He’s got a team-high eight sacks, which is only two off his career high of 10 set in 2015 with the Seahawks, and is the third-most in Eagles history by a player 33 and older — behind William Fuller in 1995 (13 sacks at 33 years old) and 1996 (13 sacks at 34).
Over the last nine games, his 7.0 sacks are sixth-most among all NFL defensive ends.
He’s been a beast lately, and after practice on Thursday Bennett spoke at length about the challenges he’s faced joining the Eagles after five seasons — and three Pro Bowls — playing for the Legion of Boom in Seattle.
Below is Part 2 of our conversation with Michael Bennett. You can read Part 1 here.
Q: "You were seen on the sideline a few times shouting at defensive line coach Chris Wilson. Was that just frustration?"
A: “It was frustration, and we’re competitors. I’m the ultimate competitor when it comes to playing this sport of football. I’m just a competitor and I want to be on the field. I think there’s situations I can help the team out when it comes to rushing and game-time situations that I think I should be in there helping and I think overall when it comes to rushing the passer, I think I’m still one of the top rushers in the NFL when it comes to hits, pressures and all that kind of stuff. No offense to anybody else, but I feel like I should be out there in times like that.”
Q: "What did you learn about yourself this year?"
A: “I learned a lot about myself. People look up to me a lot for inspiration, a lot of things that I do, and I always talk about adversity, and you can talk to people when they’re going through adversity and when they’re going through certain situations, and then it becomes your turn and you have to swallow your own pills. The things you’re telling people things to do. And for me, I had to be able to stand up and say, ‘This is a little bit different for me, but I need to be able to adjust,’ and I think any great player in the NFL has to be able to adjust to their situation, and for me, being able to adjust to the way we play the game, being able to adjust to the way Doug (Pederson) is different from Pete (Carroll), adjusting to the way Jim (Schwartz) is different from Kris (Richard, former defensive coordinator) and all these different people. Getting used to Fletch instead of (Seahawks defensive ends) Cliff Avril and Frank Clark. Getting used to all these different pieces, and I think I’ve done a great job of getting through that.”
Q: "Were you worried things would never get better?"
A: “I think I was definitely worried about that because it was new. I haven’t had that kind of adversity for a while. I’ve been established in the league for a long period of time and I never had to really fight for position or time and all of a sudden you out there and it’s like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’
Q: "You just turned 33 and this is your 10th NFL season. Are you ready to go into broadcasting full-time?"
A: “Commentating is fun but I don’t know if I’m ready to move on just yet. I feel like I’ve still got all-star years in me left. I think I proved that this year. I think a player is really judged not by the beginning of his career, the first five or six years, I think he’s judged on the end. I think the great players, in their 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th year, they’re still dominant. You look at (Julius) Peppers, you look at (Dwight) Freeney, you look at (Drew) Brees, they’re in their 17th, 18th year, and they’re still playing (at a high level), and that’s how you really tell somebody’s career.”
Q: "You're only two shy of your career high in sacks at 33 years old. Is that surprising?"
A: “I feel like this is one of the best defensive lines I’ve played with in the NFL, so I’m not surprised. I’m never surprised by anything I do.”
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