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Cliff Avril Looks to Have a Breakout Year

In 2008, the Detroit Lions defensive end, Cliff Avril, was a rookie. He ended the season with five sacks, tops for most among rookie defensive ends in the NFL last year. Avril says last season was more about learning for him while this year will be more on polishing things up. This is one reason to believe he will improve in his second year as a pro.

With the Marinelli regime moved on and Jim Schwartz in, Schwartz also brought in Gunther Cunningham to be the Defensive Coordinator. Both of these men are aggressive coaches and have been quoted saying they plan on blitzing about 40% of the time with a variety of blitz schemes. With the opponents offensive line having to worry more about the blitz, it will open things up more often for defensive ends to get free. Another reason to believe Avril will improve in his sophomore year.

If Avril produces well in 2009, he will force offenses to pay more attention to him, which in turn will allow others to break free more often. Sometimes a defensive line can look like it has no talent because it never quite gets to the quarterback. Sometimes all it takes is for one player to step up his game, allowing others to get free and suddenly the whole defensive line looks better. Sometimes a better scheme can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes the fans need a reason to have hope and after the 2008 season, I will take anything that gives me hope. This season I find a lot to give me hope and improvement from Cliff Avril is one amongst many.

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