Prior to each game the beat reporters speak to the head coach and one marquis player from the opposing team. This week the San Francisco 49ers beat reporters chose DE Cliff Avril who prior to his time in Seattle, spent his first five years in Detroit.
Avril discussed many topics including the misconception of simplicity regarding not only Seattle’s defense, but Chip Kelly’s offense. He detailed how he thought Colin Kaepernick has changed in Kelly’s offense, throwing downfield from the pocket more as well as going through his reads. Avril also discussed his battles with now retired Anthony Davis, and he seemed to find the questions pretty amusing.
Avril also discussed how Trent Brown would be a challenge and how Carlos Hyde rushing for 100 on the Seahawks defense left a bad taste in their mouth.
Here’s the full transcript:
What’s you mindset going into the game on Sunday? Will you be keeping you eye on what happens in Atlanta?
No. I’m a firm believer of control what you can control and that’s us playing our ball, us going out there and getting the “W.” It doesn’t do us any good if we play terrible and and take an “L.” Who cares about what Atlanta is doing, you know? Just go out there and play hard ball, man. Get back on pace and doing what we do best and I’ll think we’ll be happy with the results.
What do you need to do to get back to playing your kind of ball?
Well, on the defensive side I think we just have to focus down and stopping the run. They have some play makers, Kap is doing some great things with his feet as well. So we gotta stop the run first and foremost and then you know play good sound ball as far as the passing game. Getting after him with the pass rush and guys not getting beat over the top. That’s kind of our philosophy and if we get back to that we will be alright.
Has what you’ve seen from Kaepernick been different in Chip Kelly’s offense?
He’s throwing the ball a lot more. He’s trying to sit in the pocket a little more. They still run the option from time to time and what not but he’s looking to make plays down field which is a little more different from his earlier years where if the first read wasn’t there, he’s taking off with it. That’s a little bit of the difference but he can still hurt you with his feet if he doesn’t see the first two or three reads, he’s going to take off with it and get a lot of yards of you’re not careful.
Being on the outside, do you try to trick him if you’re staying on the outside or not?
No, I mean with a running quarterback the thing you gotta pay attention to the most as a pass rusher is being able to keep your eye on the quarterback as you pass rush, being able to see where he’s at in the pocket. You don’t want to get too high because he’ll step into the open gaps and what not, but at the same time you don’t want to get engulfed by the tackles where he can just roll out easily. It’s all about rushing and keeping your eyes on him while you’re doing it.
Earlier this year, Carlos Hyde rushed for over 100 yards against you, mostly in the last two drives. Did that serve as motivation for you and the defense?
Yeah. I mean we never like giving up 100 yards in a game. That’s one of our biggest things is stopping the run fist and foremost and not allowing people to rush for more than 100. I think he was the first to do it this year and it kind of left a nasty taste in our mouths. And again that’s something we pride ourselves on doing so we definitely don’t want to allow that to happen again.
Have you stayed in contact with your old buddy Anthony Davis?
(laughing) No, man. That’s not my guy. I don’t know what’s going with him.
Were you surprised with him retiring last year and then again this year?
I mean you just never know what people are going through. Honestly, he’s such a young player, I think he had a decent future ahead of him but you never know what guys are going through. Never know what the situation is like for them over there. Something must be up for a young player to be able to say, “The heck with it.” and quit. Something has to be going on, something serious. You just never know. All you can do really is hopefully pray for him that it’s nothing too serious.
Is it different playing then 49ers with it not being that contentious rivalry game like it used to be? How do you get up for it.
One, they’re competitors, they get paid to compete. I mean, if you’re not ready, they’re going to be ready and the worst thing you can do is take people lightly. No matter what the circumstances are no matter what guys are playing for, guys are playing for their pride and the name on the back of their jersey so you can’t take them lightly. It might not have the media hype or anything like that but those guys are very prideful, I mean they’re competitors so you can’t take them lightly.
What’s your scouting report on Trent Brown? Are you surprised he was picked up in the seventh round?
He’s a heck an athlete man, I was watching film on him last night actually, and he’s long, he’s tall, long arms, he does some great things. As for surprising he got picked up in the seventh round, those are where you find your gems at anyways. You find a lot of your playmakers in the later rounds anyways so it doesn't surprise me.
Is there any disappointment that Anthony Davis isn’t around as a match up?
I don’t really care. (laughing) I don’t care who I’m facing. It’s not like I circle the calendar and “Oh man we’re playing San Fran, I can't wait to play Anthony Davis.” It was never that. I don’t really care. We had some good battles, that’s just what it was. It’s not like we truly genuinely hate each other or anything like that, well, I don’t but it is what it is. I don’t really care or pay attention to it. Whoever they put in front of me, I have to go against that guy and try to give him my best.
If memory serves, you were able to get some good pressure in that NFC championship game on that final pass Sherman deflected for the interception.
Oh, You’re the only one that saw that but yeah. (laughing)
It’s been dissected here pretty well.
Yeah, I did get some pressure on that play, a little bit. I think I maybe I did, maybe I didn’t have anything to do with the ball floating but Sherman made a heck of a play on the back end and we were fortunate enough to be able to finish the game and end on a high note.
After going from Detroit to Seattle do you appreciate the simplicity of what you guys do in Seattle?
Yeah, um, you know it took me some time to adjust but, from a technique standpoint of things going from playing a wide nine to playing a six technique and differnet things like that but as far as how simple and how they like to keep things kind of simple and vanilla for us, it’s pretty cool. I mean the defense looks simple but there are definitely a lot of moving parts to it. I think once you understand a scheme, it allows you to play fast especially the you have 10 other football players that are some of the best at their positions, that makes it a little easier for you.
In that same vein, Chip Kelly’s offense has been said to be simple. What do you think?
I think they throw a lot of different things at you. I mean it’s easy for people to dissect it when they aren’t doing it or in the plays. I think they run a lot of different things at you. I don’t think it’s as simple as people may think it is. They hit people for a lot of yards on a lot of different plays. It can’t be that simple. If it was, they wouldn’t get many yards at all. They have some playmakers that make it run as well. So I dont think it’s as simple as people make it out to be.