Michael Bennett met with the media following Monday's practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, and on top of telling reporters what he learned from Sunday's scuffle with left tackle Bradley Sowell, the Seahawks defensive end touched on a variety of other topics, ranging from Pete Carroll's coaching philosophy to the book club he started earlier this month.
Here's five key takeaways from Bennett's Monday press conference:
1. Pete Carroll Is "Different From Any Other Coach"
Asked about how he's seen Pete Carroll's coaching message change over the years, or how the delivery of that message has changed, Bennett responded by recalling a scene from the most recent season of *Hard Knocks, *a series featuring the Los Angeles Rams.
"I was talking to my wife and we were watching Hard Knocks and when [Rams head coach] Jeff Fisher came in at halftime I told her, 'Pete Carroll would be totally different in that moment. That moment right there, he would have come in a lot different. A lot calmer, a lot more motivating, but in a different type of way.'" Bennett said. "That's what makes Pete Carroll different from any other coach, he understands the moment. There's time when you could go too hard on the team and they could change the whole momentum. But he knows exactly how to use his philosophies to the best of his abilities and I think that's what makes him such a great coach.
"I don't think his message has changed at all. It's always been the same: compete, compete, no complaining, and do the best you can every day."
As Carroll has discussed on numerous occasions, his coaching philosophy wasn't solidifed right away. He went through several gigs at the college and NFL level before finding success at USC, and ultimately Seattle, where over the past six seasons he's led the Seahawks to five playoff appearances, including two Super Bowls, and brought home one Lombardi Trophy.
"When you've got a coach who's really won, he understands his philosophy, people buy in a lot faster because they understand that this guy knows what he's talking about," Bennett said. "There's a lot of coaches, they talk about championships, they talk about being in the moment, but they don't even know what that moment feels like. They don't know how to express it, how to talk about it, so they can't really hone in on it. I think coach Carroll does a great job of doing that. I think he's elevated the mindset of people to understand that there's more in them and that they could be greater."
Earlier this offseason when talking about how fun and discipline can coexist in football, Carroll said "If we're not having fun, I'm screwing it up." And asked Monday to identify when he's seen Carroll at his angriest, Bennett couldn't, replying with, "I don't think I've ever seen him angry, honestly. I always tell him he's like Benjamin Button. I see him happy all the time. Willy Wonka. He's just having a good time."
When Bennett was acquired as a free agent before the Seahawks' 2013 Super Bowl championship season, he said it didn't take long to buy into Carroll's "Always Compete" and "Win Forever" philosophies because "Pete understood how to win."
"That was what it was about," Bennett said.
2. What He's Hoping To See Against The Cowboys
The Seahawks' first-team defense allowed just 28 yards rushing through the first half of last week's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. It's worth noting, though, that Adrian Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher last season, was on the sideline. Still, Bennett said Monday that he has been impressed with the way Seattle has defended the run this preseason, and looking ahead to the Seahawks' third preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday night at CenturyLink Field, wants to see more out of the pass rush.
"I think the run game is spectacular," Bennett said. "The pass rush is where we have to [emphasize] and get better at because this league is a passing league and a lot of teams we play are passing teams. So really have to figure out how to get these guys even better as pass rushers. That's spending more time after practice working with them, or us working with the offensive line a little bit more. I think that's the steps we've taken. I think that's what we're trying to do."
3. Frank Clark "Is Like A Wild Dog In A Meat House"
Frank Clark has the team's lone sack through two preseason games and received strong praise from Pete Carroll on Sunday. In his own unique way, Bennett agreed with his head coach's assessment, saying the second-year defensive end has been "just doing what he's always doing."
"Frank is like a wild dog in a meat house," Bennett said. "We're trying to get him to hone in on his skills because he has so many skills. He's so fast, so quick, so explosive, but you have to tune him up. That's what he's doing right now, we're tuning him up to be efficient, have efficient movement, and that's what he's working on. I think he's done a great job of it."
4. Tony McDaniel's "Veteran Wisdom" Is "Needed At This Moment"
Of the 16 players Seattle lists as defensive linemen on its roster, just four players - Bennett, Cliff Avril, Ahtyba Rubin, and Tony McDaniel - have more than four years of NFL experience. Eight of those 16 defensive linemen are either rookies or players entering their second year, which is part of the reason why Bennett called McDaniel's addition "necessary" at this point in preseason, because the Seahawks "have so many young guys on the defensive line."
"He's part of the reason why we went to two Super Bowls, part of the reason why we were the No. 1 rushing defense for a while," Bennett said of McDaniel, who started for the Seahawks in 2013 and 2014 and is entering his 11th NFL season. "Tony, he stepped right back in. He's the same guy, same player. Tony's one of those guys that comes to work and works really hard. Powerful, strong, and just determined player.
"I think his veteran wisdom is necessary, is needed at this moment."
5. His Book Club Is "Just Getting Started"
It was revealed in an ESPN story earlier this month that Bennett had founded a book club for his Seahawks teammates. He gave an update on the club's status after Monday's practice.
"We're just getting started," Bennett said. "There's a lot of people reaching out to us, a lot of different people from Seattle reaching out to us, libraries. So we're about to get started as soon as the season starts."
The first book on the club's reading list? Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
"We'll see how that goes with these young guys," he said.
Look through the best photos of Michael Bennett's "Seahawks Summer Olympics" following training camp practice.