Is Bennett's role strictly that of a pass-rusher?

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  • I've been reading quite extensively on the board that most Seahawks' fans expect that Red Bryant's role won't change and that he's firmly entrenched at LDE as that massive and immovable run-stopping, lineman-occupying, 5-tech DE in Seattle's "elephant" scheme. And I've also been reading that Michael Bennett will play the Jason Jones' role, which implies that he won't start and he'll strictly play in passing downs- because I've also been reading that many Seahawks' fans expect Seattle to still do something significant at 3-tech DT alongside Brandon Mebane, either by re-signing Alan Branch or using a late-2nd on the position.

    Anyway, I only bring this up to mention what an extraordinary run-stopping DE Bennett actually is. Pro Football Focus, an analytical football website which dissects each and every player and play (and has really gained in popularity and reputability), has given out phenomenal grades to Bennett each of the last two years for his work against the run, actually suggesting that his play has been borderline elite in this regard. Even people who believe that Bennett is a "one-year wonder" because they exclusively look at sack totals fail to realize that in 2011, despite "just" 4 sacks from him that season, that he was absolutely dominant against the run.

    I know that Red Bryant's role is unique and that he really doesn't offer a lot of versatility along the defensive line (hence why most Seahawks' fans seem so convinced he's locked in at LDE). But I really think that Seattle would be wasting quite a bit of Bennett's talent if they restrict him purely to passing downs- he's really incredibly well-rounded.

    What do you think? Does Bennett have to pigeon-holed into purely passing the passer even when he offers so much else?
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  • I definatly see him playing some DE on run downs as well as DT on passing downs.

    Will definatly be interesting to see what our starting 4 looks like.
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  • https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2 ... defenders/

    No way. He will be prominently pass rush. Either at a DT or DE. He did great last year in both. Was this year's beat all aroundfew agent DE
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  • Until Clemons is 100%My guess is on 1st and 2nd down we will line up Bennett, Mebane, (Branch/drafted/FA), Red

    On passing downs Irvin, Mebane, Bennet, Avril

    It's starting to fell like our personel is better suited for a 3-4 minus our lack of NT.

    LB's Avril, Irvin, KJ, Wagner

    DL Bennet, Mebane, Bryant
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  • AWESOM-O.

    First of all, this is my favorite .net name, ever. And I've seen maybe 3 episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force in my life.

    Second, best 1st post ever. Loved the insight you brought with regards to Bennett's run defense.
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  • we're going to mix things up on D so much next year, especially if we can get a quicker dude to play safety and let Earl play slot sometimes - the combinations are mind bottling
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  • OneLofaTatupu wrote: the combinations are mind bottling


    it's like when your thoughts are so messed up that you feel like your mind's in a bottle... (will ferrell/blades of glory quote, anyone???)
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  • I don't think Bennett is a one year wonder becuase if he performs against the run as well as he has the last few years + pass rush ability then i could see him getting an extension and replacing big Red who i really like but is getting paid more than he is producing on the field. Bennett should be able to fill the jason jones role also but if he shines when he is on the field Pete won't sit him for long.
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  • AWESOM-O, Nice post.

    I fully expect Pete to take a look at Bennett as the LDE or Elephant (Competition right?). Bennett offers much more than simply a 3rd down pass rusher. Actually some of the numbers from both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders suggest Bennett could be better than Red Bryant as a run stuffing Elephant. Plus he could give you some pass rush there without having to substitute all the time (which becomes important when playing a good offense that will go to the no huddle and keep you from subbing).

    However the LDE and RDT spots (ones on either side of Mebane) are pretty similar on 1st and 2nd down depending on which scheme they are using. So you could leave Red at LDE and play Bennett majority of the time at RDT in a similar role and do pretty much the same thing. Either way I think Bennett's role will be more than a "situational pass rusher".

    I think the opening day base D-line will look like this: Bryant - Mebane - Bennett - Avril

    And pass rush D-line (Before Clemons is back): Irvin - Mebane - Bennett - Avril
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  • Pete loves versatility. If he can do more, Pete will find a way to use him more. If he's as good against the run as you're saying, maybe Branch won't be needed back?

    (BTW, I'm not sure that "reputablity" is actually a word. ;))
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  • kearly wrote:AWESOM-O.

    First of all, this is my favorite .net name, ever. And I've seen maybe 3 episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force in my life.


    Not to be a nit-picker, but AWESOM-O is from South Park, not Aqua Teen.

    Otherwise I agree with you wholeheartedly.
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  • kearly wrote:AWESOM-O.

    First of all, this is my favorite .net name, ever. And I've seen maybe 3 episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force in my life.

    Second, best 1st post ever. Loved the insight you brought with regards to Bennett's run defense.


    Yeah, like DaveyP said, AWESOM-O is actually from South Park, specifically a hilarious episode from season 8. I actually took the name Butters "Leopold" Stotch from SP first was but was informed that it exceeded the allotted length, LOL.

    Anyway, thanks for all the responses. I should (should have) prefaced my comments by admitting that I'm actually not a Seahawks' fan- I'm more of an increasing admirer. I actually have the awful luck of being a Bills' fan. You know, the only team that's failed to make the Playoffs this millennium, hasn't made it for a league-high 13-year straight years (with absolutely no end in sight), and who's also failed to make the postseason since the Clinton Administration- that last point really punctuates the Bills' prolonged and perpetual awfulness.

    But I can't help it- even though I wish to God I could change it (being a Bills' fan)... I can't. At least the last 13 years has completely desensitized me to weekly losses and I'm pretty dispassionate about the Bills; obviously I'd love it if they win, but I can't even get upset anymore and DON'T even get upset when they lose. My love for the NFL supersedes my love of the Bills, though, so I found things to root for during the last baker's dozen years (Peyton's Colts in the Playoffs, for example, and my "fandom" of Russell Wilson has given me more of an interest in the Seahawks).

    I live in Des Moines, IA (in "Big 10" country), and I was able to watch quite a bit of Wilson in 2011, his one and only season at Wisconsin. And without having to use revisionist history of being a MMQB... and also getting to know this player and person through interviews... I knew that he had that ineffable 'it.' I really knew this guy had both the skills (arm strength, accuracy, touch, intelligence, decision-making, etc.) and the intangibles (maturity, leadership, etc.) to be a star, and I was really hoping that the Bills wouldn't be so characteristically short-sighted and be unable to see past, well, how "short" Wilson is. Specifically I was hoping they'd at least take him as far down as the early 3rd. But Buffalo predictably foolishly and unnecessarily traded up one spot for a projected fringe draft pick, WR T.J. Graham, and Wilson slipped six more spots where Seattle unbelievably smartly snatched him up.

    But screw the Bills- just because they can't make smart and prescient moves, too, doesn't move that I still can't root for Wilson... from afar. That doesn't make me a Seahawks' fan, I admit, but I still love to see such an incredible person and player succeed- and I really believe he's on the verge of authentic stardom.

    So anyway... that's my story (sorry it turned into a novel). But I also have a pretty deep and comprehensive knowledge of the NFL (I iike to think so, anyway, haha), and I just wanted Seahawks' fans to know that how effective and stout against the run Michael Bennett really is. You're really getting yourselves a very versatile and well-rounded player- and I think it'd be somewhat of a shame if he didn't get a chance to show it and was strictly made an interior pass-rusher on passing downs.
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  • Nice post. I have a feeling we are going to be very flexible with the Dline this year as long as we resign Branch and/or draft a future 3T early in the draft. When you look at the potential line ups I could see something like this:

    Run downs when playing a power team:
    LDE-Red
    1T-Mebane
    3T-Branch or whoever we draft/sign
    LEO-Avril or Clemons or Irvin

    Pass downs against a power team:
    LDE-Avril or Clemons or Irvin
    1T-Mebane
    3T-Bennett
    LEO-Avril or Clemons or Irvin

    Run downs against a more wide open passing team(Green Bay, NE, NO type teams)
    LDE-Bennett
    1T-Mebane
    3T-Branch or whoever we sign/draft
    LEO-Avril or Clemons or Irvin

    Pass downs against a more wide open passing team
    LDE-Avril or Clemons or Irvin
    1T-Mebane
    3T-Bennett
    LEO-Avril or Clemons or Irvin

    Point being, no matter what type of team we are playing if we swap out one guy from our base defensive line we can go from a tough run defense to a stellar pass defense that can get pressure on the QB. It would also be interesting if in some 3rd and long time situations they went with a lineup like:

    LDE-Avril
    1T-MEbane
    3T-Bennett
    LEO-Clemons
    LB-Irvin
    LB-Bwags
    LB-KJ

    In that case you could blitz Irvin and you have 4 above average pass rushers rushing the passer plus Mebane. Maybe in that lineup you would pull Kam and insert the nickel CB so you have 4 DB's who can cover the pass catchers tightly. There is no way that rushing those 5 would not get pressure on the QB quickly.
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  • I wouldn't take any sites opinion as worth as much as table salt with Pete and his crew.

    They seem to do what they do and ignore what everyone else says/does.

    That's the main reason he's badmouthed by the general coaching/media people. Cause he tells them nothing about what his thoughts are and does everything wrong according to them.

    :roll:
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  • AWESOM-O wrote:Yeah, like DaveyP said, AWESOM-O is actually from South Park, specifically a hilarious episode from season 8.

    And here I was thinking that AWESOM-O was definitely a Hawks fan... because I viewed the name as a tribute to the Hawks offense, especially since we traded for Percy Harvin.
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  • Michael Bennett... One of the guys I wasn't happy to see put on our practice squad because I knew he was going to be snatched up off our practice squad when Rusky and Holmy put him on the PS. Bennett's an every down DE in the 4-3 and I do not expect him to be used as, primarily, a rotation guy. He will, likely, start at DE. He's better against the run than Avril in my opinion. If anything... Avril is more of a pass rushing specialist than Bennett is.

    These are the basic terms for how I think we'll use the personnel we have right now.

    1st downs, 2nd and 5-10
    RDE - Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril
    RDT - Alan Branch or Brandon Mebane
    LDT - Brandon Mebane, Jaye Howard, Scruggs or acquisition
    LDE - Red Bryant or Michael Bennett

    2nd or 3rd and less than 5 (Short yardage situations)
    RDE - Michael Bennett
    RDT - Alan Branch
    LDT - Brandon Mebane
    LDE - Red Bryant

    2nd or 3rd and long (Passing situations)
    RDE - Cliff Avril or Bruce Irvin
    RDT - Brandon Mebane or Alan Branch
    LDT - Red Bryant or Jaye Howard (Don't count out Scruggs)
    LDE - Michael Bennett or Bruce Irvin

    I see us reverting Irvin back to his initial role as a hybrid edge rusher that'll be brought in on passing situations to spell Avril or Bennett at DE or compliment them as an additional pass rushing OLB on the outside. I think PC and JS are trying to minimize the usage of Irvin until he develops better technique and leverage to hold at the point of attack along with better backfield recognition. Irvin has a ton of upside, but his shortcomings were exposed when he had to step in for Clemons as an every down DE last year.
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  • I think Bryant and Bennett will most likely be comPETEing for the starting LDE position. Should Big Mike prove to be a better fit than Bigger Red; Bryant may have to prove his versatility by moving inside or restructure his contract more in line to a back-up’s roll.

    At the very least it will make for an interesting preseason…
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  • Lynch Mob wrote:I don't think Bennett is a one year wonder becuase if he performs against the run as well as he has the last few years + pass rush ability then i could see him getting an extension and replacing big Red who i really like but is getting paid more than he is producing on the field. Bennett should be able to fill the jason jones role also but if he shines when he is on the field Pete won't sit him for long.


    This. If he's as good against the run at DE at well as profootballfocus says he is; then I don't see how he doesn't replace Red due to his ability to also bring a little pass rush from that side during base formation. He also could probably chase down a scrambling QB better than Red also.

    I love Red just as much as anyone, but he's getting paid way too much for his contribution to the DL if last year was any indication. Until we find a clear starting 3Tech I see Bennett playing DT with Red staying at 5Tech. However, once we find our DT I don't see how Bennett doesn't end up challenging Red for his starting spot at 5Tech.

    Camp is going to be really interesting this season.
    Last edited by Veilside on Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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  • The Radish wrote:I wouldn't take any sites opinion as worth as much as table salt with Pete and his crew.

    They seem to do what they do and ignore what everyone else says/does.

    That's the main reason he's badmouthed by the general coaching/media people. Cause he tells them nothing about what his thoughts are and does everything wrong according to them.

    That's not quite true. Much of the time he tells them exactly what his thoughts are. It's not his fault of they don't believe him or think he's crazy.
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  • DJrmb wrote:AWESOM-O, Nice post.

    I fully expect Pete to take a look at Bennett as the LDE or Elephant (Competition right?). Bennett offers much more than simply a 3rd down pass rusher. Actually some of the numbers from both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders suggest Bennett could be better than Red Bryant as a run stuffing Elephant. Plus he could give you some pass rush there without having to substitute all the time (which becomes important when playing a good offense that will go to the no huddle and keep you from subbing).

    However the LDE and RDT spots (ones on either side of Mebane) are pretty similar on 1st and 2nd down depending on which scheme they are using. So you could leave Red at LDE and play Bennett majority of the time at RDT in a similar role and do pretty much the same thing. Either way I think Bennett's role will be more than a "situational pass rusher".

    I think the opening day base D-line will look like this: Bryant - Mebane - Bennett - Avril

    And pass rush D-line (Before Clemons is back): Irvin - Mebane - Bennett - Avril


    The elephant and the Leo are the same thing. Earlier versions of our scheme used the name elephant. It refers to the hybrid nature of the position as a hybrid end and linebacker. EL or LE . Bryant isn't the elephant.
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  • I've been thinking maybe Bryant takes over the Branch role on running downs meaning Bennett is the starting 5-tech that slides over to 3 on passing downs with Irvin taking the end spot. I really like Bryant and if he is healthy I hope he can play like he did in 11' but Bennett has a chance to show he is a beast and get paid. Going to be fun seeing what Quinn comes up with.

    Either way, they have the option of moving all starting linemen around and if an injury happens they aren't screwed.
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  • Liz Mathews 710 ESPN ‏@Liz_Mathews
    Schneider said #Seahawks new DE @cliffavril fits at both Leo position and Sam LB.


    That was Schneider on John Clayton's radio show earlier today
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  • Bryant is solid as a run stuffing DE, but the reason he is playing that position is because he was not good playing DT. He got pushed around in the trenches and he's not exactly a pass rushing threat either so moving him back to the 3-Tech DT position just doesn't make sense.
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  • What is also great, someone is getting one on one assignments with this many dangerous pass rushers can't double them all.
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  • GCrow wrote:
    Liz Mathews 710 ESPN ‏@Liz_Mathews
    Schneider said #Seahawks new DE @cliffavril fits at both Leo position and Sam LB.


    That was Schneider on John Clayton's radio show earlier today


    Interesting. Sounds like they are going to play Avril as a pass rushing SAM when Clemons returns. That is one way to get all of them on the field at the same time.

    On obvious passing downs, I could see:

    RDE: Clemmons
    RDT: Scruggs/Howard ( LB: Wagner)
    LDT: Bennett/Howard (LB: Avril)
    LDE: Irvin
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  • Thanks for the responses to my query, guys, and also for the tacit welcoming. And needless to say... it's a real good problem to have, possessing so many talented players that you're not exactly sure how to logistically maximize each and every one of their talents. But I trust the Seahawks' staff to do what's best. Personally, I think that'll mean seeing much more of Bennett than just him playing the 3-tech on passing downs (most of you agree), but we'll see- they obviously know what they're doing.
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  • AWESOM-O wrote:I've been reading quite extensively on the board that most Seahawks' fans expect that Red Bryant's role won't change and that he's firmly entrenched at LDE as that massive and immovable run-stopping, lineman-occupying, 5-tech DE in Seattle's "elephant" scheme. And I've also been reading that Michael Bennett will play the Jason Jones' role, which implies that he won't start and he'll strictly play in passing downs- because I've also been reading that many Seahawks' fans expect Seattle to still do something significant at 3-tech DT alongside Brandon Mebane, either by re-signing Alan Branch or using a late-2nd on the position.

    Anyway, I only bring this up to mention what an extraordinary run-stopping DE Bennett actually is. Pro Football Focus, an analytical football website which dissects each and every player and play (and has really gained in popularity and reputability), has given out phenomenal grades to Bennett each of the last two years for his work against the run, actually suggesting that his play has been borderline elite in this regard. Even people who believe that Bennett is a "one-year wonder" because they exclusively look at sack totals fail to realize that in 2011, despite "just" 4 sacks from him that season, that he was absolutely dominant against the run.

    I know that Red Bryant's role is unique and that he really doesn't offer a lot of versatility along the defensive line (hence why most Seahawks' fans seem so convinced he's locked in at LDE). But I really think that Seattle would be wasting quite a bit of Bennett's talent if they restrict him purely to passing downs- he's really incredibly well-rounded.

    What do you think? Does Bennett have to pigeon-holed into purely passing the passer even when he offers so much else?


    Welcome! I have to agree with others in saying that for a first post, you certainly got in the End Zone with this one -- excellent observations.

    On Bennett, I wouldn't say that he is going to be pigeon-holed whatsoever. Far from it. In fact, I'd argue it's exactly the OPPOSITE. Part of the reason that I've advocated for signing Michael Bennett from the very beginning is that he is very much a Swiss Army Knife.

    When Bennett was here before back in 2009, Jim Mora and the rest of the Hawks coaching staff ended up moving him inside to Defensive Tackle in the Pre-Season --and he looked very good there. He showed a lot of real natural quickness and an ability to penetrate in to the backfield with regularity. Why that regime would choose to let him go is simply beyond me (well, I guess it was Ruskell after all).

    Anyway, Seahawk fans are naturally excited about the fact that Bennett racked up 9.0 Sacks in 2012 (and rightfully so. I am as well).

    But the thing that I'm really pumped up by is the fact that Bennett notched 10 Tackles for Loss last year. Tackles for Loss is a stat that I'm personally high on, as it illustrates just how often a defensive player is getting in to the opposing backfield ... and bringing down opposing RB's/QB's/etc. before they can get going. For a lineman, it's a real mark in showing how effective they can be against the run. JJ Watt had 23 TFL ... and Von Miller had 14 TFL for example. Watt and Miller were a large part of the reason why their teams were among the league leaders in Rush Defense last year. Likewise, Bennett was a large reason why the Buccaneers finished #1 in fewest rushing yards allowed.

    And those 10 TFL weren't simply an aberration. Bennett also notched 9 TFL in 2011 as well. So over the past 2 years, Michael Bennett has proven to be one of the most disruptive and one of the best in the league at bringing down opposing runners in the backfield for loss. He is not only a sack artist -- he is one of the NFL's best defensive lineman against the run.

    For the Seahawks especially, THAT is something that they desperately need. I don't know how many of you know this or not ... but believe it or not the entire Seattle Seahawks defense recorded a grand total of 36 Tackles for Loss. Folks -- that was the LOWEST total in the NFL. Yep. Your Seattle Seahawks were DEAD LAST in the NFL in Tackles for Loss ... and to me that inability to get in to the opposition's backfield showed up week after week last season.

    So, no -- Bennett isn't simply someone who is going to be "pigeon-holed" whatsoever.

    In Passing Situations, we could possibly see:

    LDE Michael Bennett
    LEO Bruce Irvin
    WILL Cliff Avril (ala Aldon Smith as a blitzing SAM)
    [How's that for a Bermuda Triangle of death!]

    In Run Situations, we could possibly see:

    LDE Red Bryant
    LDT Michael Bennett (in that Jason Jones role)
    RDT Brandon Mebane


    So Michael Bennett is not only a lethal weapon rushing the passer ... he is also a terror to opposing running backs and a whale of an asset in the run defense. For $5 Million, the Seahawks just got themselves one heck of a Blue Light Special.
    Last edited by Hawkscanner on Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Awesome stuff here.

    I think part of Red's injury problems have been due to wear and tear. He's played so many snaps.

    My guess is that par of Bennett's value is to spell Red, part of it is to play a typical DE in more typical 4-3 fronts, and to get some snaps inside on obvious passing downs.

    There's plenty of snaps for him, and it should benefit everyone on the line.
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  • GCrow wrote:
    Liz Mathews 710 ESPN ‏@Liz_Mathews
    Schneider said #Seahawks new DE @cliffavril fits at both Leo position and Sam LB.


    That was Schneider on John Clayton's radio show earlier today


    Ohhhh ... I LOVE being on the same wavelength as the GM. Just imagine the possibilities IF Chris Clemons comes back and is even close to his old self.

    Just envision a passing situation of ...

    LDE -- Bruce Irvin
    LDT -- Michael Bennett
    LEO -- Chris Clemons
    SAM -- Cliff Avril

    That's scarier than the most terrifying Wes Craven film he's ever made. :twisted:
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