Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks addresses the media at the Westin Hotel on January 26, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DEFENSIVE END CLIFF AVRIL
(on if he can believe he's here playing in the Super Bowl) "It's still sinking in. I'm happy to be here. Try to get a win, of course."
(on what his reaction was to the cold when he got off the plane) "Well, I was in Detroit for five years. It wasn't too cold to me, but at the same time I wasn't out there for more than five minutes, so it wasn't too bad."
(on if making it to the Super Bowl seemed like it was far away after experiencing a winless season in Detroit) "Yeah. That's the first thing I thought about. Rookie year I didn't win any games, and then five, six years later I'm at the big show and hopefully about to win it. It's been a long run I guess, in a sense."
(on if taking the franchise tag has worked out for him and if there is any lingering bitterness after it) "No, it's a business. I've been saying that from years past. It's a business. I understand it. It is what it is. It's working out for me. I can't complain. Once again, I'm here at the Super Bowl talking to you guys. I can't complain at all."
(on if a Super Bowl ring would outweigh any amount of money) "It's not like I'm making pennies. Again, I can't complain. I'm fortunate enough to be where I'm at right now. There's definitely no bitterness though."
(on if he was paying attention to recent news with the Detroit Lions) "I pay attention. I thought there was going to be a chance that we would actually play those guys in the playoffs because they were playing so well. Then, a few weeks later I guess they lost like three of four last second (games) or whatever. It's unfortunate. I really wanted to play them."
(on what happened with the Lions last offseason in relation to his free agency) "We didn't talk at all last offseason. I think they were just ready to move on, which is understandable. They probably study some guys in the draft or whatever that could replace me. But again, I'm not tripping over it."
(on what Seattle Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn did to convince him to play for Seattle) "The defense was pretty good before I got here. It was all about just finding my role. Obviously, I'm taking less snaps than I was in Detroit and what not, but the defense was good. Our DBs (defensive backs) are 'A-1'. They're some of the best DBs out, and as a D-lineman that's what you look for – somebody that could make the quarterback hold the ball a little bit longer to give you that split second. Those are some of the reasons, and then '12th man' of course. That stadium's unreal."
(on if he thought Seattle was capable of making it to the Super Bowl and if that affected his decision to sign with the team) "Most definitely. I watched film. I knew about them the year before, about how good they were, and we knew we had a good chance of doing it. But, the confidence level from before I signed, and then when I signed and how confident guys were, it shows why we're here right now."
(on if Seattle's defensive front seven gets overlooked with how good the secondary is) "It is what it is. I don't complain. We have a great secondary and we feel like, as a defense, we have a great defense. They get all the love, which is awesome. They're some ‘heck-of-a-players.’ I’m not mad at all."
(on the support of the Seattle fans when the team left for New York) “It was unreal. From our practice facility all the way down riding all the way down highway 405, fans are on the overpass, and then when we got to the airport it was even crazier. Something that takes us maybe a minute to get through took us probably 15, 20 minutes to get through with all the fans being barricaded off and what not. It was nuts and we appreciate it.”
(on if the fans were hitting the bus) “Yeah, they were pretty close. We we’re hitting the windows with them. It was a blast.”
(on if the send-off gave the team a better idea of how much the game means to their fans) “The city’s on fire. The city definitely appreciates it and it definitely gave us a glimpse of how they feel.”
(on if he feels that Seattle is an old school team in some ways, particularly on defense) “We feel like the big thing for us is stopping the run, obviously. We feel like we go out there and play smash mouth football for the first half and let our offense do what they do and what not. Then, get after them in the pass rush. As far as for how good our defense is, I think we have a real good defense. I feel like we can play with the best of them. We just have to be on point.”
(on how he would characterize their defense) “It is kind of like a hybrid defense. We have three big guys in the middle that basically clog up the run. Then, we’ve got our safety Kam Chancellor that comes down into the box that plays bigger than some linebackers playing the safety position. The scheme just works, as far as for the run game and the passing game. Then when we know it’s a passing situation, we obviously get in our nickel situation where we get some pass rushers out there.”
(on how simply making it to the Super Bowl isn’t the goal) “This definitely isn’t the goal. We wanted to get here, no question, but winning the whole thing is always the goal. That’s what (Seahawks Head) Coach (Pete) Carroll’s been preaching since we’ve gotten here. Every game has been a championship game. So, it doesn’t make this game that much bigger, other than the extra media, I guess. The rest is just preparing for another week because we’ve always prepared like each game was a championship game.”
(on the pressure they need to put on Broncos QB Peyton Manning) “We have to be consistent. I think he’s going to pass the ball a lot, obviously, because it’s Peyton Manning. It’s all about getting pressure in his face, making him feel your presence, and making him think about the D-line more so than the coverage and all these different things.”
(on if he thinks Manning may be thinking more about the secondary than the defensive line) “I think he should think about all 11 guys that are on the field. I think he should be thinking about all 11 of us. We all play a role in trying to stop him. He can focus on one area if he’d like, but I think the whole defense is going to be gunning for him.”
(on why he is so good at the sack-fumble) “I have a few of them. I think it’s just the opportunity to create a turnover. I want to get the sack, obviously, but being able to get a turnover on top of it makes it that much sweeter. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few of them in my days.”
(on if he is always trying to get the ball out on a sack) “I am always swatting at the ball, coming around on the sacks. Again, I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few of them.”
(on going against Manning) “He does a real good job of getting the ball out and that’s what makes him such a great player. He does a good job of getting the ball out quick and, for us, we can’t get frustrated. I think for us, it’s just not getting frustrated and continuing to rush even if he is getting the ball out, and when he does drop back for a longer pass, just be ready to get after him.”