Leave it to Michael Bennett to provide the perfect balance of humor and insight ahead of Sunday's game against the Packers in Green Bay.
On Thursday, the Seahawks defensive end spent 13-and-a-half minutes on the mic inside the auditorium at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, providing an unfiltered assessment of this weekend's primetime matchup between the two clubs.
"I think Aaron Rodgers is obviously one of the best quarterbacks," Benneatt began before adding, "Or the best quarterback outside of Russell Wilson, because he's on my team. Always got to give him his shoutout."
The last time Bennett lined up against the Packers' Pro Bowl quarterback came in this past January's NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field, a game the Seahawks won 28-22 in thrilling come-from-behind fashion that saw Bennett record two tackles for loss and celebrate the victory with the "best bike ride" he's ever had. Before that, the two teams met in the 2014 NFL opener, also at CenturyLink Field and also a Seahawks win, 36-16, where Bennett registered two sacks, three quarterback hits, and forced a Rodgers fumble.
"Rodgers is tough guy," Bennett said of the 11th-year pro. "You can see the way that he handles the hits, the way that he gets back, the way that he does things. I think that he's a class act in the NFL to be able to do the things that he's been doing for the last, what, 10 years? And I think he learned from a great guy. He got a chance to be mentored by one of the toughest players ever, the toughest player at quarterback, being Brett Favre."
With Rodgers' toughness comes confidence, and Bennett said he's a fan of how much Rodgers likes to talk on the field.
"You like it in a quarterback, especially if he's on your team," Bennett said. "When a guy's jovial like that and being able to respond the way that he does, it just brings energy to the team. When you see a quarterback get hit and he's laughing, you're like, 'This guy's tough.' He takes the hits and he does the things that he does. You just have a lot of respect for him."
But what does Rodgers say once he gets hit? With Bennett notching a pair of sacks against the signal caller last season, the Seahawks pass rusher was asked that very question. Bennett, doing his best to hide a smile, responded by producing a high-pitched squeal, offering, "Stuff like that. Moaning sounds."
Dating back to 2012, the Seahawks have won all three of their meetings against Green Bay, each of which has been played in the Pacific Northwest. But this week's game is Green Bay's 2015 home-opener at Lambeau Field, where Rodgers is 45-10 as the Packers' starter and where Green Bay owns an NFC-best 74-29-1 home record and .716 winning percentage since 2002, narrowly edging out the Seahawks (73-31 record; .702 winning percentage) in both categories.
In a conference call held Wednesday with the Seattle media, Rodgers said "There's not a lot of motivation there" when asked where going 0-3 in recent meetings with the Seahawks ranks as fuel for his team's Week 2 tilt. Bennett agreed with Rodgers' take that the upcoming contest simply marks "game two of the season."
"I buy it," Bennett said. "I think he's poised and I think he understands that every year's a new year. I think only the media and the fans worry about what happened last year. They bring it up and they show flashes. But every year every team is different. They have different players, we have different players, so the situation is totally different. It's not the same game, or the same game-plan within the scheme of things that have changed. So I agree with him. I don't see it as a revenge."
So if the Seahawks manage to pull out a victory at one of the NFL's toughest venues, will Bennett look to grab a bike and take another joy ride like he did in last year's conference title game? Playfulness was present again in his answer.
"No," said Bennett. "I'll have a horse ready."