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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, May. 15 2008

    Seven-time Pro Bowler Torry Holt wasn't inclined to grant fellow wide receiver
    Donnie Avery, the Rams' second-round pick in last month's draft, much latitude
    during minicamp this past weekend. "He came to me a couple of times, shouting
    at me," Avery reported.

    Asked his early impressions of Avery, Holt said tersely, "Right now, I don't
    have any impressions of Donnie Avery. ... Hopefully, during training camp he'll
    show me something."

    It's not that Holt is unhappy with Avery; he just wants to let him know that he
    has to prove himself before he can run with the big dogs. Which is fine with
    Avery. "I like that," he said. "When other people are strict on me, it brings
    the best out of me."

    After spending the 33rd overall selection on Avery, the Rams are counting on
    getting his best. That starts with his running ability: He can zip 40 yards in
    4.29 seconds, giving the Rams a much-needed downfield threat.

    The added speed makes "a big difference," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We can
    put him inside against some nickel defensive backs or some linebackers. But at
    the same time, he's going to have to ... do some other things, because if they
    know every time he comes in that we're going deep, they have answers for that."

    The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Avery proved at the University of Houston that he
    offers more than a sprinter's package, especially during a senior season in
    which he piled up 91 catches, a Conference USA-record 1,456 yards and seven
    touchdowns.

    "He's not just a pure track guy," said Billy Devaney, the Rams' vice president
    of player personnel. "This guy is a legitimate wide receiver also."

    Houston had won a total of eight games in the four seasons before coach Art
    Briles arrived in 2003. Avery, a Houston native, turned down offers from more
    prominent football programs to stay at home.

    Briles "told me we'd do some special things," Avery said. The Cougars went 3-8
    in Avery's freshman year, then compiled a 24-15 mark over the next three
    seasons, concluding each with a bowl appearance.

    Briles, who left Houston for Baylor after the 2007 season, ran a wide-open,
    pass-heavy offense that allowed Avery and his fellow wideouts almost free rein.
    In fact, Briles didn't even have a playbook; schemes were drawn up in the
    meeting room, then transferred to the playing field.

    In stark contrast, Avery was seen lugging offensive coordinator Al Saunders'
    massive playbook around Rams Park. It's the size of a large metropolitan area's
    phone book.

    "They're throwing a lot at me; in meetings, everything sounds foreign," Avery
    said. "But you've got to understand that language so you can be on the right
    page."

    Trent Green, brought in as a free agent to back up Bulger, likened Avery's
    challenge to that faced last year by Dolphins teammate Ted Ginn Jr., also a
    rookie wide receiver. "That was his thing, too, his speed," Green said. "And I
    think initially he wasn't able to show that because he was thinking so much. As
    the season developed, he got more comfortable. ...

    "This is a multi-set, multi-movement, multi-play offense, and the volume is
    tremendous. So, in order to utilize that speed the way (Avery) should, he's
    going to have to really spend time in the playbook and get as many mental reps
    as he can."

    The Rams obviously believe he can adapt. They passed up more heralded
    prospects, such as Michigan State's Devin Thomas and California's DeSean
    Jackson, to make Avery the first wideout taken in the draft.

    That move was labeled a "reach" by some pundits, a notion that Avery shrugged
    off. "I don't listen what the experts say; it's what the Rams say," he said. "I
    knew I had the talent to be the first wide receiver picked, and they picked me."

    Avery, 23, also has to deal with the perception by some that he was chosen to
    be Isaac Bruce's replacement. It doesn't help that the last time the Rams had
    the 33rd selection in the draft was 1994, when they took Bruce out of Memphis
    State.

    The popular Bruce, 35, was released Feb. 28 after 14 seasons with the team. He
    signed with rival San Francisco two days later, taking with him 942 receptions
    and 14,109 yards. He ranks among the top six in NFL history in both categories.

    "I followed (Bruce) when I was in middle school and high school, and Torry
    Holt, too," Avery said. Still, he isn't allowing circumstances or comparisons
    to heap pressure on him. "Naw," he said. "I've just got to come in and do my
    thing."

    And perhaps win over Holt in the process.

    RAMBLINGS

    The Rams have begun to tweak their roster in the wake of minicamp last weekend.
    Three undrafted rookies have been released: Louisiana-Lafayette defensive end
    Rodney Hardeway, Virginia Tech wide receiver Josh Hyman and Kansas fullback
    Brandon McAnderson.

    Also, wideout Shaine Smith has been re-signed as a free agent. Smith, 6-2 and
    189 pounds, was in training camp with the Rams last summer as an undrafted
    rookie out of Hofstra. He caught one pass for 12 yards in the preseason before
    being cut Aug. 31.

    Smith was signed to the New York Jets' practice squad Dec. 5 and released April
    25.


  2. #2
    MSRamman Guest

    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Thanks for the article, Wraith... I hope the comments by Torry indicate he's going to take it upon himself to mentor this kid rather than ostracize him. No one knows for sure what kind of receiver Avery can become, but if Holt works with him, along with Saunders, he should be able to reach his full NFL potential, whatever that may be.

  3. #3
    C-Mob 71's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Good point, Avery's success depends heavily on Holt's willingness to guide him.

    I hope no one is looking for Avery to become the next Bruce, while it would be fantastic and I'm not saying Avery can't become a future star, Isaac Bruce was a special, special player.

    By the way, after initially being shocked by Avery, I'm coming around and loving this pick. The Rams need a deep threat in the worst way, and worst case scenario Avery comes in and runs go routes all game just to keep the defense honest.

  4. #4
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    I hope that Torry Holt is mentoring DREW BENNETT also.

  5. #5
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    dont forget the real WR guru guys..a certain Henry Ellard...if Avery(or Burton) is gonna make it anywhere in the NFL, then its gonna be at the Rams,cant think of anywhere else where he would get the amount of help to achieve it than with us!

  6. #6
    RamOfDenmark Guest

    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    I think Avery could be very productive in his first year. I see him in an Az-Zahir Hakim role and I still don't understand the Bruce comparisons - isn't just about the only thing they have in common the fact that they were both picked #33? Like I said though, Avery could be a positive surprise in terms of production in his first year even though WR's in general very rarely show good production in their rookie season.

    What I'm not sure about is if Avery can ever develop into a great #1 or #2 receiver that can go up against the other teams best CB's and still be productive. That's why I think some people were questioning if he should be the first WR picked in the entire draft.

    We'll see what happens, I hope to see a couple of homerun plays by him this year.

  7. #7
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    I'm sure Holt is ticked at the handling of Bruce, but I certainly hope he's mature enough to understand life goes on and the team needs him to mentor both Avery and Burton.

    I think he's mature enough to understand that........I just hope I'm right.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I'm sure Holt is ticked at the handling of Bruce, but I certainly hope he's mature enough to understand life goes on and the team needs him to mentor both Avery and Burton.

    I think he's mature enough to understand that........I just hope I'm right.
    I hear what you are saying but when it comes to mentoring someone, how much effort do you really think these guys "mentor" someone?

    Mike Rosenthal is an announcer on the local ESPN station here in Austin. He played as an Offensive Lineman for the Vikings and the Giants...played 9 years in the league. Someone called in and said that someone would mentor Pacman in Dallas and he said that mentoring in the NFL is almost non-existent. Just repeating what I heard.

  9. #9
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    I hear what you are saying but when it comes to mentoring someone, how much effort do you really think these guys "mentor" someone?

    Mike Rosenthal is an announcer on the local ESPN station here in Austin. He played as an Offensive Lineman for the Vikings and the Giants...played 9 years in the league. Someone called in and said that someone would mentor Pacman in Dallas and he said that mentoring in the NFL is almost non-existent. Just repeating what I heard.
    And that's legitimate. They're pros; they shouldn't need mentoring. Therefore, swap the verb "mentor" with "stay the flip out of his way."

    If he doesn't take an active role in rookie progression, so be it. But he durn well better not take an active role in rookie regression either.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  10. #10
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    We brought Green in to help Marc with the new offense. It's not mentoring, but these guys need to help each other. I hope Holt has sized Avery up and this is the best approach to get him working hard.

  11. #11
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    think it depends on the position into how much "mentoring" is needed...to be drafted they need to know how to play the game for sure,but theres things in the NFL that they just aint gonna have experience of in college...
    im guessing, but i suspect its mainly gonna be route running that Avery will need to improve on with the Rams,he sure could outrun Holt in a straight sprint!

    like Hub touched on tho.. aslong as Holt does no harm to the rookies..we got Ellard to give them what they need!

  12. #12
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I'm sure Holt is ticked at the handling of Bruce, but I certainly hope he's mature enough to understand life goes on and the team needs him to mentor both Avery and Burton.

    I think he's mature enough to understand that........I just hope I'm right.

    Holt arrived in St.louis and became a star reciever and was mentored by Bruce. I think Holt might like the idea of mentoring a new star(hopefully) reciever. He hasnt really had the chance to mentor a top reciever, hes had Hagans, Stanley, etc. Now he has Avery and Burton and im pretty sure Avery will have good success and hopefully Burton also, but as i was saying, Holt hasnt really ever had a chance till now to pass his knowledge down to 2 new guys who could be the rams future super tandem(im hoping). I believe Avery will be great and learn a lot from Holt and im hoping Burton does as well. I guess i just really hope Holt does a good job, and i dont really have any doubts that he wont.

    And since theres been a lot of talk in this thread how mentoring doesnt really exist anymore, then hopefuly Holt can just show them the right course to take. They were selected not to come in and be taught everything, but i think it'd be good if Holt showed them a thing or two IMO.


    GO RAMS!!!
    Last edited by Tampa_Ram; -05-15-2008 at 02:27 PM.

  13. #13
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    Holt arrived in St.louis and became a star reciever and was mentored by Bruce. I think Holt might like the idea of mentoring a new star(hopefully) reciever. He hasnt really had the chance to mentor a top reciever, hes had Hagans, Stanley, etc. Now he has Avery and Burton and im pretty sure Avery will have good success and hopefully Burton also, but as i was saying, Holt hasnt really ever had a chance till now to pass his knowledge down to 2 new guys who could be the rams future super tandem(im hoping). I believe Avery will be great and learn a lot from Holt and im hoping Burton does as well. I guess i just really hope Holt does a good job, and i dont really have any doubts that he wont.

    And since theres been a lot of talk in this thread how mentoring doesnt really exist anymore, then hopefuly Holt can just show them the right course to take. They were selected not to come in and be taught everything, but i think it'd be good if Holt showed them a thing or two IMO.


    GO RAMS!!!
    Holt doesnt seem like the kind of guy to just leave his team mates hanging. I'm more than sure he's going to mentor these new guys, and do his best to make them good players. He received the same treatment when he was a rookie, it'd be a cruel move if he didn't help them out.

  14. #14
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    I hear what you guys are saying. But for just the sake of argument, there is a difference in this situation. Of all the receivers taken since Holt, none of them were ever more than a #3 or high risk project (St. Paul, Wynn, Crouch, McDonald, Ridgeway, Hagans, Stanley). And only one (Curtis) could be considered a legitimate starter in the NFL, but even he was selected (#74) a round-and-a-half behind Avery.

    This is the first Ram receiver since Holt came to town that is not brought in to complement Holt, but to potentially replace him in long-term, if not within 2 years.

    Assuming Holt's disgruntle media front is true (btw, Avenger Shakespeare makes a good argument for this being much ado about nothing), maybe he too says the difference between Avery and every other receiver brought to St. Louis.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Veteran lets Avery know he has to prove himself

    I can remember when Aaron Rogers was drafted by Green Bay and they asked Brett Farve if he would take him under his wing and show him the ropes. Farve had a simple answer: "nope". That's all he said.

    Mentoring really doesn't exist. Maybe giving hints about what they should do but pro sports are so competitive salary wise anymore, no one wants to help someone who may take their job and money.

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