the ability to do that. Doing that shows strength, it shows talent and it shows competitiveness."
But there is that work to be done, lest Bennett or anyone else think he has come all the way in a short time. And it doesn't take John Garrett long to tick off the list of things at which Number 80 needs to improve:
"He needs better footwork in run blocking and pass protection. He needs better hand and hat placement. He needs better release technique. He needs a lot of work smoothing out the top of his pass routes."
And he has a willing teacher, and Bennett knows it.
"The TV show portrayed our relationship in kind of a negative way," he says, "but Coach looks at me kind of like his project, like a son. He pats me on the back when I do well. He just wants me to be the best player I can be. We have a real good relationship. I'm goofy and I try to make him relax a little bit. He tries to remind me it's business all the time and I try to remind him to chill out. Sometimes I try to tell him a joke. He might say, 'You should be concentrating on the game, Martellus,' but he's a funny guy. People don't see that side of him. He's making me into a lot better player than I was coming in. A lot of the things I do on the field I owe to him and the way he's coaching me up to make those plays."
And a lot of it is what Bennett brings to the job. Blocking?
"I take a lot of pride in my blocking. I feel like they should be able to run to my side when I'm singled up on a linebacker or a defensive end every time. A defensive end hit me in my mouth, I hit him in his mouth. I'm out there playing with a grudge against people I don't even know. That's the weird thing. In college, you play against the same people for a couple of years, you build a relationship. Now I've just got grudges against everybody. When you've got guys like Marion (Barber) and Felix (Jones) behind you, you just want to hold your guy up a little bit. That's fun, too."
Same with special teams, where if you looked closely the other night you could see Number 80 streaking downfield covering punts and kicks. Bennett has figured out what an important part of the job it is. Figured it out, he says, after the first preseason game.
"I didn't really play special teams in college," he says, "but here it can change a game."
How does Martellus Bennett see himself improving?
"I get better play by play. A lot of people get better game by game. I'm getting better play by play."
And what does he see as his list of things to improve?
"Everything. Every game is a new experience. Every time I come to the sideline, (Tony) Romo is telling me something or coach is calling me. There are a lot of people coaching me up and I'm always looking to learn."
"He cares," says John Garrett. "Martellus is prideful. That demeanor is a façade as soon as he knows you and knows you want to help him. We came back from camp, he's out there doing extra running after practice. I didn't tell him to do that. He knew he wouldn't be getting as many reps in practice and he'd have to be working harder to stay in shape."
More reps are coming. "Hard Knocks" was fun. What Martellus Bennett is doing now is available to see every Sunday on true reality TV.