Former Patriots defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who was dealt to Dallas before last month’s trade deadline, helped provide a defensive boost in his debut in the Cowboys’ 37-18 win over the Giants Monday night.
The 33-year-old Bennett finished with three tackles, a sack, four quarterback hits, and two tackles for losses.
Bennett, who also came out of the locker room Monday before the game to stand alongside his teammates for the national anthem for the first time since 2016, was traded for a seventh-round pick. In his relatively brief tenure with the Patriots, he was used sparingly, and was suspended one week for what was termed “detrimental conduct.” On Monday, Bennett didn’t speak with the media after the game — he hasn’t talked to reporters since the trade from New England — but Dallas owner Jerry Jones and his new coaches and teammates were all too happy to discuss Bennett’s impact on the Cowboys’ defense.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Jones told reporters when asked about Bennett’s performance. “I thought he really was impactful in there. I thought that the team in general were feeding off of what he was bringing, and of course very likely he was feeding off what [DeMarcus] Lawrence was doing out there and what [Robert] Quinn was doing.”
“He’s a veteran player, he knows production,” added Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “He just didn’t come into the group, he added to the group, and he’s done a nice job of adding with his experience and he did both.”
“You saw what he did,” Quinn told reporters after the game. “What does it mean to bring a guy like that in? It showed tonight, an older guy who is experienced, been in big games and dominated big games. That’s great to have another presence out there to help this team win.”
“It opens up our game, and it opens it up for Rob on the other side,” said Lawrence when asked about Bennett’s impact. “They can’t chip forever, and they can’t chip both sides forever and expect to get the ball out in under three seconds.”
Bennett will face his old team when Dallas meets the Patriots in Foxborough on Nov. 24.