Michael Bennett applying the pressure for Seahawks
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett received the first player of the week award in his career on Wednesday after notching a career-best 3 1/2 sacks in his last game.
Bennett’s response? Essentially a shrug.
”It feels the same. It’s one of those things you get awarded for somebody noticing you. The only thing that really matters is the win at this point and getting back to where we want to be at,” Bennett said.
While much has been made of Seattle’s struggles early in the season and its attempt to get back to .500 this week before the bye, Bennett is having arguably his most disruptive season with the Seahawks.
Thanks to his 3 1/2 sacks last week against San Francisco, Bennett is tied for the NFL lead with 6 1/2 total sacks through seven weeks along with Cincinnati’s Carlos Dunlap and New England’s Chandler Jones. Bennett’s never had double-digit sacks in a season, yet is on pace now to have the most by a Seattle defensive player since Patrick Kerney’s 14 1/2 sacks in 2007.
Bennett likely could have claimed another half-sack, but it was given to the combo of Brandon Mebane and David King. As it stood, the 3 1/2 sacks were the second-most by any player in a single game this season.
”I don’t think he changed anything, he just had good opportunities and worked with, he and Cliff (Avril) kind of shared some good efforts on the pass rush last week,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ”Cliff flushed a guy and he made the sack, and vice versa. So it was some just good continuity by those guys. But he’s been playing really good football.”
One of the most effective ways for Seattle to get quarterback pressure has been with Bennett and Avril rushing from the same side. In those situations, Bennett lines up as the defensive tackle with Avril on the end. Avril said because of how wide Bennett lines up in that position, it often leaves guards having to block like tackles and can open up opportunities for a speed pass rush.
Bennett had one solo sack and shared a sack with Avril against the 49ers when the pair aligned in that formation.
”He makes the guards become tackles and they don’t like space. And for me sometimes the tackle looks to help out on him so it gives me an advantage on a speed rush,” Avril said. ”I think it just creates a little bit of a problem for the (offensive) linemen.”
Before the season, Bennett expressed his displeasure with the four-year contract he signed after the 2013 season and his desire to be paid more. Bennett briefly considered holding out from training camp before reporting. While he said he still has issues with his contract, those concerns are now secondary.
If there is a concern at this point for Seattle, it might be the amount Bennett is playing. Bennett’s been on the field for nearly 82 percent of Seattle’s defensive plays after playing more than 84 percent of the defensive snaps last season for the Seahawks.
Bennett isn’t concerned about being asked to play this much. He’ll get a break soon enough with the Seahawks on their bye after Sunday’s game at Dallas. As long as the Seahawks reach their goal of turning around their slow start and becoming a Super Bowl contender again, the amount of play time won’t matter.
”When you go to the Super Bowl twice, anything less than getting back to the championship is a waste of time,” Bennett said. ”If we are going to be here, let’s go to the dance, you know what I mean? If not, let’s stay home. So that’s kind of my mindset. If we are going to do this, let’s do this all the way.”
NOTES: Carroll said the signing of RB Bryce Brown was because of the uncertainty surrounding backup RB Thomas Rawls and his calf injury. Carroll said there is still a chance Rawls is healthy enough to play this week, but Seattle needed additional depth, leading to the decision to sign Brown. … Seattle released WR B.J. Daniels to clear a roster spot for Brown.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL