SAN ANTONIO -- For years, Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett has been described as funny, charming, spacey and freakishly athletic.
Not until the last couple of weeks.
"He has become more consistent," tight ends coach John Garrett said. "He understands that every play is important. He understands that doing it right every play is going to allow him to be successful."
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If Bennett is successful, the Cowboys believe they will be, too.
The fourth-year player from Texas A&M is a big part of the their plans. They can see him as a strong blocker in their double tight end sets. If he masters route-running, he could also serve as a No. 3 wide receiver.
Whatever he does, at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he could be one of the most devastating players on the field.
If he can be consistent.
"He blocks guys to the ground. He runs down the middle of the field and climbs up over guys and makes plays over his head," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We've seen that, and he's been a real contributor for us over the last three years, both as a run blocker and as a pass receiver.
"The big thing for guys is to be a consistent and dependable player -- do it play in and play out, day in and day out, game in and game out. He's clearly shown he's doing that better and better, and more and more."
What the Cowboys are looking for is a reliable player, which is the result of consistency.
"They've never doubted my ability," Bennett said. "Athletically or mentally. It's just being consistent. You don't want to be a flash player."
For Bennett to meet his potential as a receiver, he must have the trust of quarterback Tony Romo. He knows Jason Witten and Miles Austin have Romo's trust. He sees Dez Bryant gaining it.
"That comes with consistency," Bennett said. "Always being in the place where he needs you to be and him knowing that you're going to get open for him. If he's in trouble, he relies on Witten because Witten's really, really good at that. If it's third-and-6, he knows Witten's going to get that 6 yards that they need, so he can depend on him getting open on that down. He's getting that with Miles, he's getting that with Dez, he's getting that with me. Everybody's starting to trust in everybody a little bit more."
John Garrett said Bennett has come to understand something about the NFL game. He can't make plays on talent alone. Even his immense talent.
"Sometimes players think they can just do it without doing the proper technique," Garrett said. "And then they're facing a guy that's really good. The guy that has the better technique at this level -- because they're all athletic -- usually wins. So he's realizing that, 'Wow, I can't just get away with size, speed, strength. I have to be technically sound.' And he's learning.
"Repetition is the mother of learning.
"Everybody does better with reps, no matter what you do. In football, outside of football, the more you do something the right way, the better you get at it."
The more consistent you get.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407