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  1. #1
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Avery Steps to Front.

    Like most teams in the NFL, attrition begins to take its toll on rosters around the league the deeper into the season you get. That’s certainly held true in the case of the Rams and nowhere is that more evident than at the receiver position.

    At a position that was short on experience entering the season, there’s been only one constant. That constant is a blur in blue, wearing No. 17 named Donnie Avery.

    No matter which quarterback has been under center, the one player that signal caller has been able to count on this year is Avery, the second-year speedster out of Houston.

    “You get comfortable with certain guys,” quarterback Kyle Boller said. “I just started taking reps with these guys again. Donnie is probably one of the ones I’m more comfortable with because he’s been around for training camp and mini camps and all that kind of stuff. I feel like each and every week we get more comfortable with each other. That’s the name of the game. Timing is what it’s all about.”

    After an up and down start to this, his second season in the league, Avery has timed his emergence at a good time.

    It’s difficult for any young player to have an immediate impact but receivers rarely make that much of a difference unless their name is Randy Moss.

    In the offseason, the Rams’ receiver corps went through an extreme makeover, leaving Avery and fellow second year wideout Keenan Burton as the most tenured players at the position on the roster.

    But at least entering the year, Avery was surrounded by players like Laurent Robinson and Burton, guys who had been in the new offense installed by coordinator Pat Shurmur for the entirety of the offseason program.

    Fast forward to now and Avery is the only active wideout on the roster who was also on it when the preseason came to an end.

    Whether he was ready for an expanded leadership role or not, Avery was thrust into it as the most experienced guy on the team.

    “I don’t try to go out and yell during the week or go crazy,” Avery said. “I just try to lead by example and go out there, practice hard and hopefully go into the game, play hard and have success.”

    Since the beginning of the season, the Rams have lost Robinson and Burton to season-ending injuries. Derek Stanley was released to make room for Danny Amendola and the likes of Nate Jones and Tim Carter have made appearances on the roster.
    The Rams have replaced those players with youngsters like Amendola and Brandon Gibson as well as more experienced guys like Ruvell Martin and Jordan Kent.

    But none of those players have been around or have the rapport with the quarterbacks like Avery and all of those receivers are quick to turn to Avery with questions.

    “I just try to calm them,” Avery says of the younger wideouts. “Sometimes, I see them on the sideline with jitters and tell them I was in the same situation last year, just relax and go out there and have fun. It’s just like college except you are playing against grown men instead of teenagers.”

    That’s a lesson Avery learned as a rookie last season. Taken with the team’s pick in the second round, Avery was the first wide receiver drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.

    Any pressure that goes with that lofty status was quickly shrugged off by Avery who became on the team’s most dynamic play makers in a four or five game stretch last October that showcased his blazing speed and big play skills.

    As the season went on, though, Avery began to see more double coverage as teams began to roll safeties over the top so Avery couldn’t use his deep speed to stretch the field.

    “(I was surprised at) just how fast the coverages can change and how good and layered the coverages are,” Avery said. “That part is hard to get a hold of.”

    Still, Avery posted 53 receptions for 674 yards and three touchdowns and added a touchdown on the ground off an end around.

    When the Rams opted to make a coaching change in the offseason, Avery found himself learning his second system in as many seasons.

    That made for another difficult transition but at least this time Avery was learning along with the rest of his teammates.

    Avery was unconcerned with the pressure of being the team’s top receiver after a flurry of moves left him as the team’s most accomplished wideout. His focus was more on the fundamentals and details of the game.

    “I can honestly say I am more relaxed,” Avery said. “I know what I am doing when it comes to reading coverages and trying to get open for the quarterback. Different plays, just by reading the coverages I can now tell if the ball is coming to me or not. Then when it comes down to blocking, I know what man I have to be on whether it’s the safety or getting to the corner. It’s just stuff like that.”

    In addition to his expanded leadership role for the team’s young wideouts, Avery is also making his strides in a larger role on the field.

    After a rough start to this season, Avery has become a reliable target and leads the Rams in touchdown receptions.

    Avery remains confident that staying in a system longer will only make him better in the future.

    “This year, it’s a different system than last year,” Avery said. “I am pretty sure next year will be a lot easier because I will be in the same system for a second year which should make it twice as easy as it is this year.”

    For most of his young career and particularly toward the end of this season, Avery is establishing himself as exactly what the Rams have been looking for: a potential big time play maker with the ability to change the game any time he touches the ball.

    Avery is the fastest Ram and perhaps among the fastest players in the league. Before the 2008 draft, Avery trained with Tennessee running back Chris Johnson and Arizona cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, two players widely considered among the fastest in the league.

    In those training sessions, Avery would regularly push both players to the brink and clock the same time in the 40-yard dash.

    Johnson and Rodgers-Cromartie are viewed as dangerous play makers on their teams now, much in the way Avery is trying to build his reputation. Through 12 games, Avery had caught 90 passes in his young career with 62 of those grabs going for a touchdown or a first down.

    In just the past nine games, Avery has had 27 catches with 22 of those (81.5 percent) going for touchdowns or first downs.

    Maybe it’s not known yet but Avery appears to be on his way to becoming a play maker along the lines of his speedy brethren.

    “Every receiver wants to be a big play guy,” Avery said. “But that’s my role being a smaller receiver than the rest of the guys. I have to try to get down the field and make things happen.”

    -Nick Wagnor
    Stlouisrams.com


  2. #2
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Quote Originally Posted by 01d 0rd3r View Post
    Through 12 games, Avery had caught 90 passes in his young career with 62 of those grabs going for a touchdown or a first down.

    This is something that really caught my eye, That is a pretty good stat to have on your side. I think avery has matured during the course of this year. He will only get better, i see him as a very reliable target through the coming years.

  3. #3
    Steve1984 Guest

    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Going ahead, I think Avery and Gibson will be solid for us.

  4. #4
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    I must be watching a different Avery.

    If Avery is soooooooo fast, why is it he never seems to gain any seperation from DB's?

    There's no doubt he has some talent, but I fear he's a T.O. in the making. A lot of bling, but no substance...

    He'll have to get through a full season without coming up gimpy, and I'd like to see him become a better route runner before I believe he's more than a number 2 reciever.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  5. #5
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Does NW ever write anything but mouthpiece articles for the Rams?

  6. #6
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Avery's opening kickoff fumble to start the season was a sign of things to come for the Rams, in this 2009 campaign.
    His carelessness with the football cost him his return duties. The past few weeks; however, have seen Avery mature into his receiver spot. He's now taking better care of ball and becoming the first option on most plays. Yes it looks like Avery is moving to the fore front for Saint Louis Rams, hopefully he can build upon his late season surge to have quality Pro Bowl type season in 2010.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    Nick_Weasel's Avatar
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Is there a second Donnie Avery on the roster that I'm unaware of?

  8. #8
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    There must definitely be a lack of story line around the Rams right now (yes, I'm being Capt. Obvious). I have and will continue to support Avery and I hold out hope that he will emerge, but "steps to the front" is a bit (and that is being nice) premature for our #1 receiver that is 71st in the league in receptions (37) and 60th in yards (496). I know he's been hurt and this team has issues all over the place on offense that reduce a wide receiver's chance of effectiveness, but I'm not ready to get in line and sing praise.
    Steve

    What you see is what you get, but what you see depends on where you stand.

  9. #9
    Rampingitup Guest

    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    A reliable #1 receiver catches the ball went it hits him in the hands, and wins more of the one on one match ups than he loses. Avery has shown flashes of being able to become a number one receiver. But a flash is only an instant, not a sustained flame. Until he stops dropping so many passes, and starts beating the man on man coverage more consistently I can't see granting him cudos for "Stepping up". Granted he has had some injury issues, but I have simply seen way too many drops even when he is healthy.

  10. #10
    WhinerFan Guest

    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    I must be watching a different Avery.

    If Avery is soooooooo fast, why is it he never seems to gain any seperation from DB's?

    There's no doubt he has some talent, but I fear he's a T.O. in the making. A lot of bling, but no substance...

    He'll have to get through a full season without coming up gimpy, and I'd like to see him become a better route runner before I believe he's more than a number 2 reciever.
    Terrell Owens, for every bit of baggage he carries with him, is a good route-runner, a long-striding big dude who goes over the middle. He has good, deceptive speed, but nowhere near the quickness that Avery has. Also, no matter what else is said about him, he works as hard or harder than any receiver in the league during the off-season, training camp, practices, and during games. He does not take plays off a-la Randy Moss. He does have his share of the dropsies, however, and this might be the only real similarity between he and Avery.

    Avery is, in fact, really fast, but he does not get separation from DB's because he remains a poor route-runner. His best plays have been running "9" (otherwise known as "Go") routes straight up the field, or getting quick passes in "Bubble" screens. As far as the rest of his routes, he has not learned to disguise them, to make them look the same as all the other routes until the last second when he makes his cut. This allows DB's to start covering his route before he even cuts, or at the very least assures they will not be caught flat-footed or moving in the wrong direction. Unless he learns to run better routes, he will always be the guy who can get open down the field on the occasional play, or take the screen or end-around once in a while to catch the defense off guard, but he will never be more than a mediocre #2 or a solid #3 WR.

    If I remember correctly, this was the biggest knock on him coming out of college, and it continues to be a problem in the NFL. At some point, a guy is who he is.
    Last edited by WhinerFan; -12-11-2009 at 05:36 PM.

  11. #11
    Comrade Ram Guest

    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    My biggest problem with Avery is that he never seems to fight for the ball, he just lets the ball come to him, until he learns to try and fight for the ball he will never be a number one receiver in this league.

  12. #12
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    I must be watching a different Avery.

    If Avery is soooooooo fast, why is it he never seems to gain any seperation from DB's?

    There's no doubt he has some talent, but I fear he's a T.O. in the making. A lot of bling, but no substance...

    He'll have to get through a full season without coming up gimpy, and I'd like to see him become a better route runner before I believe he's more than a number 2 reciever.
    Agree brother!
    :ramlogo:

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