HOUSTON - AUGUST 28: Tight-end Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts to shake loose linebacker Isaiah Greenhouse #61 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It’s not as though Martellus Bennett and Roy Williams have been absent from headlines in Dallas over the past two seasons. It’s just that they’ve been in the headlines, and quite a bit actually, for all the wrong reasons. Bennett has traditionally been associated with terms like “distracted,” “unfocused,” and sometimes “immature,” but compared to Williams, he’s been a veritable media darling.
The very deal that brought Williams to Dallas from Detroit has come to be known as a great blunder, which is to say, he didn’t exactly start out on the right foot with fans and the local press. Since, his inconsistent, and sometimes downright poor play has led to furious and tireless scrutiny. Michael Irvin said recently that having Williams on the field rendered Dallas a man short--that they “were playing 10 versus 11.”
On Sunday, though, quite the opposite was true. Williams emerged as the hero of the Cowboys’ 27-13 win over Houston, grabbing five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The week before, Bennett did all he could in the absence of Jason Witten, who was held out with a concussion, in a losing effort. He caught seven passes in that game, about half of his production from all of last year.
The change doesn’t seem to be any sort of fluke--a look at Bennett’s and Williams’ stats thus far will suggest as much--and it’s certainly not any great mystery. Bennett and Williams both concentrated on the mental aspect of the game this offseason, and changed their respective approaches to football--Williams refined his practice habits, and Bennett put down his popular but oft-criticized online video series, “Marty B TV,” to focus solely on football.
Now, the Cowboys are beginning to see some returns on these much scrutinized investments--and not a moment too soon.
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