Michael Bennett spent only 225 days in New England. He played only six games and was suspended for one. The Patriots traded him to the Cowboys days before the trade deadline.
The defensive end, though, has nothing but praise for his former team and Bill Belichick, who he calls “a savant.”
“I learned a lot of football in New England,” Bennett said Wednesday. “As a player, you go into the situation, and you think you know football. Then, you meet somebody who’s above you and knows everything about the game. For me, I learned a lot about football in that situation, learning how to execute at a high level, learning what it takes to develop players. I learned what it feels like to break down a game plan from a different perspective, and I think it was good for me as a player. If I ever want to be a coach, it would be a good situation to take into that.”
The Patriots traded with the Eagles for Bennett in March. Whether it was a poor fit in the Patriots’ scheme or something else, Bennett finished with four tackles and 2.5 sacks in the 130 snaps he played in New England.
Bennett doesn’t know why it didn’t work out with the Patriots or he isn’t saying.
“I’m not the coach,” he said.
But now in his 11th season, Bennett feels no need to show the Patriots anything. He said it’s “never personal in the NFL; it’s always business.”
“I’m at the point where I don’t have to prove myself,” Bennett said. “I think when you go out there and play as hard as you can, simply not for yourself but for your teammates. Every single time I go out there, it’s not really about me. It’s really about the guys I line up next to. There’s a lot of great players in this defense, and you want to just be a great teammate to them, try to do the best you can and stick to the game plan and try to execute at a high level, not for yourself but for your teammates.”
He has found a home in Dallas, with more sacks, quarterback hits and tackles in three games than he had in six with the Patriots. Bennett has three sacks, seven quarterback hits and eight tackles for the Cowboys.