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Monday, August 8, 2011
Martellus Bennett finally focuses on little things

By Tim MacMahon

SAN ANTONIO – It took a few seasons in the NFL for Martellus Bennett to figure out something very simple.

“If I focus on the little things,” he said, “the big things will come.”

That’s music to tight ends coach John Garrett’s ears. He’s been trying to hammer that message into Bennett’s head since the Cowboys used a 2008 second-round pick to draft the physical specimen from Texas A&M.

“He drank the Kool-Aid,” Garrett said with a grin. “He’s saying there that he’s buying into everything.”

Bennett hasn’t been a bad player for the Cowboys, but he has been a disappointing one. That’s because he’s held to the standard of his potential.

Teams can find a good blocking tight end in the later rounds. A second-round pick, especially one with Bennett’s combination of size and athleticism, is expected to make a significant impact in the passing game.

Zero touchdowns in the last two seasons is unacceptable for a tight end with Bennett’s talent.

Bennett has fooled folks before with a phenomenal training camp, falling flat in 2009 after an All-Alamodome performance. However, it’s hard not to be optimistic after watching Bennett consistently perform at practice and listening to him talk about the importance of mastering the boring aspects of playing tight end.

Jason Witten is a perennial Pro Bowler because he’s a talented tight end who is one of the most reliable, dependable players in the NFL. Tony Romo knows exactly where Witten will be on every route.

Marty B’s routes have been mysteries too often. He has rounded too many 12-yard outs off at 11 or 13 yards. His splits in his alignment in the slot have been a foot or two off too many times.

Football, as the old saying goes, is a game of inches. Bennett gets that now. He wants to be great. He understands the only route there is attention to the type of details that most fans would never notice.

“The guys that work at it and listen and work on the techniques eventually get it,” Garrett said. “He’s to the point now where he’s getting it and it’s coming easier every day. I’m really excited about his potential and the mark he can make with the offense this year.”

If you’re hesitant to believe in Bennett, that’s certainly understandable. He’s been hyped before and didn’t back it up. The difference now is that he’s the one drinking the Cowboys’ Kool-Aid.