Avril: Lions Shouldn't Get Rid Of Matthew Stafford

Cliff Avril explains why his former teammate still has a lot to offer

Tiki and Tierney
March 24, 2020 - 8:12 pm

When you think of former defensive lineman Cliff Avril, perhaps you think of his time with the Seattle Seahawks, which makes sense. After all, Avril, who played for the Seahawks from 2013 to 2017, won a Super Bowl with Seattle and ended his career there.

But he spent the first five seasons of his career in Detroit, including four as Matthew Stafford’s teammate.

Opinions on Stafford? Yes, Avril’s got them. 

“I don’t think I get rid of Stafford,” Avril said on Tiki & Tierney, when asked what he would do if he were Lions general manager. “This is me being a teammate for the first few years of his career. Honestly, when you break down the film, Stafford has a rocket. He can throw the mess out of that rocket. He can get it anywhere to anybody. I just think it’s collectively overall they’ve never really surrounded him with that solid defense that’s going to get after guys and get them off the field.”

Stafford has never won a playoff game. He is 0-3 in the playoffs, with all three losses coming in the Wild Card.

That, however, isn’t necessarily his fault.

“Some years he has a running game and then they want to depend on the run game more than the passing game,” Avril said. “Having [a] well-balanced offense [is important]. People will mention he had Calvin Johnson. Well, Calvin put up some crazy numbers when he was there, but we still couldn’t win ball games because we had holes in the defense or we didn’t have a running game so we had to strictly depend on a passing game.”

Which means game over for Stafford – or any quarterback.

“As a pass rusher, if I know you can’t run the ball and I get to just tee off on your quarterback, he’s going to get some throws off, but he’s going to take a beating as well,” Avril said. “You see that kind of has been the case with Stafford and how beat up he’s been over the last few years. But no, I don’t think you get rid of Stafford. I think you try to build a solid, solid defense because I do believe defenses win championships. That’s what got me my championship, so I believe it. Just build a solid defense around him and go out there and allow him to execute with the playmakers that are on that team.”