Cliff Avril talks to NFL Network about a wide range of topics

Posted by ttwentyman on June 19, 2012 – 9:13 pm

Lions defensive end Cliff Avril sat down with the guys on the set of the NFL Network’s “Total Access” Tuesday where he talked about his contract situation, the offseason issues that have plagued the Lions and a number of other topics.

Avril and the Lions have until July 16 to come to term on a long-term deal or Avril will have to play the 2012 season under the $10.6 million one-year franchise tag.

Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Q. On where the contract negotiations stand right now with the Lions:

A. “We’re talking. We’re still trying to get things figured out before camp. I want to be there long-term, I want to get a deal done. I don’t want to play under the franchise tag. I’ve been with the team for four, going on five years. Started off a little shaky going 0-16 and I want to be with the team when we make the Super Bowl run.”

Q. On if he is set on not playing on the franchise tag in 2012 and if he would consider holding out if it came down to that:

A. “I would prefer not to play on the franchise tag but we have a lot of time front of us. I think the deadline is July 16 and hopefully we get something figured out before then. I haven’t really thought past that point.”

Q. On if he believes the comments of Lions general manager Martin Mayhew praising defensive end Willie Young has been for his benefit:

A. “No. I think Willie is a good player, don’t get me wrong. I definitely feel like he’s a heck of a player and he’s playing well right now, but I didn’t expect the spot to be given to me anyways. Whenever I do come back, I want to go in and compete for the starting spot. Obviously it would be against him I guess.”

Q. On if he would have liked to have face-to-face conversations with some of the Lions players who have gotten in trouble this offseason:

A. “I talk to these guys. The only thing that is different with the offseason is I’m not working out with them. But I see them around, we hang out, so I’ve talked to (Nick) Fairley, I’ve talked with some of the guys that have gotten in trouble. Like I said, the only difference is just not being there lifting with the guys.”

Q. On if the characterization of the Lions as ‘undisciplined’ is unwarranted:

A. “I think it’s unwarranted but it comes with playing football. Obviously if you have a few mess-ups, people are going to start throwing out things; name-calling in a sense. It comes with it but we have to be smarter too. Obviously the off-field stuff doesn’t help with the past season, but we’re a fairly young team; all of the guys that got in trouble were young so they just have to live and learn, and bounce back next year.”

Q. On what the team learned from their trip to the playoffs last season that will help them go further in the playoffs next year:

A. “That we have a good team and that we can do it. Like you said, we have 18 starters coming back so that tells you that we have experience now. A lot of the guys last year, it was our first time being together. So this year having everybody back, it just gives us a chance to be even better.”

Q. On the kind of impact he anticipates defensive tackle Nick Fairley will have on the Lions’ defense in 2012:

A. “Nick is going to be a heck of a player. He’s got long arms, he can run, and he’s big and strong. To have him, Corey (Williams) and (Ndamukong) Suh, it’s going to be painful for some guards in the middle. He’s going to be a heck of a player. He just has to keep learning and keep getting better.”

Q. On what it is like to compete against quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson in practice:

A. “Trouble, just like they give everybody else in the league. It only makes us better as a defense going against those guys. Obviously you can’t touch Matt in practice so I can never let him feel my presence. But to have that one-two punch, and then hopefully our running game can pick up with the running backs that we have, we have a real good chance of competing with the best out there.”

Q. On if the biggest difference between last year’s team and this year’s team will be the running game:

A. “Yes. Last year we were a little bit ‘all pass,’ but I think it will open up. If we get a running game, Calvin (Johnson), Nate (Burleson) and Titus Young – all of those guys will have a great year because it opens it up for them.”

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »

Day 1: Burleson arrives at “Broadcast Boot camp”

Posted by Molly Mita on June 19, 2012 – 4:22 pm

Wide receiver Nate Burleson was one of 23 current and former players who was chosen to attend an intensive four-day broadcast boot camp in Mount Laurel, NJ. He will be filling in with his experience each day.

Day 1:

“I landed and a driver took me to the hotel. Once we got to the hotel I had about two hours to relax before I had to be downstairs for orientation so I went ahead and got a work out in. I have to break that sweat, everyday!”

“Then we went and had dinner with all of the other guys who are here for the broadcast boot camp. James Brown, from CBS is our host. We all sat in the auditorium and listened to him talk about what we were going to go through. It’s going to be a lot more than I expected. I didn’t think it was going to be a walk in the park, but it’s going to be a lot of work. They talked about diving into it head first and not being afraid to ask questions and really just utilizing the time we are being given to improve”

“They are giving us the opportunity to improve on this craft, which is speaking. They really are helping us to become better versions of ourselves. It reminds me of the first day of camp as a rookie. You are encouraged to ask questions, and just go ahead and get right into it and not be afraid to sacrifice your time. It’s almost identical to what our coaches have said to us.”

“It’s a little bit nerve-racking. I know there’s going to be a lot of work here so I  just sat down, took my notepad out and started listening.”

“Tomorrow I get to meet everyone. I’m most excited to receive criticism. As a player I’m one of the guys that has always responded really well to criticism. For me it’s motivating. I work to find flaws in my game. So this whole week I want to find as many holes and as many flaws as I can in myself so I can focus on them and get better.”

“We already were given homework assignments. We have five subjects for tomorrow. We received a packet of information on those five subjects and they will randomly pull one out of a hat, so we need to be prepared. It reminds me of college and taking a pop quiz. You have to study everything because you don’t know what’s going to be on it. I haven’t done homework in quite some time. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in school. I’m just going to mute the tv and read for a little bit.”

“We are going to do one-on-one’s with a co-host in the studio and we will have to be able to discuss one of the five subjects. I think this boot camp is really going to allow me to dive deeper and focus. Rather than just focusing on the general information it’s important to be able to spit out stats and facts. I can talk football, but knowing that information and the facts is something I need to work on. I can go on and chat about any subject but I think that the people who are really good at what they do in this business take it another step further.”

“There’s not one person I want to learn a lot from. It’s like football. You don’t want to learn everything from one person. You take pieces from a lot of individuals that you admire. Everyone has something special. So if you take a piece from every single person you can really improve.”

“I report at 7:30 tomorrow so that will be a long day but I’m excited to get into it.”

Posted in Nate Burleson Blog | 6 Comments »

Gil Brandt has Lions at No. 10 in offseason power rankings

Posted by ttwentyman on June 19, 2012 – 2:54 pm

It’s a little early into the 2012 season to put out power rankings, but that didn’t stop’s Gil Brandt from putting together his own offseason list.

Brandt, who was once the vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys from 1960 through 1988, has the Lions ranked No. 10 heading into training camp.

“Jim Schwartz is one of the top young coaches in the NFL today,” Brandt wrote. “His Lions boast a top young QB in Matthew Stafford and the premium receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson. But Detroit needs a better running game to maximize its aerial attack. Can the defense hold up over the course over the season? The secondary’s a big concern, but the Lions’ talent up front can cover up a lot of issues, especially if Nick Fairley starts to play up to his potential in Year 2.”

Brandt has the Packers as his No. 1 team followed by the Patriots, Eagles, 49ers and Texans in the top 5. He ranks the defending Super Bowl champion Giants No. 6, with the Saints, No. 7, Ravens No. 8 and Steelers No. 9.

Rounding out the NFC North, the Bears check in at No. 12 and the Vikings No. 28

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Matt Burke Travel Blog: Fist stop, Bangkok

Posted by Tara Altman on June 19, 2012 – 11:35 am

“I am currently in Bangkok right now. It took me forever to get here — I left at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon and didn’t get to my hotel until after 1:30 am on Tuesday morning! But I am settling in.

“Spent the day touring some of the main sights here — Wat Pho with its giant reclining Buddha Statue and The Grand Palace. The massiveness and grandeur of the temples is so impressive. It’s hard to put into words and I don’t think pictures will do it justice either.

“It is HOT and HUMID, which takes some getting used to. That and riding the tuk-tuks in crazy traffic. I have another couple days here. I’ll try to send a pic when I can.”

Posted in Matt Burke Travel Blog | 1 Comment »