“The X-factor for Tampa’s win will be Ndamukong Suh, J.P.P. and the top four,” April told CBS Local’s Ryan Mayer. “I think they’re going to have to find ways, because I think the Chiefs are going to move the pocket. They’re going to have to be able to read those boots, read those nudes, read those plays to put pressure on. Because what makes Mahomes so great is that he can kill you with his feet or run down the field. But when he has time to sit there, it’s unreal”.
GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 1: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots comes under pressure from the Seattle Seahawks’ April issue #56 Credit: Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
The Chiefs’ offensive line has been in the spotlight this week as it has had to be reshuffled throughout the season, most recently by the loss of left tackle Eric Fisher. A former offensive lineman like Avril who sees these replacements knows the Bucs are licking the ball for them.
“They are excited. This is a chance to go up against a guy who has a second row that can make this match too big for him,” Avril said. “He can let the lights and cameras get to him a little bit, so we have to get him right away.”
But, as Avril pointed out, the Chiefs also have their downside, and he expects Kansas City to counter it by taking advantage of Mahomes’ ability to move.
“I think early on they will see how they will play against these defenders because they are stacked with Shaq Barrett, Suh, J.P.P., these guys will be active,” Avril said. “And what do you do to compensate for that? I think they’re going to put a little bit of Mahomes in the pocket. They’re going to test how the guys hold up, but then they’re going to move it to the pocket, so the guys don’t have to play one-on-one, and it’s more of a zone game.
On the other side, of course, is Tom Brady, against whom Avril played in the Super Bowl six years ago. Avril was on both Super Bowl teams for the Seahawks and feels very lucky. So Brady is coming for the tenth time this year? All he has to do is say the word.
“He’s a legendary man, he’s a legend. I was lucky enough to play two and win one. Very enthusiastic. You remember me? Cliff Avril, Super Bowl champion. “But when you think back to what he did, because I know a lot of guys who played 13, 15 years and never felt the Super Bowl. He didn’t even smell the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. The guy lost ten times. It’s not realistic. But to do it the way he did it well? Big question mark, who else needs (Bill) Belichick or Brady? Belichick hasn’t really had a good season, and Tom Brady is on one of the last good teams left.
Brady is still standing and has six Super Bowls to his name, which makes it difficult for the Chiefs. But defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has had success against Brady on this stage in the past. He was the coordinator of the New York Giants when they beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. One of the advantages of the Giants in this game is the pressure they put on Brady. So it’s no surprise that April sees the veteran QB as the key for K.C.
“Like any quarterback, I don’t care if you’re a rookie, whether you’re Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes or the great Tom Brady. When you catch quarterbacks, you push them around, you make them uncomfortable in the pocket, you confuse them a little bit,” Avril said. “No matter how strong they are mentally, they’re not used to getting hit. The game is tailor-made for them, so to speak. I think it comes down to that. Frank Clark, some of these guys have lost their minds, I think it becomes very important for them to find a way to apply pressure. The difference with Brady and Mahomes is that the sacks are there. Brady, the pocket is big, but it doesn’t move. When you beat your guys, he’s in the pocket. So I think it’s imperative for the guys up front to work as hard as they can.”
Quarterbacks will dominate the headlines, but the rush to the pass will be just as important. To learn more about how to play with Avril, check out the full interview above.
The LV Super Bowl is scheduled for Sunday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on CBS. Viewers can also follow the game via CBSSports.com.
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