By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Martellus Bennett has long been one of the NFL’s most outspoken players. It has led to problems in the locker room with some of his former teammates and organizations. With Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, Bennett’s striking personality remains – but the problems do not.
Belichick is not just the best on-field coach in the National Football League; he’s also as good as anyone in the league at keeping his players focused on football, controlling the atmosphere in his locker room, and minimizing concerns about anything external that doesn’t involve the task at hand. The Patriots are on to Cincinnati in Week 6 to take on the Bengals at Gillette Stadium, and the story’s the same.
Bennett is making headlines this week with recent comments about his ex-teammates as part of an ESPN E:60 special about him and his brother Michael. A preview clip shows Martellus saying he “hated” former Dallas Cowboys teammate Jason Witten and that the Chicago Bears had “a bunch of bitches on the roster” when played there and that was the reason they didn’t win a lot of games in Chicago.
Martellus ostensibly does not feel the same way about his teammates and coaches here in New England. He’s expressed that he’s been as happy as ever since joining the Patriots, and it’s translated to success on the field. He’s been one of the Patriots’ best players over the course of the first five games, whether he’s been in a blocking or pass-catching role.
That still didn’t stop a reporter from asking Belichick about his comments on the Bears at his Wednesday press conference. In vintage Belichickian fashion, he swatted the question away with an extended comment about preparing for the Bengals before dismissing Bennett’s remarks.
“Our focus is really trying to prepare as well as we can for [the Bengals],” said Belichick. “Not really worried about any other team or some other random comments. It’s not really on my radar.”
Even if Bennett said something about his current teammates or said something critical of the Patriots, Belichick would have reacted the same way. His consistency in extinguishing any kind of media fodder and keeping those distractions out of his locker room is one of many examples why he’s been so consistently successful in New England. Even with one of the league’s most forthright players speaking honestly and bluntly, the focus remains on football.
It’s clear that Martellus Bennett has bought into the Patriots’ “Do Your Job” mantra, as he’s shown up big-time on the field in every game so far in 2016. As long as he’s doing his job when he enters Gillette Stadium, he can do and say whatever he wants outside of that. Bennett has also commented recently on how the Patriots are letting him be himself, as evidenced by his wildly entertaining exchanges with media members.
Perhaps Bennett won’t be as happy as he is right now forever, but as long as he stays as happy as he’s been and keeps producing on Sundays, Belichick will be able to control any outside noise he could cause with his comments. Belichick made it clear, once again, that his only concern is that his players are doing their jobs on the field. Through five Patriots games in 2016, Bennett has been doing that as well as anyone.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.