As a fan watching and a journalist writing articles about the Green Bay Packers this season the one thing that has upset and disappointed me the most is the lack of use of Martellus Bennett in the passing game. Coming off helping the New England Patriots and Tom Brady win their fifth Super Bowl last season, Bennett’s signing with the Packers was a big deal and sure-fire home run in making the offense even more deadly. When Rodgers was still playing he wasn’t used as much in the passing game but with a young Hundley having to take the reins, Bennett’s receiving ability will be needed now more than ever.
As a handcuff to one of the best tight-ends in the league, Rob Gronkowski, Bennett still produced huge numbers for that Patriots offense. He had 701 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns which was huge on route to the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. Last year wasn’t even his most notable season as in 2014 with the Bears he had 916 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns, and that was with Jay Cutler and whoever filled in for him when he was injured. Being 6’6”,275 lbs., and those career numbers, Bennett has established himself as one of the league’s best tight-ends.
In 7 games this season, Bennett only has 233 yards receiving and no touchdowns, which is disappointing, and for six of those games the best quarterback in the league was running the offense. Some of that has to do with Bennett’s great blocking abilities which has shown in the Packers successful run game but now with a first-time starting quarterback, his receiving talent will be needed more than ever.
Most good quarterbacks, especially in their younger days can attribute a lot of their success to their tight-ends. Philip Rivers had Antonio Gates, Tony Romo had Jason Witten, Peyton Manning had Dallas Clark. Brett Favre had two excellent tight-ends in Mark Chmura and Keith Jackson. Tight-ends are great because of the combination of their size, speed, route running ability and pass-catching ability. They are a quarterback’s dream and a defender’s nightmare. A tight-end like Bennett is perfect for a quarterback like Hundley and he’s on the roster ready to help.
Even though the run game against the Saints was rather successful, they can’t be that one-dimensional because by the second-half they couldn’t do anything and they lost. Passing for only 87-yards against the Saints will not be good enough going forward if they want to win against any team. Hundley is very limited as a quarterback but they must get the passing game going to score on defenses. To do that the Packers need to go back to the basics that made young quarterbacks successful in their early careers and utilize the talented tight-end on the roster. Instead of using those four, five receiver sets that Rodgers is good at, get Bennett and even Lance Kendricks some plays in the middle open field. Even targeting those guys in the middle of the field will make defenders respect them and that can open some opportunities with the other receivers.
Hundley has the talent and ability to throw the ball but he is merely lacking experience. McCarthy needs to write up and call plays that Hundley can do while giving him trust so he is confident in running those plays. Designed pass-plays to Bennett would benefit Hundley immensely and it would make defenders fear and respect him as a quarterback.