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Avril, Bennett prove big additions for Seattle

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2014 at 2:20 am •  Published: January 16, 2014

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Adding Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to the Seattle Seahawks' defensive line has paid big dividends.

The odd part is neither lineman is really serving the roles expected when Seattle general manager John Schneider signed the free agents in the offseason. They've been part of a deep defensive line rotation that has kept players fresh throughout the season. Along the way, Seattle has figured out surprising ways to use its two acquisitions.

The results might mean fewer snaps and less gaudy numbers for everyone involved, but it's a group that knows how to work together and is rested heading into Sunday's NFC championship game against San Francisco.

"I feel like if I was playing 80 or 90 percent of the snaps my body would definitely be beat up a little bit more than it is right now," Avril said. "I'm not playing as much on the first downs so again I think that helps out with the body feeling fresh this late in the season."

Seattle's defensive line is an unusual mix that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has meshed together to find workable combinations. There's the run-stuffing crew consisting of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel that has helped Seattle create a run defense that allowed 101.6 yards rushing per game during the season.

Then there is the pass rush crew of Avril, Bennett, Clinton McDonald and Chris Clemons that raised Seattle's sack total from 36 during the 2012 regular season to 44 this season.

That amount of depth has led to constant rotations throughout the season and less wear on everyone.

"The pass defense numbers show that and everybody has helped out," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "All of the guys that have come in have helped and they've helped the other guys play better. So it's interesting to see how it does tie together. We've been playing pretty much the same coverage principles, but when the rush picked up, our numbers went down in terms of our opponent's production. So it's been a big factor."

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