Patriots can expect to get Martellus Bennett’s best, just like 2016

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Every Saturday, hot topics from around the New England Patriots are explored:

@MikeReiss Mike, after reading Marty B’s Instagram story, if you did, do you think he will give it all to the Patriots? Do you think he is happy to be in New England again?

— Rick Kaeble (@KickRaeble) November 10, 2017

Rick, I have no doubt the Patriots are going to get everything Martellus Bennett has to offer because that’s what they got in 2016. His toughness to play through multiple injuries last season earned the respect of many in the organization, including quarterback Tom Brady. I’d expect that continue in 2017. Furthermore, the culture demands a complete buy-in, and if it doesn’t happen, he probably won’t be around. Bennett respects the culture and said playing for the Patriots was one of his favorite NFL experiences so I would think he is thrilled to be back. The story referenced indicates that he wasn’t as happy in Green Bay.

@MikeReiss number of tweets out there talking about Bennett’s “toxic” locker room presence (journeyman mentality could lend credence). For Pats he’s been nothing but best behavior. In your opinion is his attitude exaggerated or is Pats locker room strong enough to stave off?

— Jeremy Spiegel (@IamSpiegel) November 11, 2017

Jeremy, Bennett has a unique way about him and by the end of 2016, it’s probably fair to say there might have been some fatigue within parts of the Patriots organization as a result of that. That might explain why the club didn’t aggressively pursue his return when he became an unrestricted free agent. But with some time away, and only a half season left in 2017, I don’t foresee any major issues. It’s almost like breaking up, and then realizing after some time away that you’re both better off with each other, and some of those old sparks come back. So if anything, I believe Bennett will provide the locker room a midseason boost. He can be a fun guy to be around and the reaction of some players Friday, specifically Danny Amendola, confirmed that line of thinking.

I thought he needed shoulder surgery?

— Mike Z (@mike_zickes) November 11, 2017

Mike, the decision to have surgery is ultimately up to the player and it seems like Bennett believed that was the best option for him for 2017 with the Packers. If the Packers put him on injured reserve, it sounds like that would have been the end result. But the Packers waived him instead and once they did, there were probably only a handful of scenarios that would make Bennett reconsider undergoing surgery immediately, and one of them is catching passes again from Brady while chasing another Super Bowl ring.

Possible they use a 3 TE set ?

— ELIA (@Eliamarkopoulos) November 10, 2017

Elia, if Bennett plays Sunday night, it could be limited to something like the three-tight end set, perhaps with a focus in the red zone where the offense has had some issues. Bennett is a smart player, has a background in the system, and should be able to handle something like that with relative ease.

Does this diminish role of D Allen?

— Carl Gagnon (@CarlGagnon207) November 10, 2017

Carl, in time, the presence of Bennett will almost certainly cut into Dwayne Allen’s playing time. This assumes good health for Rob Gronkowski and Bennett, of course. At this point, when Allen is on the field, opponents don’t have to truly view him as a threat to catch the ball. That changes with Bennett in the picture, and that’s why a healthy-enough Bennett projects to take time away from Allen.

@MikeReiss Any idea what the time table is for Hogan to return?

— Matt (@radewart) November 10, 2017

Matt, a few days ago, wide receiver Chris Hogan walked through the locker room and still had his right arm in a sling. That is usually an indication that he is still a few weeks away.

So who are the likely starters on the D-line with Brown out?

— John McLean (@JohnMcLean2012) November 10, 2017

John, the Patriots had been rotating their defensive tackles with Malcom Brown and Lawrence Guy the top two options, and veteran Alan Branch and rookie Adam Butler the next two in the mix depending on the scheme they are running. Now Ricky Jean Francois is part of that group as well.

Hey Mike, quick question re: Stephon Gilmore, is he limited more for the ankle or has he not yet exited the concussion protocol?

— McGarvin L (@TheKaitoKid29) November 10, 2017

I’m not 100 percent certain why Stephon Gilmore has been limited in practice, but he said early in the week that he should be good to play against the Broncos and I don’t believe the ankle is a major obstacle for him; it’s been more about coming back from the concussion. He has made the trip to Denver, as has fellow cornerback Eric Rowe (groin).

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