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  1. #1
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    Avery Back in Action ..

    Avery Back in Action

    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

    After hauling in a pass late in Wednesday night’s practice, the cheers came up from the sideline as Donnie Avery hauled in yet another catch and turned up field to run.

    The cheers from the fans were common but the support from his teammates seemed to have a little something extra behind them.

    Avery made his return to the practice field on Wednesday, performed again on Thursday and on Saturday night against the Titans, is on schedule to play in his first preseason game in almost a full calendar year.

    In other words, it’s hard not to root for the soft spoken, humble Avery even if there is some good natured ribbing involved.

    “A couple of guys said ‘Oh, snap No. 17 is back from the dead,’” Avery said. “They kind of gave me crap coming out but it’s kind of nice to know they are rooting for me and on the same page as I am.”

    And why wouldn’t they be? The idea of a healthy Avery certainly brings an element to the offense that may not be there when he’s on the shelf.

    Known for his blazing speed, Avery has been on the sideline for almost a full year after suffering a devastating ACL injury in the third preseason game last year in New England.

    Avery spent the offseason training to get back up to speed, literally. He trained in Houston and did a lot of track work and says he clocked sub 4.3 40-yard dashes on a regular basis.

    Upon the start of camp, Avery was back on the field going full speed. Like with any knee surgery, though, the Rams and Avery had to dial back his work load, which has kept him out of the past week or so of practice and the first preseason game.

    “It was really more of a response, I think, to the surgery,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “Nothing uncommon. We just figured, why set him back? That’s why we kind of shut him down. And I think it was the right thing to do because I think he’ll start to surface now.”

    Avery has indeed surfaced and has stuck out for his play making skills just in the two practices since he’s been back. In Wednesday night’s practice, Avery made a series of catches deep, across the middle and outside the hashes.

    “I thought Donnie looked really good yesterday,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I thought he looked quick, I thought he looked fast, he made good decisions…Avery is another guy that will give us the opportunity to stretch the field with his speed.”
    Avery had no ill effects linger from Wednesday’s practice and made it through Thursday’s workout just fine. All signs point to him playing Saturday night against Tennessee.

    “It’s important to me because I haven’t been on the team, playing in a game in a year so I just need to get the ball in my hands and I think I’m explosive when it comes to making people miss and getting that YAC,” Avery said. “That’s what’s important to me is getting the ball in my hands and going with it.”

    In the midst of a heated competition at receiver, Avery figures prominently in the mix and Spagnuolo says he’s excited to see the speedster back on the field.

    “We all know he’s got speed,” Spagnuolo said. “I also think he’s got a lot more than that. He’s hungry because he’s been away from it for so long. You can only imagine. It’ll be good to get him out there. Let’s see where he goes, try to get him some balls and hopefully elevate his abilities because he’s back off an injury and get him some confidence.”

    VERMEIL VISITS: Instead of the usual breakdown from Spagnuolo following Thursday’s practice, the Rams got a special appearance from former coach and Super Bowl champion Dick Vermeil.

    In town for one of his annual wine events, Vermeil broke down the huddle and delivered a rousing speech in his usual upbeat style.

    “He hasn’t lost it one bit,” Spagnuolo said. “You can see he feels it, it’s important to him, I know he’s behind us 100 percent which I really appreciate it. I can see it in the guys’ eyes. You always look at the guys to see if they are listening when somebody is speaking to tell if they are listening or not but they were all glued to Coach.”

    UP CLOSE: Spagnuolo has long maintained that he doesn’t care where his offensive coordinator operates from on game days, be it up in the booth or down on the sideline.

    In the preseason opener against Indianapolis last week, new Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called the shots from the sidelines, an area he grew accustomed to as head coach in Denver the past two seasons.

    Spagnuolo said everything went fine with the in-game operation of getting plays to the huddle and he’ll trust McDaniels to do what he thinks makes the most sense.

    “We’ve done it both ways here, really,” Spagnuolo said. “And I kind of leave it where they are most comfortable with and I think that’s where he’s had his experience there. I have no problem. It actually doesn’t have too much effect on me because you can always hear him. And to be quite honest with you, even though you are on the sideline, half the time you are communicating through the headset, even though you are six yards away.”

    INJURY REPORT: In addition to Avery, the Rams also got more help at the receiver spot, even if it was a bit unexpected.

    At the beginning of the week, Spagnuolo indicated that Mike Sims-Walker would probably be unavailable for the game against the Titans. But he did individual work Wednesday night and worked into team drills on Thursday.

    Spagnuolo said Sims-Walker would be “probable” for the game.

    Guard Jacob Bell was held out of Thursday practice as he continues to deal with a knee issue. Still, Spagnuolo indicated the Rams were hopeful that Bell would be available for the game.

    Running back Steven Jackson (hip soreness) also did some work though he didn’t go full speed. He, too, is expected to play against the Titans.

  2. #2
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    Great to see all four of the hurt starters looking like they can play this weekend, but I'd much rather them STAY on track and healthy than playing, so I hope that the staff will take the appropriate caution.
    I believe!

  3. #3
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    Is it possible that we can have three receivers on the field at once that go by the abbreviations D.A.?

  4. #4
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    Lets hope he can stay injury free, I do not see the Rams having a whole lot of patience regarding Donnie.?
    On the other hand, it sounds as if Avery is one of the Rams more explosive WR's, which isnt a tall order with the lack of speed at the position. But Avery has never had the opportunity to work with a QB as good as Bradford, so we will have to wait and see on that one.?
    I have a feeling the Rams will only have one of DX or Avery for most of this season. Its a 50/50.?
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -08-19-2011 at 12:42 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    I would personally have no problem if the Big Boy didnt play a single snap in preseason. I dont believe that Jackson needs to take even one incremental hit beyond what is needed to get him through the season. I have never bought the argument that a back needs to get his body conditioned to taking hits.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  6. #6
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    Agreed, no Jax till the opener would be great .... and that is beautiful news about Avery. I really want him to make it back, but like Dog 39 said, I don't see the Rams having a lot more patience.
    If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    "Is it possible that we can have three receivers on the field at once that go by the abbreviations D.A.?"

    That would be awesome. If they are productive we could have opposing defenses come to the "D.A.'s Office "!
    Last edited by svh01; -08-19-2011 at 08:25 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Avery Back in Action ..

    Man, can Avery please stay healthy....

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