Press Pass: Michael Bennett

In this edition of "Press Pass," new running back Michael Bennett talks about his first game as a Buc, how close he came to scoring on Sunday and why he thinks Tampa Bay could be a long-term destination for him.

So how was your first game with the Bucs?

Well, I got a chance to see how intense coach (Jon) Gruden is on the field. I got a chance to really see Earnest (Graham) yesterday. He did a tremendous job. He's a guy that I know plays hard and plays well. It was a good chance to see how it works.

Is it just a matter of you getting the reps and the playbook down before you play more?

I think so. For the most part, we got into a two-minute mode and I'm not comfortable with that yet. Again, I think you look at the game and how it unfolded, it was one of those deals where the blocked kick really took some of the momentum away from us. Again, our offense showed we can move the football up and down the field at will. But we just couldn't put it in at key times. It's unfortunate that we lost, but we have two home games in a row and hopefully we can come back and win those.

How comfortable are you at kickoff returns? You might be pressed into duty with Mark Jones out now.

I have never done it before. So, again, if they want me back there I'd be more than happy to do it. But I've never done it before so it's going to be a big adjustment.

How big was the package of plays they had in for you on Sunday?

I'm not sure. It was probably 10 to 15 plays. But when you have to play from behind, you have to play to win, so it was definitely one of those things where you hate to be behind. We got into two-minute mode and I'm not comfortable with that yet. Earnest got out there and did a tremendous job.

What does a run (18 yards) like yesterday do to show your teammates and the rest of the league what you're capable of doing?

They're going to have to plan for all of us because we bring different things to the game. Once I get out there and get comfortable enough to rotate with Earnest, it can be a great change of pace. That's going to be one of the great things we'll have as a running back tandem.

What would you say you comfort level is right now as opposed to where it needs to be?

This is like telling me to go out and put a gourmet dish together. I'm still trying to learn the recipe. I look at it as a week-to-week process. Right now I'm, if you go from one to five, I'm at the two and a half stage right now. I'm getting there, I'm learning the verbage and getting adjusted to listening to different calls and different things that Jeff (Garcia) calls at the huddle.

So the Chinese is getting a little better?

(Laughter) It's getting a little better. I'm actually going to, maybe, go out and get some Chinese food tonight. Maybe that will help the process.

How big did your eyes get when that end zone started closing in (on your 18-yard run to the Lions 1 in the fourth quarter)?

It got huge. I thought I was going to split them (the defenders). That's why I didn't make a move. They made a great play. It's unfortunate because of what happened after that (a fumble). I really thought about that last night. What if I had made a move or ran a little harder, maybe I could have split those guys. It was a great effort by our team but we just fell short.

How much are you still learning in terms of the playbook? Are you working at it every day?

You know, today I might take a day and a break and find a place to live. It's been football, football, football, for the last six days for me. I need a little downtime to find a place to live and then hit it again tomorrow (Tuesday).

Is Tampa Bay a place that you could see yourself beyond this year?

Yeah, I mean I don't have to wear jeans. I can wear shorts all the time. This is definitely a first-class organization, by far the best in terms of facilities and everything that comes along with it, that I've ever been a part of. So this is a player's dream to have all this stuff and have a great team and live in a great place.

Do you know everyone that you need to know in the organization, because Jon (Gruden) wasn't sure if you knew everyone's name yet?

It's one of those deals where you're the new guy in school and you're sitting back and the first person that introduces themselves to you, they become your best friend. It's good that I knew Patrick Chukwurah, Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan because I played with those guys before. So I already knew a few guys. Now my thing is getting comfortable with everyone else, because as you guys may have noticed, I have a winning personality and one of the things I like to do is play practical jokes, so once I know who I can play jokes on, we'll have a lot of fun.

And you're a big cartoon guy?

Actually, I'm a big movie guy. I've seen Transformers like eight times. I've got it sitting right here in my locker. I'm going to watch it again today. I'm just a big kid at heart.


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