By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – The first step is crucial for any pass rusher.
That’s what has made Cliff Avril’s initiation into the Seahawks’ defense so difficult as he missed time, first with a foot injury in May and then a strained hamstring the past two weeks.
Cliff Avril returned to practice Wednesday after missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury. (AP)
“Definitely not how I wanted to start out here,” said Avril, the free agent Seattle signed from Detroit this offseason. “But it’s a part of football. Things happen. For me, it’s just getting better every day and progressing with the injuries and getting ready for the season.”
Progress put him back on the practice field Wednesday, returning to take part in individual drills but still held out of the 11-on-11 team drills.
“It’s great to get him back on the field,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He needs to be part of this.”
Carroll said he’d have to wait until Thursday’s practice to know whether Avril would play in Saturday’s preseason game against Denver, but conceded “that’s not very likely.”
Avril is playing defensive end, and he said the only difference between the role he’ll have in Seattle and the one he played the past five years in Detroit is that in Seattle he’ll be lining up on both the right and left end spots. In Detroit, he played left end exclusively.
“That’s probably the biggest difference,” Avril said, “being able to adjust to playing on the right and the left, but it’s coming along.”
As for preseason plans, Avril is going to be out there. Eventually.
“I would definitely like to get out there one of the next three games,” he said.
Camp Carroll: Day 21 (Practice 15)
|Gear:||Helmets, shoulder pads, shorts|
|Practice:||10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.|
|DNP:||CB Ron Parker (hamstring), DT Tony McDaniel (groin), LB Bruce Irvin (groin), G James Carpenter (foot), DE Ty Powell (leg), RB Christine Michael (back).||PUP:||WR Percy Harvin, TE Zach Miller, DE Chris Clemons, DL Greg Scruggs, CB Tharold Simon.||Non-football Injury list:||LB Korey Toomer (leg).||Quoteworthy:||“This has been a fantastic camp, believe me,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We feel like we really shared with our fans. It’s great the way they turned out. Their attitude and involvement was there every day. I’m really glad we had the chance to visit them and feel connected to us. They’ve made it a special camp by the way they’ve turned out.”||Interviews:||Farwell | Kearse | Michael | Moffitt | Bradford|
The Seahawks haven’t declared a starter at right guard, but J.R. Sweezy is clearly the first in line on the depth chart, ahead of John Moffitt.
“He’s getting more reps and he goes first,” Carroll said. “He’s got an edge in that regard, but we’re giving John a great chance to see what he can do with it.”
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel sat out Wednesday because of a sore groin. He won’t play in Saturday’s game, and it sounds like he’s running short on time to show where he fits into Seattle’s defensive line.
“We have not seen enough to know where he fits in,” Carroll said. “He has a chance to be one of the lead candidates for the three-technique spot, but we don’t know anything about it right now. We’ve seen him just [in] limited play so the game time is going to be really important for him.”
The defensive tackle spot next to nose guard Brandon Mebane is one of the only open starting positions on Seattle’s defense after Alan Branch was not re-signed. With McDaniel out for more than a week now, rookies Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill have gotten more opportunities.
• CB Byron Maxwell returned to practice Wednesday after suffering a sprained ankle in last week’s exhibition game. That’s a positive sign not only because Maxwell has played well so far this month, but because injuries have been a recurring problem. “It is important for his effort to try and get playing time,” Carroll said. “Because he’s fighting for playing time.”
• Seattle had 13 players sit out practice Wednesday, six fewer than on Monday. One of the players who’s still out, though, is Bruce Irvin, who’s making a transition to linebacker and is still being bothered by a sore groin. Carroll said Wednesday the team is taking a closer look at the injury. “He’s got some stuff we’re looking at today,” Carroll said. “We’ll find out more tomorrow.”