BOSTON (CBS) — Michael Bennett is having a tough time with his reduced role on the New England Patriots. Kyle Van Noy feels for the veteran quarterback hunter.
Bennett has made a career out of getting after opposing quarterbacks, but he needs to be on the field to lay down those hits. That has not been the case lately, as Bennett played just 11 snaps in last Thursday’s win over the New York Giants. Bennett’s frustration boiled over the following day at practice, when he had it out with Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema. Bennett called it a “philosophical disagreement,” a disagreement that earned him a one-week suspension from the team.
Van Noy voiced his support for Bennett in a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand on Wednesday, but also said it’s tough for anyone to speak out with the New England defense off to such a torrid start this season.
“Man, I’m sure it’s really tough. He is a really, really good football player. He wants to play,” Van Noy said of Bennett. “When he’s been on the field, he makes really good plays. When you look at his sacks they’re really good for the amount of snaps that he’s played.
“Look at the defense, it’s hard to argue anything,” Van Noy continued. “Everybody’s playing really, really good. It’s a fight to get reps.”
Bennett has made the most out of his limited playing time, racking up 2.5 sacks on 130 snaps over six games. But with Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton playing so well, and New England’s top-ranked D playing mostly 3-4 defense, Bennett has been relegated to a spectator role on the sideline.
“It’s a hard thing to do,” said Van Noy. “You really gotta set your pride to the side and, that’s a hard thing to do when you’ve been the guy at other places in your career. I love Michael and I’m going to have his back.”
Bennett will not play Monday night against the Jets, and only time will tell if he can happily remain in New England. The Patriots traded for Bennett over the offseason and even gave him a raise, but if the two sides continue to disagree about his playing time, the marriage may come to an unceremonious end.
The Patriots could try to trade Bennett ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline, though they probably wouldn’t fetch much in return given his age, salary and lack of versatility on the defensive line.