Monday, February 27, 2012

Why the Lions don't have to be desperate in regard to Cliff Avril

Cliff Avril is a very good player. On the free agent market, he would get a huge contract. He is a young pass rusher, who is coming off a season in which his playmaking numbers (sacks, forced fumbles, etc) were really good.
The question about him, though, is would he be able to display that same production in a different system?
Avril wasn't getting double-teamed often with the Lions early last season. Opposing offenses focus incredibly much on Ndamukong Suh, and there is a solid end on the other side in Kyle Vanden Bosch, Avril is often left one-on-one. When he gets attention, he gets held in check. In three of the Lions last five regular season games, Avril didn't register as much as a tackle. He did have half a sack in the playoff game, but wasn't a force. Would he be that effective if it weren't for the overall strength of the Lions' defensive line? Unlikely.
It means two things. Teams signing Avril have to understand that. He will always be good, but his production likely won't be the same.
And it also means the Lions can put players in his spot who might be surprisingly productive given their surroundings.
That doesn't mean the Lions should just let Avril walk. It does mean that if he does walk, it wouldn't be as hindering as if one of their big three players - Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson or Suh were to depart.
I expect them to franchise tag Avril, but I'm sure they should. The should offer him a really good contract. If he doesn't take it, they will likely still thrive.


Anonymous @RICKER313 said...

Pat not only do I agree with your article on Avril, but I said roughly the exact same thing on a local radio show. I think ANY player with marginal skill could produce the same numbers. Avril gets the benefit of playing next to Suh and also of playing in the wide 9 defensive front. I say save the franchise tag money and let cliff walk. Keep up the good work.

12:32 PM 
Blogger Megatron Metzger said...

Yeah I mean I like Cliff. He is a good story for the team but I think we could get the same production out of Lo Jack and Willie Young. With KVB on the other end for 1 more year we can afford to NOT over spend on an end who will undoubtedly command too much money. Plus it will set an example for how the franchise handles holdout "threats" (yes...what Cliff said about it being a "possibility" is a threat). My only concern is getting the sack fumble production out of our ends. On that note Willie Young has made his share of sack fumbles when given the opportunity. Furthermore, has Cliff even been healthy a full season? Let him walk.

7:28 PM 
Blogger Megatron Metzger said...

I like Cliff. He is a good story for us but ultimately he is a product of our defense. Willie Young and LoJack will give us everything we need without OVERSPENDING money we don't have. Willie has produced sack fumbles when given playing time and LoJack can be good against the run (which we desperately need more of). Plus we have Andre Fluellen who plays inside or out against the run. Not to mention...when has Cliff been healthy all season? He will command too much money that needs to be spent on Tulloch and a mid range $ safety or corner. Let him walk. Thanks for the effort Cliff. You're six ff deserve a payday but not from us. You will set the precident for how we handle holdout threats (say what you want but openly calling it a "possibility" is as good as a threat). A better response would have been "Lets hope it doesn't get that far." What you said means "Give me that money!" Get it from somewhere else. Let him walk.

7:51 PM 

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