Michael Bennett, Star In The Making

October 30th, 2012

Nothing like playing your best football during a contract year, and that is exactly what Bucs left defensive end Michael Bennett is doing.

Bennett, whose contract is up after this season, has been a wildman for the Bucs, both when he goes inside on occasion or when he stays outside. Even the numbers crunchers at ProFootballFocus.com agree. They broke down the tape of the Bucs win over Minnesota last week.

After a fast start to the season Gerald McCoy came up with a quiet performance on Thursday night, so the job of the leading the Bucs’ defensive line was left to Michael Bennett. After a couple of subpar performances out of the bye week Bennett rebounded with a strong all-round game in Minnesota. He made his presence known as a pass rusher (one sack, one hit and three hurries), was solid as ever in run defense, and forced one of the fumbles that helped turn the game in Tampa Bay’s favor. There Bennett exploited some poor ball security from Viking wide receiver Jerome Simpson in pursuit to a slant route to create the turnover which set up the Buccaneers’ drive to a 13 point lead. The brother of Martellus made his presence known from the first snap of the game, reading a play action rollout from Christian Ponder to force a throw away, and kept chipping in all night long. His night culminated in a sack of Ponder in garbage time as he comfortably got the outside of Phil Loadholt to register his first sack since the bye week. Just another workman like performance from one of the more underrated defenders in the league.

The thing that impresses Joe about Bennett is he is doing this with no help from the other side since Adrian Clayborn went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Still, Bennett is able to wreak havoc. This is a good thing. Now if Bowers can stay healthy and improve, an already solid Bucs front line will only get better.

14 Responses to “Michael Bennett, Star In The Making”

  1. Meh Says:

    Bennett has been playing well for a couple years now. We’d better pay the man.

  2. TB_Rob12 Says:

    I wouldn’t sat he is exactly wreaking havoc Joe, but still pitting together a strong performance this season. I would like to see him back next year.

  3. Snook Says:

    Isn’t he a free agent at the end of the season? Can we afford to sign him? Does he get the franchise tag? Can we even afford that?

  4. ClayBURN94 Says:

    @Tbrob Not wreaking havoc? Are you kidding me? Teams are probably game planning around how to contain Bennett. Hes come up with big plays almost every game and hes been one of the best, most consistent players on defense. Bucs BETTER bring him back next year, what ever it takes.

  5. Santos Says:

    bring back Bennett, especially if we plan on duplicating the giants recipe, a strong line is def needed, we are getting great play from our linebackers now, we need a corner, and i believe ahmad black is progressing and can be our future safety whenever Ronde decides to hang em up…..i see bright things from this bucs squad!!!!

  6. buxter Says:

    Bennett has earned a nice contract.

    The question is can the Bucs afford him? We are already paying Bowers and Clayborn starters money.

    That said, spend the money Dom.

  7. Brandon Says:

    Please re-sign him now while we can still afford it. The way I see it, we have one guaranteed good pass rusher (Bennett is on pace for 11 sacks despite little help), two huge question marks (Bowers and Clayborn), and another question mark (McCoy has been invisible rushing the passer since Clayborn went down.

    Bennett MUST be re-signed and that should be our in-season/off-season priority. Good DEs don’t grow on trees. They can’t always be found in round 1, sometimes you gotta get lucky, plant a seed and hope that 4 years later that seed turns into a beast. Now we need to pay the beast.

  8. skp Says:

    dominik and the glazers have asserted for years that the reason for the low payroll is because the smart money in the NFL goes towards retaining your own players. they did it with davin joseph and donald penn, time to do it again with bennet. it will be an interesting timeshare for the bucs once clayborn and bowers are both available to play. this isn’t a bad thing, the giants won a couple superbowls with a “surplus” of starting caliber d-linemen. other teams hate dealing with it, so bucs fans should love it

  9. McBuc Says:

    Brandon, you are basing your GMC claim off of one game? The guys has one bad game, and now he is a question mark? WOW, I do not even know what to say.

  10. CanadianBucsFan Says:

    Bennett and a healthy Bowers.. love it.

  11. Snook Says:

    Obviously I love it everytime he makes a great play but in the back of my head, I’m thinking “his price just went up.”

  12. Celly Says:

    buxter Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Bennett has earned a nice contract.

    The question is can the Bucs afford him? We are already paying Bowers and Clayborn starters money.

    That said, spend the money Dom.

    Bowers Contract: 7/28/2011: Signed a four-year, $3.85 million contract. The deal included a $1.304 million signing bonus. 2012: $550,256, 2013: $725,512, 2014: $900,768,

    Clayborn contract: 7/27/2011: Signed a four-year, $8.210 million contract. The deal is fully guaranteed, including a $4,471,032 signing bonus. 2012: $748,189, 2013: $1,121,378, 2014: $1,494,567

    and remember, under the new CBA, rookie deals cannot be renegotiated until i believe year 3.

    PLENTY of money in the cap to resign Bennett AND Freeman. Then, bring back Barber for another year and (gasp) resign Talib (in my opinion….we’re going to need him)

    Rotoworld is your friend. 🙂

  13. BMore Says:

    GMC hasn’t gone anywhere. Joe should be posting how PFF just named him to their mid-season All-Pro team.

  14. Have A Nice Day Says:

    @BMore – Indeed. GMC has been solid all year.

    “….the underrated McCoy whose return to health has coincided with a massive improvement in the Buccaneers’ defense.:

    The #2 graded DT…. even without the boost of a 1.5 coverage grade he is the #3 ranked D.

    McCoy has been beasting all year. If you missed it, you must not have been watching.