Focus on: Michael Bennett

Posted Sep 23, 2013

The Seahawks knew they were getting a versatile pass-rusher when they signed Michael Bennett in free agency. But the relentlessness of the Seahawk-turned-Buccaneer-turned-Seahawk is delivering even more than expected.

The Seahawks’ signing of Michael Bennett in free agency has been like one of those late-night TV commercials.

The coaches knew they were getting an experienced and productive pass-rusher … but wait, there’s more.

They knew they were getting a player familiar with the club because was here as a rookie in 2009 … but wait, there’s more.

They also knew they were getting a versatile performer as Bennett had played end in the base defense as well as tackle in the nickel line the past two-plus seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers … but wait, there’s even more.

In Sunday’s 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at CenturyLink Field, Bennett was here, there and seemingly everywhere for the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense. He had 1.5 sacks and hit Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne on two other occasions.

“Michael has demonstrated that he can do a lot of stuff,” coach Pete Carroll said on Monday after reviewing video of everything Bennett brought to the victory. “If you looked at the different spots he lined up in yesterday that was about everywhere you can put a D-lineman.”

Bennett started at the Leo end position in the base defense. He got some snaps there as well in the nickel defense, where he also moved inside to tackle.

“It’s just the way he comes off the football and attacks,” Carroll said. “He’s a very effective player. He’s more than we thought he was. He’s got more variety to his game and it comes out of just the tenacity and motor that he has. We’re real excited about it.”

After three games, Bennett leads the team with 2.5 sacks and also leads all the linemen with seven tackles.

In the home opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Bennett got a sack of Colin Kaepernick while on the ground with a 325-pound offensive tackle sitting on him and also split a double-team block to help stop Frank Gore for a 2-yard loss.

Carroll liked the effort Bennett displayed on the play that resulted in his second sack against the Jaguars.

“He had a great rush,” Carroll said. “What a fantastic effort by him. The guys were roaring up field and he got there before the other guys. For years we’ve been looking for inside presence in the pass rush and I think this is the best shot we have right now.”

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound Bennett is just the latest example – the “classic example,” as Carroll put it – of those players with unique qualities that his coach covets.

“We’re looking for guys with special qualities,” Carroll said. “We’re not looking just for cookie-cutter guys. We want guys that have something. He has some really unique about him. It’s that tenacity, that speed, that anticipation that he has that makes him special.”

He is, obviously, even more than the Seahawks bargained for.

“We thought we were going to get a good, active pass-rusher,” Carroll said. “But I didn’t anticipate how constant he is, effort-wise. I didn’t have that sense about him watching it on film. But he is a relentless football player. You love guys like that. He is going to get everything out of every play.

“Basically, the intensity that he brings, we’re surprised with that. And that shows up, and that’s a great asset.” 

All that was missing was the announcer chiming in with, “Now how much would you pay?”