Michael Bennett out Sunday, might need knee surgery

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

He’s dealing with cartilage damage in his knee and could potentially be out longer than just this week. Head coach Pete Carroll told reporters Bennett might need surgery to repair the damage.

One of the most versatile defensive linemen in the NFL, Bennett will be missed for as long as he is out of commission. So far in 2016, he’s tallied 24 tackles and three sacks in six games.

This injury likely will put the onus on second-year pass rusher Frank Clark to play more in Bennett’s stead.

Seattle has a stiff test on Sunday as well that should immediately put pressure on Clark and Malliciah Goodman to produce. They’ll be in New Orleans playing against the New Orleans Saints, who average nearly 422 yards per game — 339 of which comes through the air.

Even more dangerous at home, Drew Brees has averaged 421 passing yards in the three games contested at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Seattle’s secondary is top flight, to be sure. But the Saints can put up big numbers against any secondary if pressure isn’t being applied. It’s in this that the Seahawks might miss Bennett the most, at least for one week.

If he’s out longer than that, it’s going to be very interesting to see how well the defensive front holds up without his steadying presence as the rudder for that unit.