TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett #71 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after a tackle against the Houston Texans November 13, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Pro Football Focus is going through its "Secret Superstars" and one name on that list should be familiar to Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans: defensive end Michael Bennett. PFF listed the fourth-year defender as an excellent run defender, but they also note that he's an improving pass rusher who was not spectacular, but still pretty good last season. Michael Bennett can be one of the keys to this defense's performance, especially so with Da'Quan Bowers' Achilles injury likely keeping him out for most if not all of the 2012 season.
PFF's listing of Bennett as an excellent run defender also belies a problem the Bucs still face: one run defender isn't good enough if the rest of your team is terrible at stopping the run. When the Bucs had both Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett in the lineup they were outstanding at playing the run. But having only one of those players on the field isn't good enough when everyone else fails: the opposing offense can simply run away from the quality run defenders.
The Bucs need more than just Michael Bennett to improve their defense, but if he can continue to improve on his 2011 play they have at least one of the pieces to the puzzle in place.