Seahawks DL Michael Bennett versatile weapon on field, person off
There may not be a more versatile player in the NFL than Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.
Sure, he plays all over the defensive line, where he has searched out mismatches on his way to collecting five sacks. But if you need an opinion on something — anything really — from procreation timelines to Zach Zenner’s pigmentation to Golden Tate’s doughnut habits to JFK conspiracy theories involving Matthew Stafford, Bennett is your man.
He even called Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril, one of his best friends on the team, a jerk today.
Avril could only laugh.
“Mike, we’re like brothers,” Avril said in a phone interview with the Free Press. “We’re like yin and yang. He’s the loud, outspoken guy. I’m the quiet, laidback guy. I kind of calm him down a little bit. He kind of brings it out of me a little bit. But we have a great relationship.”
It seems there is almost nothing Bennett won’t say and almost no spot on the defensive line he won’t play.
“He can play everywhere,” Lions right guard Larry Warford said. “He has enough speed, quickness to play that edge. He has enough power and stability to play inside with the guards. He’s just a versatile player.”
Lions rookie left tackle Taylor Decker definitely expects to see plenty of Bennett.
“He’ll bounce all over the place to try to create mismatches and things like that,” Decker said. “Avril is typically going to stick out at the end position. They all burst off the ball. Avril’s really, really good on the edge, really good with his speed.
“That’s not to say Bennett isn’t, but he’s real aggressive with his hands. That’s what I’ve seen. He does a nice job shedding off his blocks. Each guy’s going to present his own problem.”
How does Bennett describe his game? He’s glad you asked.
Bennett described himself as “an all-around complete defensive end” at a time that when that’s maybe not the most popular characteristic.
“The media doesn’t leave players to want to be complete players in the game right now,” he said in a conference call with Detroit reporters.
“And right now you’ve got tight ends that only catch the ball and then you’ve got tight ends that only block and then you have defensive ends that only rush or defensive ends that only play the run.
“But, you know, I end up being the complete player being able to play inside, outside, playing the run and pass, so I pride myself on being a complete defensive end.”
Maybe the media doesn’t appreciate complete defensive ends, but the Seahawks certainly did when they signed him to a three-year extension worth $31.5 million last week.
“Very unique player, you know,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a conference call with Detroit reporters. “He’s a real problem-maker for your opponents because he’s got tremendous instincts and savvy and he’s hard to nail down, like what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it.
“We give him some freedom in our scheme to do the things that he’s capable of and you just find him in the backfield a handful of times in a game and whether it’s run or pass, he can give you some real issues. We love the way he plays and he’s been a big part of this thing.”