It appears that starting tight end Martellus Bennett will be sitting out the Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football matchup against the Detroit Lions with a shoulder injury. Bennett was a big free agent signing this off season by the Packers when he signed a deal after being with the New England Patriots last season. However, Bennett wasn’t the only free agent tight end who joined the Packers this off-season. Former Los Angeles Rams tight end Lance Kendricks also signed with the Packers, joining Bennett and the Packers. Bennett has been the starter at tight end for the Packers in 2017, but with him nursing an injury on Monday night, things will change. Kendricks should be a prominent presence for the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.
Lance Kendricks Should be a Prominent Presence for the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night
Bennett hasn’t produced this season like the Packers had hoped he would. So far, he has caught 24 passes for 233 yards and has yet to catch a touchdown pass this season. He has also battled issues with drops, something he hasn’t had to deal with in his ten seasons as a professional. Although the drops can’t be blamed on other factors, his lack of production can be pointed to for another reason. With the Packers starting offensive line decimated by injuries, especially at left and right tackle, the Packers have asked Bennett to stay in and block more. Bennett has shown throughout his career he is a solid blocker and his unselfishness has helped out the Packers. Still, many had expected Bennett’s receiving numbers to be better, especially when he was playing with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, while Rodgers was healthy.
Although Kendricks isn’t at Bennett’s level as a blocker, he is willing to perform the task. On the receiving end, there shouldn’t be much of a drop off. Entering this season, Kendricks had averaged 34 catches, 355 yards receiving, and three receiving touchdowns per season. With Bennett being the tight end highlighted in the Packers passing attack so far this season, Kendricks has just six catches for just 94 yards but does have a touchdown reception.
The Milwaukee, WI native won’t have the benefit of having Rodgers as his quarterback on Monday, but that might play in Kendricks favor. Brett Hundley struggled in the passing game in his first game as the Packers starting quarterback and there is little doubt that head coach Mike McCarthy will try to jump start the passing game right away on Monday night against the Lions. One way to do this is for Hundley to look for high percentage passes right away, possibly to a safety valve like Kendricks. Kendricks had to deal with inexperienced quarterbacks during his time with the Rams, so this won’t be anything new for him when he plays with Hundley on Monday night.
Richard Rodgers Should Also See Time
Kendricks won’t be alone at tight end on Monday night. Fellow tight end Richard Rodgers should also see some time at tight end for the Packers. Rodgers was the Packers starting tight end back in 2015 when he hauled in 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdown receptions. Rodgers lacks speed, but he is sure handed and has a niche for getting open, especially in the red zone. He and Kendricks should be able to help out the young Hundley in the passing game.
Bennett and his 6’7” stature is quite intimidating in the passing game and there is no way to substitute his size and blocking ability. But Rodgers, and especially Kendricks, should be able to step in to help out in the passing game. With Hundley looking to get into a groove early, don’t be surprised to see Kendricks and Rodgers get quite a few looks and the Packers hope it will lead to points on the board.