Say what you will about Michael Bennett’s off-field politics. On the field, he’s quickly evolving into one of the Dallas Cowboys‘ most passionate leaders.
This much was on display Sunday in the moments before Dallas would face, and defeat, the Lions in Detroit. Bennett gave an emotionally-charged, expletive-filled speech to his Cowboys teammates, urging them to take care of business in a virtual must-win affair.
“Bring that (expletive) pain today! It’s about the (expletive) Cowboys! Every (expletive) day we sacrifice! We spend time away from our families, we play through injuries, and it’s our time to shine! And it starts with the man next to you. What are you willing to do to sacrifice for the man to next to you? I’m gonna lay it down! Every single play! Down in! Down out! Let’s (expletive) dominate! Hey, if you ain’t about that (expletive), don’t come back out here!”
Contrary to his pre-game pump-up, Bennett did his talking on the gridiron, finishing with two solo tackles (one tackle-for-loss), two sacks and two quarterback hits in Dallas’ 35-27 victory.
Acquired from the Patriots on Oct. 24, Bennett is tied for third on the team with three sacks across 130 snaps (19.37 percent), forming a lethal pass-rushing trio comprised of $105 man DeMarcus Lawrence (4.5 sacks) and sack leader Robert Quinn, who’s notched 8.5 QB takedowns in eight games.
“They brought him in here to be an effective player and he’s been dominant since he’s been here,” Quinn said Tuesday, per The Athletic. “He just makes plays when it matters.”
Bennett will see his former team Sunday as the Cowboys travel to Gillette Stadium to battle New England in a nationally-televised tilt.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Bennett Explains Standing for Anthem With Cowboys
What flew in Seattle and Philadelphia for Bennett is expressly prohibited in Dallas. The 34-year-old defensive end has long been a proponent of social and racial justice, joining former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (and several others) in protesting atrocities taking place around the country.
But since his arrival to the Cowboys, Bennett has toed the company line — literally. While he would previously kneel or plant himself on the bench during the playing of the National Anthem, and he still prefers to, the one-time Pro Bowler is doing what’s best for business by standing tall on the sideline.
“I feel at this point in my career, if my teammates asked me to do something and I can do it, [I’ll do it],” Bennett recently told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I know people want [to make it what] they want to. I don’t know what to tell them.”
Bennett’s Matchup vs. Patriots
As mentioned, he’ll be able to exact a measure of revenge on the club that shipped him out of town for a measly 2021 conditional seventh-round draft pick. Expect Bennett, a role player behind Lawrence and Quinn, to receive plenty of snaps in Foxborough.
Bennett, however, has his work cut out if he hopes to sniff around Tom Brady, who’s absorbed the fifth-fewest sacks (17) and ninth-fewest hits (51) through 10 games. The return of Patriots starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn, activated from injured reserve Tuesday, could make life that more difficult for Dallas, a defense with 26 sacks to its name.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL