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McCarthy: Martellus Bennett “potentially” NFL’s best TE

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Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski shared a depth chart in New England last season.

Based on Wednesday comments, Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes there’s a chance he got the better of the two in free agency.

McCarthy spoke glowingly about Bennett at the annual head-coach media breakfast in Phoenix. Specifically, he said the 30-year-old may “potentially be” the NFL’s best tight end.

“We had him in our cutups this year, so I got to see him play a lot of football,” McCarthy said, via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe. “To me, he is one of the best or potentially be the best tight end in the National Football League. It’s my responsibility to make sure I create those opportunities for him to succeed.”

This won’t hurt Bennett’s jersey sales in Green Bay.

McCarthy, it’s worth noting, never made a direct comparison between Bennett or Gronkowski, so he wasn’t searching for the “hot take” that could be deducted from his regard for Bennett’s standing among his peers.

But clearly, McCarthy has done his homework.

He detailed the degree to which he’s studied the Patriots over the years. And Bennett’s three-year, $21 million contract, which includes a $6.3 million signing bonus, adds weight to his words.

“He has very good tape,” McCarthy told reporters. “He was a very productive player in an outstanding offense. I have great respect for the Patriots and especially what they do on offense. We like a lot of things that they do. We keep an eye on what they do up there, particularly with some of the route progressions and more importantly how you use each player throughout the passing game.”

Bennett, predominantly used as a blocker to begin his career, caught 55 of 73 passes last season for 701 yards and seven scores. He is one of two tight ends the Packers signed this month in free agency; former Rams tight end Lance Kendricks is the other.

If nothing else, McCarthy’s praise of Bennett further explains Green Bay’s willingness to let Jared Cook walk this month.

He signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract with the Raiders.

 

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84 Responses to “McCarthy: Martellus Bennett “potentially” NFL’s best TE”
  1. billymutt says: Mar 29, 2017 3:55 PM

    It’s this type of coach thinking that keeps the Packers from winning more big games.

    McCarthy is clearly delusional when it comes to evaluating tight ends. Bennett is nowhere near the top tight end in the league.

  2. seanskol says: Mar 29, 2017 4:02 PM

    Not even the best TE in the division…..

  3. bullcharger says: Mar 29, 2017 4:03 PM

    Revis is still great! Look how well he did with the Patriots. Lets sign him!

    – Jets 2015

    Moss is still great! Look what he did for the Patriots! Let’s sign him!

    – Vikings 2010

    – Look how great Deion Branch is! We need him!

    – Seattle 2006

  4. 400marios says: Mar 29, 2017 4:04 PM

    Hold on there, Mike.

    Technically you’re a potential Chip & Dale’s dancer, but to even bring it up versus reality raises some credibility concerns.

  5. bobthebillsfan says: Mar 29, 2017 4:04 PM

    If Gronk stays healthy, he is better.

  6. The Phantom Stranger says: Mar 29, 2017 4:08 PM

    Sounds like the Packers won the offseason again.

  7. pettsmagee says: Mar 29, 2017 4:09 PM

    well, potentially 2nd best but we get the point McCarthy

  8. xavier179 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:09 PM

    Bartender I will have what McCarthy is having. My gosh that made my day!

  9. TheDPR says: Mar 29, 2017 4:11 PM

    Has anything good ever come from unabashed hyperbole?

  10. discodonniethetrumpettes says: Mar 29, 2017 4:13 PM

    How dare a coach talk up one of his players. This site is awful.

  11. eustus says: Mar 29, 2017 4:17 PM

    “Hot taek” indeed.

    That’s how you get the keys to Dad’s car taken away from you, Gehlken.

  12. blessedunliketherest says: Mar 29, 2017 4:19 PM

    As a Pats fan, I have nothing but good things to say about Marty. He stepped up when Gronk went down, continually played hurt during the year, was instrumental in helping the Pats win yet another SB, and was by all accounts a good teammate. That said, he couldn’t hold Gronk’s jock if we are being honest here.

  13. factschecker says: Mar 29, 2017 4:20 PM

    He was damn good for NE last year. I was impressed with his play and I was hoping to have him back. Dwayne Allen makes me happy. Heck I was hoping NE would draft Allen a few years back. IMO TE position is still vastly underrated in the NFL. I’m a fan of the 2 TE sets. Hard to defend when they can both catch and block.

  14. skmad2014 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:22 PM

    Way, way overrated.

  15. wtfru2 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:23 PM

    I just hope he can play defense, because that’s where he’s needed!

  16. elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Mar 29, 2017 4:29 PM

    I think he stunk when he was with the NY FOOTBALL GIANTS

  17. kabasaman says: Mar 29, 2017 4:33 PM

    Yea sure, if you don’t mind the 2 holding calls a game and the 3 offsides calls and OH yea, lets add in personal foul penalty every other game. Just a wonderful team-mate I’m sure. How many teams does this make?…….5

  18. mistrezzrachael says: Mar 29, 2017 4:34 PM

    MB, is really good.

    But…DO NOT compare him, or any other tight end to Gronk…Not even close.

    If Gronk retired tomorrow…he’s in HOF

  19. nathanp2013 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:34 PM

    Yup, the best player at each position in the NFL normally goes through 5 teams in 7 years!

  20. dregonspengler says: Mar 29, 2017 4:35 PM

    bobthebillsfan says:
    If Gronk stays healthy, he is better
    —-
    There’s no doubt what kind of formidable, almost unstoppable weapon Gronk is — when he’s on the field.
    But you hit the nail on the head. Isn’t being durable and available part of what goes into the criteria being the best? How many games has Gronk missed due to various injuries over the past four seasons?

  21. seabrawk12 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:36 PM

    Gronk, Reed, Graham, Kelce, Olsen to name a few.

  22. teal379 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:37 PM

    He might not be the best but he’s better than most.

    And while he might not carry Gronk’s jock – it’s hard to tell when Gronk never seems to be on the field.

  23. eatme2259 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:41 PM

    I think he meant to say was “Kripsy Kreme” is the best donut shop.

  24. bert1913 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:42 PM

    if it wasn’t for rodgers, mccarthy would be flipping burgers and eating all of the profits

  25. 400marios says: Mar 29, 2017 4:43 PM

    Let’s just hope he does a little better than other promising Patriots TEs playing behind Gronk.

  26. metalup666 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:46 PM

    “If Gronk retired tomorrow…he’s in HOF”

    Hold up there Skippy. Let’s see if Gronkowski can make it through a whole season before anybody starts thinking he is Hall of Fame worthy.

  27. dpdonny says: Mar 29, 2017 4:47 PM

    He’s better than these commenters are saying. He blocks well. He plays hurt. He’s always on the field…at least he was in NE.

    I’m bummed he’s gone.

  28. jjackwagon says: Mar 29, 2017 4:49 PM

    I’m “potentially” a rocket scientist.

  29. filthymcnasty3 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:54 PM

    We’ll be contending once again this year.

    Thanks Mike!

    Thanks Ted!

  30. hehateme2 says: Mar 29, 2017 4:55 PM

    He may be better with a QB that actually can throw the ball further than 20 yards.

  31. dcpatfan says: Mar 29, 2017 4:57 PM

    Ummmmm….
    Tell Mike to look at the pic and name the Man to Marty’s right.

  32. jgedgar70 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:00 PM

    Yes, Bennett is good. But he’s not the best. And Gronk hasn’t played a full year in what, 3 years?

    Greg Olsen is the best TE in the world right now. By a long shot.

  33. 6ball says: Mar 29, 2017 5:01 PM

    .
    McCarthy ” The Patriots are morons and have no concept of talent evaluation”.
    .

  34. redsea1111 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:01 PM

    Best TE? Talking Esophagus?

  35. texaspistoleer says: Mar 29, 2017 5:04 PM

    As a Cowboys fan, I love MB. I wish we could have used him more when he was here, in a 2 TE set or something, but he didn’t get playing time behind Jason Witten.

  36. fiddlinred says: Mar 29, 2017 5:04 PM

    Dude is thirty. Discussing potential is stupid. Also, I got a crazy feeling Wisconsin will prove too small for that loudmouth.

  37. cheeseisfattening says: Mar 29, 2017 5:09 PM

    Clearly Mike has had one too many today. Bennett does not make the NFL top 100 list. Bennett is not even in the NFL top 10 TEs.

    Of course Bennett = Superbowl to cheeseheads. It is the off season after all.

  38. jg2040 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:14 PM

    He has “potentially” been the best TE in the NFL for the last 8 years, but he has never been, but I guess McCarthy will get this under achiever to achieve.

  39. randalpnaditch says: Mar 29, 2017 5:14 PM

    He very well could be with Rodgers throwing to him

  40. milkcan44 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:16 PM

    I’d wait till results are shown before I make statements like this.
    But I hope Bennett reads the comments – good motivation for him.

  41. gizzmonic says: Mar 29, 2017 5:17 PM

    If it was Gronk on the market this year instead of MB, how big would the bidding war be ?

  42. pkrh8tr says: Mar 29, 2017 5:25 PM

    Delusional like his fan base.

  43. truthbetold109 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:29 PM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Mar 29, 2017 5:09 PM
    Clearly Mike has had one too many today. Bennett does not make the NFL top 100 list. Bennett is not even in the NFL top 10 TEs.

    Of course Bennett = Superbowl to cheeseheads. It is the off season after all.
    _________________________
    Funny that a vikings fan is ripping the Packers who would have thought.

    Please enlighten us with the names of 10 better TE’s.
    If you try and put Rudolph on the list you won’t be taken seriously from the start.

  44. mattchew182 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:35 PM

    There is a reason why he is going to his 5th team by 30 years old. While he does have top 10 ability as a TE he is a cancer in the locker room when he gets unhappy. No way he is considered one of the best Gronk Olsen Kelce and Jimmy Graham are all better TE’s. His last year in Chicago he was upset about his contract and decided not to stay in shape he was fat slow and out of shape had zero enthusiasm about playing. His way of forcing his way out of Chicago. I know the Bears suck and Cutler is a douche but your paid millions of dollars to play football do your job. While he is missed on the field he won’t be missed in the locker room. You can’t win with players like that just ask Mike Singletary can’t do it!

  45. cheeseisfattening says: Mar 29, 2017 5:39 PM

    Gronk, Olsen, Eifert, Witten, Walker, Graham, Kelce, Reed, Gates, Celek. He is not even best in divison. Rudolph AND Ebron are both better.

  46. dwhcic says: Mar 29, 2017 5:51 PM

    He’s top 5, and the best in the division.

  47. VenerableAxiom says: Mar 29, 2017 5:57 PM

    gizzmonic says:
    Mar 29, 2017 5:17 PM
    If it was Gronk on the market this year instead of MB, how big would the bidding war be ?
    =======
    Not much better considering his durability.

  48. walker1191 says: Mar 29, 2017 5:57 PM

    I thought he was pedestrian in NE. Blocked well, made some good catches, but nothing spectacular. Perhaps if healthier in GB he’ll emerge as a dominant force, but I doubt it.

  49. whatjusthapped says: Mar 29, 2017 6:02 PM

    I have no idea on where to rank Bennett among all NFL TE’s but here is what I do know just by the naked eye, he’ll easily be the best TE the Packers have had since J. Finley. He’ll easily be the best blocking TE that Packer have had in years and he is a welcome addition to the offense for both catching and blocking. And, the easy statement to make is the Vikings will finish 3rd again in the NFC North, I don’t think the Bears have done enough to catch them.

  50. the8man says: Mar 29, 2017 6:04 PM

    He’s good. And good enough to make the Packers better. But they need more than him.

    That being said, thanks for the great year Martellus.

    Go Patriots!

  51. glac1 says: Mar 29, 2017 6:11 PM

    Bennett must be excited to have Rodgers throwing to him. Big numbers are likely…

  52. cheeseisfattening says: Mar 29, 2017 6:17 PM

    His last year in Chicago he was upset about his contract and decided not to stay in shape he was fat slow and out of shape had zero enthusiasm about playing.
    ————–
    Sound like a perfect fit!

  53. A happy green parrot says: Mar 29, 2017 6:22 PM

    glac1 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 6:11 PM
    Bennett must be excited to have Rodgers throwing to him. Big numbers are likely…

    —————

    Bennetts biggest impact wont be catching from Rodgers (but that will still be some good stuff). It will be his versatility because he is good at run blocking too. So defenses will find the Packers offense harder to read when Bennets presence on the line can mean anything. That opens more doors for Rodgers. He has the skills to take top advantage of that.

  54. tqaztec says: Mar 29, 2017 6:31 PM

    Really, what else is he going to say.

  55. purpleguy says: Mar 29, 2017 6:36 PM

    He isn’t close to the best, but with Rodgers as his QB, he at least has a shot to put up top 5 numbers. It will be interesting, however, to see how MM and TT react when he says something outrageous, as they hate that crap.

  56. JaminJake says: Mar 29, 2017 6:38 PM

    Gronk is by far the best TE in the league. He’s a hard working player who BB has put on the level of Bavaro in terms of blocking which is a compliment for someone who is already likely the greatest offensesive TE to lace them up.

    Bennett is probably second to Gronk. Only thing he has above Gronk is the ability to stay on field. If Gronk stays on the field, not a chance.

  57. mj323 says: Mar 29, 2017 7:25 PM

    I’m one of the biggest Packer fans alive, and I think that statement is pure BS.

  58. denverscott says: Mar 29, 2017 7:53 PM

    At least he plays the whole season. Hear that Gwonk? A season is 16 games bro.

  59. aferraridriver says: Mar 29, 2017 7:56 PM

    I hate it when McCarthy goes overboard in his comments.

    Bennett is likely an upgrade over Cook and is definitely a better blocker. expect his on the field performance to be good.

    I’m somewhat concerned about Bennett being able to bite his lip when it should be bitten. He has a reputation as being outspoken and a potential distraction in the clubhouse.

  60. outlawshark says: Mar 29, 2017 8:17 PM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Mar 29, 2017 5:39 PM

    Gronk, Olsen, Eifert, Witten, Walker, Graham, Kelce, Reed, Gates, Celek. He is not even best in divison. Rudolph AND Ebron are both better.
    _______________________

    Weird. Not a single one of those you mention had more touchdowns than MB last year.

  61. duffelbagsports says: Mar 29, 2017 8:23 PM

    And Rodgers is better than Brady. Unless you’re counting rings.

  62. j0esixpack says: Mar 29, 2017 8:27 PM

    hehateme2 says: He may be better with a QB that actually can throw the ball further than 20 yards.
    ————————————————————–

    That’d be funny…

    If not for the fact that Brady was among the best in the league with the deep ball last season.

    Brady had a 132 QB rating in passes thrown 20-30 yards

    Rodgers had a 82 QB rating in passes thrown 20-30 yards

    Nice try though

    Bottom line – Bennett is no Gronk – but the Packers got a GREAT pickup in the offseason and Rodgers and the offense will benefit with him on the field.

  63. eatme2259 says: Mar 29, 2017 8:32 PM

    filthymcnasty3 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 4:54 PM
    We’ll be contending once again this year.

    //////////////

    We’ll be content once again this year to get bounced out of the playoffs

    There, I fixed it for you.

  64. frank booth says: Mar 29, 2017 8:41 PM

    eatme2259 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 8:32 PM
    filthymcnasty3 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 4:54 PM
    We’ll be contending once again this year.
    //////////////
    We’ll be content once again this year to get bounced out of the playoffs
    There, I fixed it for you.
    ===================================
    32 teams in the NFL. 12 make the playoffs. 2 get to the conference championship. Is your team winning the Super Bowl every year.

  65. nbptma1 says: Mar 29, 2017 8:44 PM

    Lets be clear, when Bennett catches the ball he’s thinking more about getting to the ground rather than picking up additional yards. Ever see this guy run? He doesn’t even look like an athlete when he runs.

  66. ibillwt says: Mar 29, 2017 8:48 PM

    A lot of people are “potentially” the best at a lot of things. Only one gets it done.

  67. m8gaman says: Mar 29, 2017 8:48 PM

    randalpnaditch says:
    Mar 29, 2017 5:14 PM
    He very well could be with Rodgers throwing to him
    ————-
    Please!

    Comparing MB to Gronk is like comparing Rodgers to Brady…as in there is no comparison, the Pats are hands down better and everybody knows it

  68. Jdog63 says: Mar 29, 2017 8:57 PM

    I’m sorry Mike, but you guys lettin’ Cook go was foolish.
    FOOL. ISH.
    I don’t think Bennett can run like Cook did, nor catch like Cook did. And he’s older, right? Yeah…
    He may be pretty good, I hope so. Still I think…
    TE fail 2017.

  69. frank booth says: Mar 29, 2017 9:04 PM

    Martellus Bennett is one of the most complete TE’s in the game, and one of the best blockers, running or passing.

    Tyler Eifert has had one good year, and Eifert has injury concerns.

    Witten and Gates are not better anymore and past their prime, at ages 34 and 36.

    Delanie Walker and Brent Celek are historically poor blockers.

    Celek is one of the worst starting TE’s in the league, with 155 yds (0 TD’s) in 2015, and 398 yards (3 TD’s in 2016). His brother is not much better.

    Reed is a great pass catcher and good after the catch, can’t stay on the field.

    Ebron has had one good season, Rudolph is decent, Bennett is a better blocker than either one of those guys by far.

    Bennett is easily a Top 5 TE in the NFL.

  70. realqc says: Mar 29, 2017 9:07 PM

    I feel dumber having read Mike’s commentary on MB.

  71. frank booth says: Mar 29, 2017 9:17 PM

    Jdog63 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 8:57 PM
    I’m sorry Mike, but you guys lettin’ Cook go was foolish.
    FOOL. ISH.
    I don’t think Bennett can run like Cook did, nor catch like Cook did. And he’s older, right? Yeah…
    He may be pretty good, I hope so. Still I think…
    TE fail 2017.
    ===================================
    Yes, Jared Cook is nearly a full month younger than Bennett.

    Bennett is a better receiver and blocker. Over the last 3 years, he has about 2100 yards and 16 TD’s. Cook has 1500 yards and 4 TD’s.

  72. tunechi90 says: Mar 29, 2017 9:45 PM

    I would take Travis Kelce, Rob Gronk, Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed, Tyler Effect, Jimmy Graham, and Greg Olsen before Bennet but that is just me.

  73. hang3xc says: Mar 29, 2017 10:03 PM

    glac1 says:

    Bennett must be excited to have Rodgers throwing to him. Big numbers are likely…

    —————————————

    Yeah, I’m sure he is ecstatic to get away from Brady, who wouldn’t know how to feed a TE the ball if his life depended on it.

  74. ggreen657 says: Mar 29, 2017 10:48 PM

    Bennett was a good systems player for New England. But we all know that 3 guys run that system and it won’t work the same anywhere else.

  75. Bloodfart says: Mar 29, 2017 11:00 PM

    Theres gronk, then theres 20 lines of blank spaces, then theres 3-4 other TE’s and then you will find bennett’s name on the list. Step into reality for a little while, dont be rex ryan.

  76. GenXJay says: Mar 29, 2017 11:36 PM

    Anyone else find it suspicious Big Mike has to try & justify a free agency acquisition with over the top compliments?
    Note: The Hoodie always has the inside slant on players in their prime.

  77. revelation123 says: Mar 29, 2017 11:42 PM

    Saying he’s one of the best and has the potential to be the best is 100% accurate.

  78. realtruthteller100 says: Mar 30, 2017 12:37 AM

    michael is better imo

  79. campcouch says: Mar 30, 2017 1:00 AM

    Funny how when a guy gets the opportunity to play with a stable franchise and a good QB, his skills become apparent. Unfortunately this guy until last season,has played with mediocre quarterbacks. So a year splitting reps in NE with Gronkowski and having Brady throw to him showed what he can do. Now he’s playing with another outstanding arm, so why wouldn’t coach be confident in him?

  80. tdonn says: Mar 30, 2017 1:33 AM

    NE was perfect for Bennett last year. Large market, so he could get the attention he NEEDS and a team that started out the season winning and continued to win.

    Packer fans, you will wish him gone sooner than you think….

  81. A happy green parrot says: Mar 30, 2017 9:11 AM

    Jdog63 says:
    Mar 29, 2017 8:57 PM
    I’m sorry Mike, but you guys lettin’ Cook go was foolish.
    FOOL. ISH.
    I don’t think Bennett can run like Cook did, nor catch like Cook did. And he’s older, right? Yeah…
    He may be pretty good, I hope so. Still I think…
    TE fail 2017.

    ———————

    Catch yes, Bennett can do that as well as Cook, either is goid at raking in a ball thats to them. Run no, cook was definately good at running after the catch, Bennett tends more to have already done his route well to be in the right spot at the catch but not that much more most ofbthe time. But Bennett has a wider array of ways he can be effective than Cook did. His blocking for NE last year was his bigger contribution than his catching. Having Bennett there allows Rodgers more options to take advantage of. You will see improvements in ‘non TE’ stats elsewhere on the offense that are the result if Bennett being there in the TE role. For example if you are a Rodgers fan think about what he can accomplish with that extra split second the defense needs to know what the play is.

  82. stellarperformance says: Mar 30, 2017 10:49 AM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Mar 29, 2017 6:17 PM
    His last year in Chicago he was upset about his contract and decided not to stay in shape he was fat slow and out of shape had zero enthusiasm about playing. Sound like a perfect fit
    //////////////////////////////////

    I think people are overreacting. All McCarthy is talking about is potential. It’s kind of like the Vikings saying they think the next time they have an opportunity to advance in the postseason, they have the potential to kick a 27 yard field goal.

    Potential does not equate with a guarantee however, but’s it’s possible. It’s possible the Vikings can avoid adding to their distinguished all-time NFL record for the most one-and-done postseason appearances in the history of the game, including the pre-merger period when only “four” teams played.

    Anything can happen, that’s all he’s saying.

  83. srvmustang says: Mar 30, 2017 11:14 AM

    denverscott says:
    Mar 29, 2017 7:53 PM

    At least he plays the whole season. Hear that Gwonk? A season is 16 games bro.
    XXXXXX

    Yeah, because it’s Gronk’s fault that people consistently hit his knees and gang-tackle him because he is a force of nature.

  84. audio2sell says: Mar 30, 2017 12:16 PM

    Great blocking TE, but please with the ‘best TE’ crap.

    In the SB OT, he bobbled and dropped a pass in the end zone that Gronk or any top tier TE would have easily caught.

    He then proceeded to fall on the next play and it nearly ended in an interception.

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