Carroll says Bennett is better than expected

RENTON, Wash. – When an NFL team wins 45-17, as the Seattle Seahawks did Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars, obviously a lot of guys stood out and did some impressive things.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed out a few of them Monday, but one man had Carroll raving about his exceptional play -- defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

“He’s more than we thought he was,” Carroll said of Bennett. “He is a relentless football player. He’s going to get everything out of every play. The intensity he brings, we’ve been surprised by that. That’s a great asset.

“We’re really excited about it. For years we’re been looking for an inside presence in the pass rush, and he is the best shot we have. He has really jumped out.”

Bennett (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) had 1.5 sacks Sunday, four quarterbacks pressures and one other tackle for a loss. He has 2.5 sacks in the first three games, seven tackles and six quarterback pressures.

Bennett, 27, was signed to a one-year, $4.8 million deal in the offseason as a free agent after spending his first four NFL seasons in Tampa Bay. Defensive end Cliff Avril was Seattle’s big-name offseason signing on defense, at $6.5 million, but Bennett is the clear standout so far.

“I thought we were getting a good, active pass-rusher,’’ Carroll said of Bennett. “He had shown versatility to play inside and outside, but I didn’t appreciate how constant he is effort-wise. I didn’t have that sense about him watching him on film.

“With the way he comes off the football and attacks, he’s a very effective player. He has more variety to his game, and he comes at it with a tenacity to the motor he has.”

Carroll believes Bennett has unique skills as a defensive linemen.

“He’s not overly big at 280, but he definitely has the quickness,” Carroll said. “He’s an example of the fact that we’re looking for guys with different qualities. We don’t want cookie-cutter guys. He has something really unique about him. He’s not the fastest guy, but it’s that anticipation that he has that makes him special.

“What he gives up in some areas he makes up in other ways. That’s why you see him moving around and playing a lot of different spots. It’s us taking advantage of what he’s good at.”

Bennett said his skills come from his fearless approach.

“I think a lot of guys are scared to get their nose dirty,” Bennett said last month in a Grantland story. “I’m not afraid of contact. I don’t like being a situational player. I like being in every play because that’s how you make an impact on the game.”

Carroll sees Bennett as a bit of a gambler on some plays, but the coach accepts it for what Bennett brings to the defense.

“He’s a risk-taker on some of his rushes,” Carroll said. “But with good guys around him it, allows him to take some chances. He’ll make some mistakes at times, but he’ll also make some huge plays. He has demonstrated that he can do a lot of stuff.”

Bennett is a Texas A&M product and a native of the Houston suburb of Alief -- making the Seahawks' visit Sunday to the Houston Texans a homecoming for him.

  • The Seahawks signed offensive tackle Caylin Hauptmann from the Cleveland Browns practice squad, the team announced Monday.

Hauptmann (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) signed with the Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent April 27. He started all 37 games at left tackle for Florida International during his college career.

Hauptmann takes Russell Okung’s spot on the 53-man roster. Okung was placed on injured reserve-designated for return last week because of a torn ligament in a big toe.

  • Carroll said Monday that he doesn’t think injuries to defensive lineman Red Bryant and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse will keep them out long. Bryant left Sunday’s game with back spasms and Kearse suffered a sprained ankle.

“Red’s a little sore, but those back spasms usually go away in three or four days,” Carroll said. “And Jermaine was walking around [Monday] without his [protective] boot, showing us he should be ready to go soon.’’

Carroll also said starting offensive tackle Breno Giacomini has a sore knee, which is why he came out of the game Sunday, but Carroll thinks Giacomini will be fine.