Seahawks hope Avril brings heat to opposing passers


The most glaring weakness for the Seattle Seahawks after they faltered to Atlanta in the final seconds of the NFC divisional playoffs was a lack of a consistent pass rush.But the Seahawks believe they’ve significantly bolstered that area by signing pass rushers Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel in free agency, along with selecting defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams in this year’s draft.With those players joining an already-talented group that includes defensive ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin, along with defensive tackles Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Clinton McDonald, Seattle’s pass rush should be much improved in 2013.However, with Seattle’s top two pass rushers either rehabbing from a serious injury Clemons or unavailable for the first four games because of a performance-enhancing drug suspension Irvin, Avril will be counted on to carry the load as the team’s top pass rusher.Whether or not Avril can flourish in that role remains to be seen. The former Detroit Lion was slowed by a nagging plantar fascia foot injury during offseason workouts, but should be healthy once training camp begins in two weeks.And Seattle needs Avril to turn up the heat on opposing quarterbacks.The Seahawks have one of the best defensive backfields in the league, finishing in the top 10 in passing yards allowed per game 203.1, No. 6, interceptions 18, tied for No. 8 and passing touchdowns allowed 15, tied forsecond last season. Yet, Seattle’s defensive line failed to take advantage of that blanket coverage, totaling just 36 sacks in 2012, tied for No. 18 in the league.Avril’s posted 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons. And he gets after the football, with 16 career forced fumbles.“He has a good scope of play,” coach Pete Carroll said after the acquisition of Avril. “He can do a ton of things, but what he really does is comes off that edge roaring after you.”

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