Bubba Franks. Mark Chmura. Jermichael Finley. Keith Jackson. One thing that the Green Bay Packers have always prided itself on was a strong tight end for the quarterback to rely on when he needed to complete a pass, score a touchdown, or just move the chains. However, in the Aaron Rodgers era, the role of the tight end has slightly diminished. That might change in 2017 with the arrival of Martellus Bennett to Green Bay. Just eight months removed from winning a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots, Bennett is ready to beat the Atlanta Falcons once again.

Martellus Bennett and his success against the Falcons

When the 2016 NFL season started, Martellus Bennett was supposed to be a second tight end for the New England Patriots.

The team had excelled with two tight ends sets with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the past, but no one expected it to be Bennett that led the way in New England in 2016. With Gronkowski hurt for most of the season, Bennett ended up with 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

In the playoffs, only Bennett’s second trip to the postseason, he added 11 more receptions for 98 yards. While the touchdowns were not there, Bennett did what he is best at. He got in position to catch the passes he needed to pull in and helped move the chains when the Patriots were coming from behind to win the Super Bowl. Now, Bennett gets a chance to show what he can do once again against the Atlanta Falcons, as the Green Bay Packers look to avenge their season-ending loss last year to the 2016 NFC Champions.

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Bennett has Rodger’s back

It also helps that Martellus Bennett has his quarterback’s back. Just this week, Bennett picked up a $9,115 fine for knocking Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright on his butt in Week 1. The reason for the hit was because Wright delivered a cheap shot to Aaron Rodgers, who was diving headfirst at the end of the run.

"It's my quarterback. I've always got his back. It's a bad penalty at that moment in time, but I thought it was a cheap shot,” Bennett said after the game. “I always protect the quarterback. I'll never let anybody take a cheap shot on my guy.”

Martellus Bennett didn’t have the best debut with the Green Bay Packers in that opening game. He only caught three passes for 43 yards in the game, but he showed that he will stand up to protect Aaron Rodgers at a moment’s notice. Maybe Rodgers will lean on him a little more against the Falcons this weekend.