New Eagles DE Michael Bennett: 'It's going to be fun' chasing down NFC East QBs

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Bennett wasted no time taking aim at the NFC East quarterbacks he'll soon be chasing.

"I know Eli Manning is probably watching this and thinking ... yes, I'm coming. I know Dak [Prescott] is watching this like, 'Yeah, he's coming.' Yeah, I am," Bennett said at his introductory news conference Monday as a member of the Eagles. "And Alex Smith, he knows he can't run from me. I told him in the Pro Bowl.

"It's definitely going to be a great season, and it's going to be fun to be out here and be able to chase quarterbacks."

Bennett, 32, was recently acquired from the Seahawks along with a seventh-round pick for a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson. He joins a deep defensive line group in Philadelphia that includes defensive ends Brandon Graham, Chris Long and Derek Barnett, as well as tackles Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Haloti Ngata.

"I think it can be one of the greatest. I think we can have one of the greatest defensive lines to ever play the game if we approach the game like every single way, just go out there and keep doing what they're doing and just finding a way to just add and keep showing how many great players [we have]. And I think a great defensive line is about the rotation. It's kind of like Golden State, you want to be able to have those guys that can come in and shoot and shoot and score every time," Bennett said.

Given the number of players vying for snaps, as well as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's preference to rotate his linemen, Bennett's playing time is likely to dip -- he played 931 snaps for Seattle last year en route to an 8-sack campaign, while no member of the Eagles' line played more than 663 snaps last year.

But when he does get on the field, he'll be able to hunt in Schwartz's attack scheme.

"I think in Seattle, it's a little bit more responsibility because we played a little bit different defense -- still played with great defensive linemen; Cliff Avril, one of the best players to ever play the game, I had so many great players around me who were some of the best players to ever play -- and so here, this defense is just another opportunity to line up on tight ends. And honestly, I don't think there's a tight end in the NFL that can block me," he said before launching into his bit about the quarterbacks in the division.

"So it's definitely going to be a great season, it's going to be fun to be out here and be able to chase quarterbacks [not just on] third down, it's going to be on second down and first down. It's just going to be fun."

Bennett, who found out about the trade while on vacation in Japan, started the news conference by thanking the Seahawks, the franchise he split with after five successful seasons that included two trips to the Super Bowl and one Lombardi trophy.

Bennett pushed back at the notion that he was moved because of his role on the social activism front, believing it was more about Seattle's desire to go younger and get value out of some of the aging veteran players while it still could. He declined to answer whether he would continue his protests during the national anthem while in Philadelphia, but touted the Eagles organization for its participation in off-field issues while expressing a desire to make an impact in the community.

"It's not just about winning championships on the field, it's about being a champion off the field and being able to work in the community with men and young women all across this city and be able to give back," he said.

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