Bucs' Bennett becomes even more critical cog on 'D'

Posted Sept. 28, 2012 @ 10:54 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Buccaneers DLE Michael Bennett is well on his way to a career season after recording three sacks in the first three games. Bennett, who also rushes from the inside as a tackle, had a career-high four sacks last season, when he started 10 games and shared time at left end with Da’Quan Bowers. It’s early, but Bennett, who turns 27 in November, is showing signs of really coming into his own in 2012.

The Bucs will be relying on him more than ever to remain consistent with Bowers (PUP list) working his way back from an Achilles tear — the team is hopeful he will be able to play this season — and DRE Adrian Clayborn, who led the team in sacks (7½) in 2011, out following a season-ending right knee injury he suffered in Week Three.

Given the injury situation up front, head coach Greg Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan might get more creative with their personnel in the coming weeks. The Bucs could consider lining up Bennett as a five-technique and also as an outside rush linebacker at times if the team starts to use more 3-4 sets, as our sources believe it will.