Martellus Bennett was one of the biggest offseason signings in free agency, and the Green Bay Packers were happy to bring him in to give Aaron Rodgers another weapon. He was expected to have a huge season, but the first two weeks of the 2017 season have not gone as expected. Bennett has gotten off to a slow start, and the Packers desperately need him to step up moving forward.
Following the Packers’ Week 2 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the offense is beaten up. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb went down with injuries and Rodgers began looking to Bennett much more. Bennett ended the game with five catches for 47 yards.
Why does the burden fall on Bennett to step up and become the big threat that the offense needs? Quite simply, he is the biggest target for Rodgers and if he plays to his full talent, there is no way an opposing defense can shut him down.
Standing in at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, there are no linebackers that can keep up with his size and athleticism. He should be able to create mismatches every week. Having that kind of threat would make Rodgers even more difficult for defenses to shut down.
If the Packers are forced to play without Nelson or Cobb, Rodgers will need another consistent target. That doesn’t mean that Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and Ty Montgomery can’t step up, but the impact that Bennett is capable of having on a game is unmatched.
Green Bay has struggled to establish the running game in the first two weeks of the season. Against the Falcons, the Packers’ running backs only managed to record 41 yards. Those numbers will not take pressure off of Rodgers.
One of the other glaring issues for the Packers has been the offensive line. Green Bay was forced to play without both Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari in Week 2. Rodgers faced pressure all game long and that pressure was one of the big reasons for the struggles in the first half.
Bennett cannot single-handedly make up for all of the Packers’ issues, but he could give Rodgers a much more reliable target while under pressure. He struggled with drops against the Falcons, which is not a typical issue for him. Whether that is due to lack of chemistry with Rodgers or simply getting used to a new system, the Packers cannot afford for their star tight end to continue struggling the way he has.
Needless to say, losing to the Falcons should not be an embarrassment for the Packers. Atlanta came into the season as one of the top contenders in the NFC after representing the conference in the Super Bowl last season. That being said, to get past the Falcons, the Packers will have to find more offensive power, along with a much-improved defensive effort.
It will be interesting to see how Mike McCarthy and the Packers’ coaching staff attempt to get Bennett more involved in the offensive game plan. Perhaps the game will come to Bennett, but making a concerted effort to get him going would be a wise move for the Packers.
Expect to see Bennett take his game to a new level over the next few weeks. He joined the Packers to compete for another championship and in order to do that, he must make a bigger impact.
Do you think the Green Bay Packers should look to get Martellus Bennett more involved in their offense? Will he get things together and become one of their top targets? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Matt Ludtke/AP Images]