When the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2013, their collection of depth along the defensive line was just as important as the star-studded Legion of Boom secondary.
Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril combined to make just five starts during the regular season as Chris Clemons and Red Bryant were the starting defensive ends throughout the year. That depth allowed Seattle to utilize Bennett on just 57 percent of the team’s defensive snaps during the season as the Seahawks kept their linemen fresh with a healthy rotation. Even at just 57 percent, Bennett played more snaps than any other Seattle defensive lineman in 2013.
Bennett’s new team – the Philadelphia Eagles – could provide a similar situation for Bennett to succeed in. With Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan, Derek Barnett and Chris Long all expected back next season, the Eagles should be able to keep their defensive line fresh and effective by rotating frequently. Bennett’s versatility to play both on the edge and as an interior pass rusher should allow him to supplement at multiple spots.
Per Pro-Football-Reference, Bennett has played on over 80 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps, on average, over the last four seasons in games he’s appeared in. Last year, Bennett was on the field for 931 of Seattle’s 1,098 defensive snaps, which accounts for 84.8 percent of the plays for the season. Bennett continued to play a high volume of snaps despite a plantar fascia injury that slowed him late in the season.
Even with the high usage and injury issues over the last few seasons, Bennett managed to rack up 39 sacks in five years with Seattle and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. With Bennett set to turn 33 in November, limiting his snaps could be the best chance for the Eagles to get a maximum return on their investment.