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Fan reaction to Cliff Avril's unceremonious departure from Detroit has definitely been mixed.
In one camp, you have a group with a goodbye-and-good-riddance attitude. Those folks bemoan Avril's limitations against the run and his repeated failure to contain the edge.
The other side cites Avril's pass-rushing ability and his 29 sacks the past three years as good reasons the Lions will miss him.
As usual, there is truth to both sides of the argument. Avril was never a complete player in Detroit. He was a strong pass-rusher, but he had weaknesses and defenses were able to exploit him. That's why the Lions were never going to pay him the money he wanted.
Turns out no one else was going to pay him that kind of money, either. He ended up signing with the Seattle Seahawks for less than the Lions offered him last year.
So why didn't Detroit keep him? The damage was already done. Avril made his intentions clear and Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz had moved on. Avril was no longer in their plans, and that's why they didn't call him and wish him luck, as MLive.com reported.
It's like the old saying goes: "You're either with us or against us."
One thing is for sure, even with his limitations, the Lions defense won't be the same unless they can replace his pass rush.
They clearly haven't signed a top-tier DE in free agency. Jason Jones is a nice piece to the puzzle, but there's no indication he can replace Avril's eight to 11 sacks a season.
Some fans believe that Avril benefited from playing alongside Ndamukong Suh, whom opposing defenses double-teamed, which left Avril with only one man to beat. Maybe Jones will benefit similarly.
That's a big maybe, and unless you have a crystal ball or a sports almanac from the future, don't bet on it.
With the loss of Avril, Mayhew must enter the NFL draft looking to add multiple pass-rushers who can contribute immediately. If he succeeds, the Lions will likely improve upon last season.
If not, see you next year—same time, same place.