In back-to-back interviews, Tom Cable and Michael Bennett captured the essence of the NFL.
“I don’t think your team’s any good unless you’re good on the line of scrimmage,” said Cable, the offensive line coach. “And there’s a toughness and mentality that comes with that. Was that part of going out and getting this group together? Absolutely.”
Cable continued with his soliloquy on the testosterone-fueled, bare-knuckled line play to the point that it sounded like a pregame pep talk. He had been asked about the scuffles that had taken place involving offensive and defensive linemen all camp.
“I mean, let’s face it, it’s like a bar fight every play in this league, and if they can’t handle that, if they cower to that, if they give in to that, they can’t play on this team and we don’t want them.”
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Told of Cable’s theory, Bennett, the occasionally bellicose defensive end, said he’d never been in a bar fight. “I’ve never been in a bar fight, not one that I’d say that I’ve been in,” Bennett said. “It’s just like two trucks running into each other, at the end of the day, who has more horse power? I tend to have more horsepower, and so does Cliff (Avril). It’s all about playing with passion and that’s something we do a great job of.”
Bennett has been involved in several of the skirmishes, most of the time against aggressive rookie guard Germain Ifedi. Bennett said it’s a part of teaching the young guys how the game is played.
“Rookies ... you got to make ‘em grow, you gotta treat them good and let them be rookies and be a good teammate to them,” Bennett said. “I want everybody to be the best they can be. A lot of those guys are going to be great players.”
But it’s a tough love they get from Bennett.
“Really, the game is played up front,” Bennett said. “The thing about corners and safeties and linebackers, you may hit somebody every other play or every five plays. As a defensive lineman, you hit somebody every play. We have the most physical position in the NFL so it’s a physical game, tempers get going, there’s a lot of passion to play up front.”
Bennett was tossed from practice on Wednesday after tangling with Ifedi. Bennett said coach Pete Carroll was just sending a message. “He just wanted to show the team that if he’d kick me out as one of the best players on the team, that he’d do it to anybody,” Bennett said. “That’s cool with me.”
The message for the rookies? “It’s about hunger for them; how much hunger can they get? When you come in the league now, it’s a lot different,” Bennett said. “They’re getting breast fed; when I came into the league, you had to go out and find your food yourself. You have to go out there and hunt every day, every play, every game. I play every game like it’s my last play That’s how I cam into the league, and that’s how I’m going to do until I retire. That’s how I want the rookies to approach the game.”