Coming into an Eagles locker room with established leaders Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long, Michael Bennett decided to play his role as the new guy trying to fit in, both on the field and in the locker room. With his play picking up over the last several weeks, Bennett has emerged as a vocal leader -- a role he also held during his time with the Seattle Seahawks.
"At first, you want to be reserved, but that's not me," Bennett told NBC Sports Philadelphia. "That's not who I am as a person. The person I am, I've always stood for what I believe in, regardless. This is not a moment not to do that, not to remind us of what it takes to rekindle a relationship. Sometimes, when you play sports, you assume the relationship is great every single day. You have to be able to work on those relationships, work on evolving with the team. That's where we're at now."
The Eagles have been in virtually every game, losing their five contests by an average of only 4.4 points.
Bennett has only started three games, but he's done his part keep the ship from sinking. Pro Football Focus gives him an 84.4 overall rating among edge defenders (at least 25 snaps). During last week's 27-20 loss to the Cowboys, Bennett accounted for a season-high two sacks, and all his 5.5 sacks have come in the last six games.
The better he's played, the more Bennett's felt like the player who was a key cog in the vaunted Legion of Boom defenses in Seattle that helped the team win a Super Bowl. Bennett's hoping his words will rekindle what got the Eagles to the top of the mountain last season.
"After you go to the Super Bowl, the essence of everything is 'win, win, win.' And sometimes, you start to lose a little bit when you lose," Bennett said. "And that's what you can't do. You have to still keep your swagger regardless of what's happening. Because the world doesn't want to see you win. The story is you losing. You have to be able to stand tall with your teammates."
Bennett joined his new team under inauspicious circumstances. He's still facing a felony assault charge for allegedly injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman who was working to control access to the field during Super Bowl LI in Houston. The case has been delayed multiple times with Bennett's next court appearance scheduled for Nov. 28.
Bennett says the more time he's spent in the locker room and the more vocal he's become, the more teammates have responded.
"I feel like it's just beginning," Bennett said. "I feel like a team is not judged on what they do in a comfort zone. They're really judged on adversity. How well can you face adversity? And there have been times where we haven't faced it very well, so it's time for us to face it."