Friday in Hawkville: Cliff Avril expected to make Seahawks debut

Posted Sep 13, 2013

After being sidelined for the season opener as well as the preseason with a hamstring injury, pass-rushing defensive end Cliff Avril is scheduled to play in Sunday night’s home opener.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 13, when the Seahawks held their final full practice to prepare for Sunday night’s nationally televised home opener against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field:


OK, that’s two words. But Cliff Avril has waited long enough to get on the field, and the Seahawks have been patient enough with this year’s biggest free-agent addition, to warrant an extra word.


“I’m ready to see what this crowd is like. Everybody is talking about the crowd. And as a defensive player that’s what we look for, that’s what we want.”

Cliff Avril on his on-field initiation to the 12th Man

Avril will make his Seahawks debut in Sunday’s home opener, after sitting out the season opener as well as the preseason with a hamstring injury. The return of a player who had 29 sacks the past three seasons for the Detroit Lions is timely as the defense looks to improve its pass rush against Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ ridiculously mobile quarterback.

“This week went well,” Avril said after Friday’s practice – when he looked better than he had in Thursday’s practice, when he looked better than he had in Wednesday’s practice. “I did feel better every day. … Unless something changes in the next couple days, I do see me suiting up.”

So does coach Pete Carroll. Avril is listed as probable and Carroll said, “Cliff looks good. He had a great week. He’s ready to go. … He’ll play.”

Avril’s reps at the Leo end spot also increased each day this week.

“I felt real good coming off the line,” he said. “I felt good working my pass-rush moves today.”


The Seahawks pulled off a rarity last week by winning a game when Marshawn Lynch did not rush for at least 100 yards. Lynch had 43 yards in the 12-7 victory over the Panthers. The last time it happened was in Week 13 last season, when Lynch had 87 rushing yards in an overtime win against the Bears in Chicago. Before that, it was the Week 6 upset of the New England Patriots at CenturyLink Field when Lynch had 47 yards.

Winning without Lynch going for 100-plus is not a trend Carroll wants to see continue, or believes can continue.

“Running the football helps us in every way,” Carroll said. “I’ve said, ‘It closes the circle on the style of play that we have.’ We want to be tough and physical and make sure that’s present in every game we go after. So it’s hugely important again this week.

“Somehow we made it through last week without running the football very well. We can’t do that. We can’t count on that.”

Remember, no one has run for more yards since Week 9 of the 2011 season than Lynch. Here’s a look at the league leaders during that 26-game span:

Player, team Att. Yds. Avg. TD
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks 543 2,574 4.7 20
Adrian Peterson, Vikings  408 2,365 5.8 17
Arian Foster, Texans  512 2,173 4.2 21
Chris Johnson, Titans   456 2,058 4.5 9
Ray Rice, Ravens  445 2,054 4.6 17


The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

DT Jordan Hill (biceps)

CB Brandon Browner (hamstring)
SS Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

DE Chris Clemons (knee)

DE Cliff Avril (hamstring)
OT Michael Bowie (shoulder)
DT Tony McDaniel (groin)
DT Brandon Mebane (ankle)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
TE Luke Willson (oblique)

McDaniel returned Friday after sitting out Thursday and is expected to start at the three-technique tackle spot. Even though Johnson is listed as doubtful, Carroll said, “He’s not going to make it this week.”

As for Clemons, who had surgery in January to repair ligament and meniscus damage in the left knee, Carroll said, “He’s going to have a real chance in the next couple weeks to get back and play for us.”

For the 49ers:

RB LaMichael James (knee)


You never know who might show up at a Seahawks practice. Thursday, it was Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson of Sounders FC. Today, a Pro Football Hall of Fame gathering broke out.

Warren Moon, the analyst for radio broadcasts of the team’s games and a member of the Hall’s Class of 2006, watched practice from the sideline with the NBC crew that will call the game – Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya. Moon was later joined by former defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history who joined the Hall in 2012; and former left tackle Walter Jones, who was voted to a franchise-high nine Pro Bowls and is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.


The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday and another one on Sunday morning, their final tune-ups for Sunday night’s home opener.