As long as I have been coming to P.O.D. for my Lions updates and community, I have never really been able to truly gauge how the Lions fanbase felt about him as a whole. I have, for the most part, been very interested in what Cliff Avril could become for us since he was drafted in the 3rd round just two years ago. Both of his pro years have seen him having to adjust to two different schemes, which never really allowed him to get comfortable. Still, even with the adjustment and playing on one of the porous defenses in the NFL, Avril's numbers went up while playing in 2 less games. He, thus far, has been good for 5 sacks a year. Decent, but not great.
Personally, I feel that Cliff Avril is perfectly situated for a breakout year. I am not an Avril apologist, but with the likes of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, and Corey Williams lining up next to him, he will be able to rush the QB with the most confidence he's had in his brief pro career. I have been following Avril (along with many other Lions) on Twitter since the end of last season; all offseason, he has been chomping at the bit for the 2010 season. He has mentioned how it is a "do or die" season for him....and how badly he wants to prove to the Lions, their fans, and himself that he can be an outstanding defensive lineman. I believe it is possible.
I foresee, barring any injuries that would change things dramatically, that Avril will have a breakthrough year in 2010 and help this defense out more than people are realizing. Granted, much of this has to do with the fact that he'll be playing alongside some of the most talented guys we've had on that line in a while. But my trust in Avril comes from his motivation...his determination...his mentality...and his ability to see that he really needs to prove himself.
My hope is that I am right...because if I am, we have a very solid defensive four that will help out an otherwise questionable secondary to no end. And maybe........just maybe.....we can do something unexpected this year. Everyone is expecting improvement.....5-11.....6-10....even 7-9 or 8-8. But if the right momentum comes our way because of the right team mentality....if we come out of the gates running hard....we could make a statement.
I'm not drinking the kool-aid just yet....I'm just hoping that the Lions players can experience what they so desperately need to feel. Confidence. A winning mentality. An expectation to win. And some of our players, including Avril, realizing their potential. If they do, we are in for a fun ride to the top....gradual as it may be.
Click here for more on why Avril could be in a for a much better season. And what are your thoughts?