Michael Bennett: Thoughts on Seahawks’ D and LOB comparisons

Aug 10, 2023, 1:16 PM

Seattle Seahawks...

The Seattle Seahawks celebrate an interception by Quandre Diggs during a Jan. 8, 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have hopes of taking a big step forward on defense this season, as they have a group with a good mix of young talent, offseason additions and proven veterans.

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Any Seahawks defense will always be measured against the unit that led Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and one championship a decade ago, so that made the insight from a guest on Thursday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk particularly enlightening.

Michael Bennett, who was a versatile defensive lineman and three-time Pro Bowler when he played for the Hawks from 2013-17, has been at Seahawks training camp this week, both as an observer and someone who can lend a hand in helping the defense. Ahead of calling the Hawks’ preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings on King 5 TV, Bennett shared his impressions of the team with Brock and Salk.

“The team is very energetic. They have a lot of passion. They have a great mixture,” Bennett said. “To make any great dish, you need a lot of ingredients. I think they have those ingredients of, like, veteran, youth, speed, wisdom, and then also a lot of people who’ve had experience playing in some big games – not the big game, but some big games, you know. And so overall, I think it’s pretty good.”

One person who stands out to Bennett is a former teammate of his: linebacker Bobby Wagner, a six-time All-Pro who is set for his 11th season in a Seahawks uniform after a brief one-year stint with the Los Angeles Rams.

“It’s great to see Bobby back,” Bennett said. “I think the energy that Bobby has and the ability for him to come in and impact in the leadership role, outside of his great talent to be one of the best linebackers this generation, his ability to put people in the right positions, knowing the defense, knowing the play calls… I think that’s the biggest addition this offseason that they had.”

There’s another offseason addition that Bennett highlighted: Julian Love, who joins a corps of safeties led by three-time Pro Bowler Quandre Diggs.

“I think you look at the secondary, Julian Love, watching him out there – you already know what Quandre is going to do, but seeing how Love is out there, being able to fit in and also bring in his own passion and his power into the team has been special to see.”

Does this defense stack up with the LOB?

The secondary that played behind Bennett’s defensive line during his time with the Seahawks, known as the Legion of Boom, is perhaps one of the greatest groups to ever play the position. Seattle is building impressive depth with their defensive backs now, too. Riq Woolen, a Pro Bowler as a rookie, leads a cornerback group that also includes 2023 first-round pick Devon Witherspoon, while the aforementioned safeties expect to get three-time Pro Bowler Jamal Adams back from injury at some point in 2023.

Can this secondary compare to the LOB? Bennett was reticent to say yes, but he admitted there is one thing this group has that stands out.

“I can’t really compare because I haven’t seen it, but they do have great depth. I think the thing that they do have is a lot of speed,” he said. “They might be faster than (the secondary) when I played, I think. As far as, like, just all-around speed, I think this this secondary is a lot faster.”

There’s a key reason why Bennett said a comparison is unfair, though, which is that it’s basically impossible to find another Kam Chancellor, who was a four-time Pro Bowl strong safety with Seattle from 2010-17.

“There’s no Kam Chancellor. That changes everything,” Bennett said. “Without a Kam Chancellor, I can’t compare y’all. Y’all would need another superhuman with superhuman strength and superhuman speed to be out there, so I can’t compare. … He allowed our defense to be different, right? Because we were able to play nickel defense. He was a linebacker playing safety, and he was so smart. I feel like Kam is one of those people who, it will probably take a little while because he ended up getting injured, but I feel like Kam is a Hall of Fame player to me. He made a big impact on a great defense and he changed the game in a real way.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with Michael Bennett in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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