#10 – Cliff Avril

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2013, click here.

At this point, I don’t know what’s the bigger loss:  Percy Harvin or Cliff Avril.  Probably should have considered that when I was making this list originally.  If you ask me, I say losing Avril is the bigger blow, and here’s why:

We have wide receivers.  Lots of ’em.  It’s like they grow on trees or something.  We don’t have pass-rushing defensive ends.  The guys we were counting on going into training camp were guys like Chris Clemons (coming off injury, possible PUP candidate), Bruce Irvin (suspended four games, moved to strong-side linebacker), Cliff Avril (currently injured and reinjured, with no end in sight), and to a lesser extend Michael Bennett (who the team was hoping to utilize more on passing downs from the defensive tackle spot).

Right now, we’ve still got Bennett, and a bunch of guys we picked up off waivers, free agent rookies, and holdovers from prior Seahawks teams who don’t appear to be up to snuff.  And, in turn, that problem with the pass rush that we had for much of last year – that we swore we were going to rectify going into 2013 – is back in a big way.

Cliff Avril might not be the best defensive end in the game, but he had a proven track record of success.  Like a poor man’s Chris Clemons.  You weren’t counting on him so much to replace Clemons, but to fill in during the first few weeks until Clemons could return.  I based the majority of my value of this signing on how he would potentially perform when we needed him the most.  Now that the season is fast approaching and he’s not available?  I can’t help but see this as a huge blow to what we were trying to do.

This really is the biggest disappointment in what has been a Sunshine & Lollipops pre-season.  This Super Bowl contending team doesn’t have many weaknesses, but one of those glaring ones is pass rush, and it appears it’s going to take quite a few weeks before we get into any sort of groove in that area.  My hope is that Dan Quinn’s experience as a line coach will have some sort of Tom Cable effect on these guys.  Maybe we won’t be having regular lunch meetings in the backfield (feasting on Quarterback Tartare) right off the bat.  But, if we can find a way to get better as the season goes on, I’m thinking that’s our best-case scenario at this point.

Normally, when guys have these nagging injuries, I’m all for just throwing them on the PUP list and getting them 100% healthy before bringing them back.  In Avril’s case, I think I’d rather have him at 70% in week 1 or 2 as opposed to 100% in week 7.  It’s not like he’s going to be a long-term solution for us anyway.  I’d rather burn him out now, then let Clemons take over for him when he’s ready.

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