Wed Oct 23 9:20pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
New England Patriots defensive lineman Michael Bennett speaks with members of the media in the team's locker room following NFL football practice, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Patriots defensive end Michael Bennett is back with the team after serving a one-game suspension for what he said was a ''philosophical disagreement'' with defensive line coach Bret Bielema.
But whether the suspension will improve his standing on a defense in which he's seen his playing time diminish throughout the season is still an open question.
Bennett was reinstated by the Patriots on Tuesday after sitting out New England's 33-0 win over the New York Jets on Monday night. He returned to practice Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters in the locker room afterward, he said he didn't have any big takeaways from the suspension.
''I didn't take away nothing,'' he said. ''I got suspended, lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? There is no love lost. It's just what it is.''
Coach Bill Belichick was equally coy about the impact of the suspension.
''We've moved past a lot of things this year. We're onto the Browns,'' he said, alluding to the Patriots matchup with Cleveland this Sunday.
Asked if he felt as if he was still on good terms with the coaching staff, Bennett said only, ''You have to ask them.''
One of the reasons could be that for one of the first times in his career, the 33-year-old veteran is struggling to find a defined role on a defense that currently tops the NFL in several categories.
Bennett began the season by playing in 55 percent of the defensive snaps (37 plays) in the Patriots' season-opening win over Pittsburgh.
But his playing time has steadily decreased since then, falling to just 11 snaps (22 percent) against the Giants in Week 6.
Part of the reason is the Patriots have adjusted from a 4-3 base defense, which Bennett excelled in as an edge rusher during his time with Seattle and Philadelphia, to a 3-4 defense in which he is being asked to rush from the inside.
As a result, his production has suffered.
Last season with the Eagles he had nine sacks, 30 quarterback hits and 34 tackles, including 15 for a loss.
It's one of the big reasons why the Patriots traded a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 to Philadelphia in March for Bennett, whom they hoped could fill the void left when Trey Flowers departed in free agency. New England underscored its faith in Bennett by giving him a reworked, two-year contract that would be worth as much as $16.75 million.
But in his six games with the Patriots he has only 2+ sacks, four quarterback hits and five tackles (three for a loss).
He said he doesn't think it's been hard to be himself in New England but acknowledged that not being on the field as much as he has in the past has affected him.
''Playing is always one thing, but not playing is always another thing,'' he said.
That lack of usage has fueled speculation that the Patriots could trade him prior to the deadline on Oct. 29.
''That's up to them and how they feel about it,'' Bennett said. ''I like playing here.''
As far as what he plans to do to improve his standing before then, Bennett said he can only be himself.
''Can't really bite your tongue,'' he said. ''Everybody else in the league says what they feel. I just say how I feel and move on from there. We're just all human. We all go through our own situations. You can have conversations and move on from it. That's how I feel about it.''
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will 'absolutely' continue to play a big role in the passing game, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has 13 catches for 90 yards in two games for the Browns, and he has become a safety valve of sorts for quarterback Baker Mayfield. Throw in a handful of carries, and he is worth considering as a flex option in PPR formats.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson has 13 total receptions in five games since QB Sam Darnold returned from a bout with mono.
Fantasy Spin: He actually had a big performance in Darnold's first game back, but Anderson has just eight catches for 97 yards in the last four games combined. A Week 11 matchup with Washington looks good on paper, but he is a big-play dependent flex option, at best.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker's 'upside' may be limited in Week 11 because of the coverage skills of Buffalo Bills CB Tre'Davious White, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: Parker had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Buffalo, but with Preston Williams sidelined, White and the Bills can focus all their attention on Parker. He is a touchdown-dependent WR3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert (shoulder) won't be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this season, head coach Bruce Arians said Saturday, Nov. 16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Justin Evans (foot) needs surgery on his foot and won't be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this season, head coach Bruce Arians said Saturday, Nov. 16.
Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes (groin) likely will be a game-time decision for the Week 11 game.
New England Patriots S Obi Melifonwu (undisclosed) was placed on the practice squad Reserve/Injured list this week.
Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns signed a two-year contract extension with the Dolphins Saturday, Nov. 16, worth $8 million, according to a source. The deal includes $3.27 million in guaranteed money.
Indianapolis Colts practice squad WR Deon Cain and Chicago Bears practice squad RB Kerrith Whyte were signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster Saturday, Nov. 16. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The Steelers also waived LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Tony Brooks-James.
Detroit Lions practice squad RB Bo Scarbrough was signed to the 53-man roster Saturday, Nov. 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived RB Paul Perkins.
Los Angeles Rams RB John Kelly was waived Saturday, Nov. 16.
Arizona Cardinals TE Maxx Williams signed a two-year extension with the Cardinals Saturday, Nov. 16, that will run through the 2021 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
New England Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) and SS Patrick Chung (chest, heel) have been ruled out of the team's Week 11 game.
Los Angeles Chargers OT Sam Tevi (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and has been ruled out for Week 11. WR Geremy Davis (hamstring) and RB Justin Jackson (calf) did not practice and are listed as doubtful. OT Russell Okung (groin) did not practice and is listed as questionable. S Roderic Teamer (groin) and LS Cole Mazza (illness) fully participated in practice but are listed as questionable. LB Drue Tranquill (calf) was limited during practice but is not on the injury report. LB Denzel Perryman (knee), DT Justin Jones (shoulder), OG Dan Feeney (shoulder), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury) and OT Trey Pipkins (toe) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (groin) fully participated in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is not on the injury report for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Watkins has been targeted 27 times in three games since returning from injury and should have a solid role against the Los Angeles Chargers. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Blake Bell (ankle), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) and DE Alex Okafor (ankle) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and have been ruled out for Week 11. CB Kendall Fuller (thumb) was limited during practice and is listed as questionable. OT Mitchell Schwartz (knee) was limited during practice but is not on the injury report. DE Frank Clark (neck), OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), OT Cameron Erving (ankle), OT Eric Fisher (groin), DT Chris D. Jones (groin) and DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams (non-injury) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is listed as questionable for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Williams is not dealing with an injury, so he should have a good chance to play in Week 11. He can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues if he plays.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) fully participated in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is not on the injury report for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Mahomes has thrown 18 touchdowns and one interception in eight games this season and continues to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.