X's and O's - How Eagles Should Utilize Michael Bennett - NBC 10 Philadelphia

X's and O's - How Eagles Should Utilize Michael Bennett

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    X's and O's - How Eagles Should Utilize Michael Bennett
    CSNPhilly.com
    X's and O's - How Eagles should utilize Michael Bennett

    Jim Schwartz gets another cog in an already impressive defensive front four in Michael Bennett, who fits the scheme Schwartz wants to run. 

    Bennett can play both defensive end and tackle at a Pro Bowl-level. Bennett's pass rush, I would say, mainly consists of moves that come from his power. The initial step is always toward the QB, which forces the O-lineman to punch or grab him. As an OL myself, I wanted to be the first to initiate contact because I knew the snap count and the direction I wanted the defender to go. Bennett is so explosive and physical with his first step that he forces the issue. It's constant pressure on the O-line, always working toward the ball. 

    Bennett also has very good hands. Good pass rushers never allow an O-lineman to get his hands on them. (Hand-to-hand combat in the trenches is where the game is won on passing downs.) Bennett is pretty good at using Mr. Miyagi's wax-on, wax-off technique as he knocks an O-lineman's hands off of him on his way to the QB.

    The Eagles will use Bennett across the defensive line at every position but probably the most at DT. With the probable departure of Beau Allen to free agency, depth would have been a problem. Not anymore.

    There will be serious competition at the starting DT opposite of Fletcher Cox. Yes, Tim Jernigan earned his extension last year, but Bennett will push to be a starter. Schwartz rewards results with more playing time and Bennett is good enough to compete as a starter in the middle at DT.

    From an X's and O's breakdown, Bennett can be a major factor in the middle on pass-rush downs. On third down, the Eagles like to use Nascar personnel - three defensive ends and Cox. It's hard to imagine being an offensive coordinator game-planning which D-lineman to double-team and which to chip with a running back. Which way do you slide the protection? 

    Think about the Eagles D-line rotation OCs will have to prepare for. You'll have Brandon Graham-Cox-Jernigan-Derek Barnett or Graham-Cox-Bennett-Barnett or Chris Long-Bennett-Graham-Barnett. Prepare for a lot of QB-crushing hits from a top-notch defensive line that just got even more versatile.