Seahawks' Michael Bennett: Lions' Zach Zenner best white RB in the NFL
Zach Zenner's production - and his skin color - have caught the attention of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.
One of the most fun-loving personalities in the NFL, Bennett said in a conference call with Detroit reporters today that Zenner is the best white running back in the NFL.
“I think the running back, man, he’s - there’s not many white running backs in the NFL but he has to be the best right now," Bennett said. "He’s doing such a great job of cutbacks and hitting the hole. He’s a really good back. I know all the stuff he did in college, three straight seasons of 2,000 yards. I don’t care where you’re at, if you can do that you have got amazing talent. And I think he’s just an amazing running back, the things he can do with the ball. He got good balance, he can spin, he can catch it out of the backfield. I think he fits the offense perfectly."
After playing primarily on special teams for most of the past two seasons, Zenner has been a revelation as the Lions' starting running back the last two weeks.
He ran for a career-high 67 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries two weeks ago in a 42-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, then topped that with 69 yards rushing on 20 carries and 41 yards receiving last week against the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions rank 30th in the NFL in rushing and have lost their top two running backs to season-ending injuries in Ameer Abdullah (foot) and Theo Riddick (wrist), but they've been much balanced on offense since Zenner replaced Dwayne Washington in the lineup.
Bennett said he was caught off guard by Zenner's production.
"That surprises me a lot because you don’t see a lot of (white) running backs in the NFL, there’s just a couple," he said. "But he’s right now, he’s really, really good. He does a lot of great things, I think. Even in the pass protection game, he steps up and he does a great job of protection. I’m not surprised that he’s the starter right now because of all the great things that he’s doing."
Bennett also had some fun at his former teammate Golden Tate's expense, saying Tate "is a great player" despite his unusual body.
"Golden Tate is just one of those players he can do so much," Bennett said. "He can catch the ball, run the ball. His YAC (yards after catch) is just outstanding. And sometimes, he got the weirdest looking body but he can always make plays. I always think he looks like a bird, but I can never understand how that body does what it does."
Tate, who won a Super Bowl with Bennett in 2013, has topped 90 receptions in each of this three seasons with the Lions.
"Golden was always a great teammate," Bennett said. "Great, fun guy, always popped around, always brought donuts. Always appreciate the D-line and it was fun to have him on our team."
Asked where Tate used to bring donuts from, Bennett said Top Pot Donuts, the store he was warned for trespassing at after he took maple bars from an unopened cafe in his building as a rookie.