Witten: Martellus a good fit with Giants

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
12:55
PM ET
Martellus Bennett spent years learning from Dallas' stellar tight end Jason Witten.

Now Witten says Bennett is ready to display his potential and upside with the Giants.

"Martellus is a great guy," Witten told reporters at the Nike NFL uniform launch on Tuesday. "There’s been a lot said about his career. But I know he’s excited for a fresh start. He’s got a lot of ability, he’s learned a lot over the years and I think he’s excited about where he’s at in his career."

Bennett signed a one-year deal with the Giants in hopes of proving what he can do as a starter after playing behind Witten. He will have every opportunity to prove himself with Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard recovering from ACL knee surgeries.

Beckum tweeted on Wednesday that he was told he might be able to return by the season opener. Typically ACL recoveries can take nine months up to a year and the Giants have said that Beckum and Ballard could start the season on the PUP list.

"Just seen the Doc..best news I heard in awhile!!!," Beckum tweeted. "Very good chance I will be back by the start of the season!!"

While that would certainly be a bonus for the Giants, they still have to prepare as if they will be without Beckum and Ballard for some time. Witten has played the Giants enough to know their system and how they use tight ends and he thinks Bennett will fit in well.

"I think he fits that offense in a lot of ways," Witten said. "I think his confidence was probably shaken a little bit in Dallas. Few plays, his numbers were limited, so I’m sure that’s a part of it. He’s a good blocker, he’s a good underneath route runner, he’s big so he can catch the ball. I think, more than anything, getting his confidence back and getting a fresh start will do a lot for his career. Definitely a lot of upside."

Witten also thinks the Giants coaching staff, specifically tight ends coach Mike Pope, will bring out the best in Bennett.

"Ultimately, when I found out he was going to the Giants, I wished him congratulations because I know he kind of fits that power offense and Mike Pope is one of the best tight ends coaches there is," Witten said. "Anybody who plays the position knows that about him. He does a good job of eliminating distractions and allowing his players to be the best."

"I think [Pope has] done that for many, many years, going back to [Jeremy] Shockey and taking a guy like Ballard who’s undrafted and getting him to play at a high level," Witten added. "So a key component in that is Mike and that system. Coach [Tom] Coughlin, no tolerance for any of that stuff. If you leave those distractions aside, Martellus is going to do a good job."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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