for drafting Bennett and creating these expectations that simply couldn't be fulfilled.

And while everyone wants to bring the New England Patriots into the conversation because they manage to have a successful two-tight end offense, it's really not the same at all. For starters, Aaron Hernandez is the biggest, slowest wide receiver in the NFL. He's great at what he does, but not even the Patriots really consider him a true tight end. Sure, you might put him in the "TE" slot for your fantasy team, but he's not asked to do the same things as most tight ends.

And New England runs a more inside-out offense. They focus on the slots with the tight ends and Wes Welker. They don't invest huge money on the outside receivers. They lucked into a record-setting season with Randy Moss, but they thought they were getting an aging veteran on his last legs. That's the approach they take with guys like Deion Branch, Reche Caldwell, Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch, who keeps coming back.

They don't pay $9 million a season for a speedster like Miles Austin or a first-round pick such as Dez Bryant.

It's not the same. And if you go around the league, there aren't many teams, if any, that get the ball to BOTH tight ends on a regular basis.

Sure, it probably sucks to see Bennett doing so well for the Giants when he was here for four years, but a part of that is also on him.

Truth be told, the Cowboys did want Martellus back this year. They offered him the same one-year deal he got with the Giants. But it was clear when Bennett cleaned out his locker on the last day of the season that he simply wanted out.

His act here in Dallas had gotten old for everyone. He was tired of playing behind Witten and not getting the ball. The Cowboys were probably tired of seeing him coast through seasons, where he often seemed more excited about non-football interests such as art or his clothing line. One of Bennett's biggest storylines last year occurred in the locker room when he got into some words with a member of the media and one of my colleagues.

That really wasn't even a big deal, but it goes to show what kind of season he had on the field.

He needed a change and a fresh start. He's getting that in New York, and me personally, I'm happy for him.

But I think it's a stretch to say that he's all of a sudden a better player and a more developed tight end. He still has an issue with drops and he got into a shouting match with a coach on the sidelines Thursday night against Carolina for a miscommunication in personnel.

I don't think we're seeing a different player at all. I think we're seeing a guy with an opportunity – one that just wasn't available here in Dallas.

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