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Rams Notebook: Avery Gets In Game, Looks Set For Opener

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  • Rams Notebook: Avery Gets In Game, Looks Set For Opener

    RAMS NOTEBOOK: Avery gets in game, looks set for opener


    Looks like there's no doubt about wide receiver Donnie Avery's availability for the Rams' Sept. 13 regular-season opener in Seattle. Avery, widely projected as the Rams' No. 1 wide receiver this season, returned to action against Kansas City in Thursday's Governor's Cup game at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Avery started Thursday and was in for several plays during the first two series of the game. He had no catches and no passes thrown his way. Avery suffered a fractured foot in the Rams' Aug. 7 scrimmage at Lindenwood University. At the time, coach Steve Spagnuolo described it as a 4-to-6 week injury. Today marks four weeks since the injury.

    Also making his preseason debut for St. Louis was defensive tackle Adam Carriker. A first-round pick in 2007, Carriker suffered a sprained ankle in the Lindenwood scrimmage. Carriker still doesn't have his starting job back, however. Gary Gibson started in Carriker's place, with Carriker entering the game on the Rams' first defensive series of the second quarter.

    But Carriker didn't make it through the night unscathed. He left in the second half with a shoulder injury.


    With Thursday's victory, the Rams posted only their fourth winning preseason in 15 years in St. Louis. That may or may not be a good thing, because in two of the three previous winning preseasons, the Rams coach was fired at the end of the year.

    The Rams finished 3-1 in 1996, with Rich Brooks fired after a 6-10 regular season. The Rams also went 3-1 during the 2005 preseason, with Mike Martz fired after another 6-10 regular season. (Martz coached only the first five games of that regular season, missing the final 11 contests for health reasons.)

    The exception came in 2001, when the Rams went 3-2 in the preseason, getting an extra game because of an appearance in the Hall of Fame game. They went on to win the NFC championship under Martz before losing to New England in Super Bowl XXXVI.


    Samkon Gado, easily the most impressive of the Rams' running backs vying for the No. 2 job, left the game at the end of the first quarter with a rib injury. Gado had six carries for 17 yards while he was in the game, including a 5-yard carry lining up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation.


    Four Rams starters were pregame scratches: QB Marc Bulger (finger), RG Richie Incognito (knee), FB Mike Karney (ankle) and DE Leonard Little (knee). Among the pregame scratches for Kansas City were QB Matt Cassel and LB Zach Thomas.

    Unlike last week's game in Cincinnati, Bulger took part in pregame warm-ups Thursday and looked good throwing the ball. Running back Steven Jackson suited up but didn't play.


    Thursday's matchup featured the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks of the 2008 draft, in Rams defensive end Chris Long and Kansas City defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, respectively. The Rams' strongly considered taking Dorsey before opting for Long. Dorsey has been moved to end from tackle, with the Chiefs switching to a 3-4 front this season.


    At the other end of the draft spectrum, the 2009 Governor's Cup also featured the last player selected in each of the past two drafts — aka Mr. Irrelevant. That dubious distinction went to Rams linebacker David Vobora in 2008 and Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop in '09. Succop kicked three first-half field goals for the Chiefs.


    Entering Thursday's game, the home team had won the last five Governor's Cup contests. ... Cornerback Cord Parks saw extensive action returning punts and kickoffs for the Rams.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Notebook: Avery Gets In Game, Looks Set For Opener

    Don't know about anyone else, but I am thrilled to see Avery back on the field.


    • #3
      Re: Rams Notebook: Avery Gets In Game, Looks Set For Opener

      Originally posted by chucknbob View Post
      Don't know about anyone else, but I am thrilled to see Avery back on the field.
      Lets just hope he's 100% ready and completely healed. We don't need another Adam Carriker situation.


      • #4
        Re: Rams Notebook: Avery Gets In Game, Looks Set For Opener

        Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
        Lets just hope he's 100% ready and completely healed. We don't need another Adam Carriker situation.
        Keeping my fingers crossed... That would be devastating. After Carriker's continued injury plauged career the 07 draft isn't much better than 06. I'm ready for a long season I'll be suprised if we go 6-10. We just lack the talent.( Atleast we know we'll be in games and not be getting blown out every week.... I hope )


        Related Topics


        • r8rh8rmike
          Rams' Avery Eyes Quick Return
          by r8rh8rmike
          Rams' Avery eyes quick return
          BY JIM THOMAS

          It was a two-touchdown day for Donnie Avery, albeit for the Rams' scout team Tuesday at Rams Park.

          "Hands still work. Feet still work," Avery reported, with a grin.

          The mere fact that he was running routes less than three weeks after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot rates as some of the best news of the preseason.

          "Like I tell my teammates, I run fast but I heal fast," Avery said.

          Avery was injured Aug. 7 during the Rams' scrimmage at Lindenwood University. "One of the 'DBs' landed on the back foot trying to make the tackle, and I got my foot caught up with his," Avery said.

          The original projection was a four- to six-week recovery, which at the worst would have sidelined him for two regular-season games. Now it looks as if Avery may be out for only four weeks — tops. He isn't expected to play Thursday in Cincinnati, and his availability remains uncertain for the Sept. 3 preseason finale against Kansas City.

          But as for the regular-season opener in Seattle — any doubt about playing there?

          "Zero doubt," Avery said. "I know I work hard. And I knew it wasn't going to take me four to six weeks. So it was just in my head that I was going to come back sooner."

          Avery has done a lot of running this week and looks as fast as ever, prompting jokes that the time off has prevented him from getting camp legs. His two TD catches Tuesday came during a red zone period.

          "It feels great," he said. "Right now, it's just a mental thing. I can't even feel it when I practice out there."

          Nonetheless, Avery has yet to be officially cleared to play in a game. When asked what must happen to get cleared, Avery replied, "Whatever the trainer says, and the dean says."

          The dean?

          "We call Spags the dean," Avery said. "He runs everything, so ..."

          So coach Steve Spagnuolo is now the dean of Rams Park.


          Defensive tackle Adam Carriker appears to be close to returning from a sprained left ankle, an injury he suffered in the Lindenwood scrimmage. On Tuesday, Carriker got a fair amount of work during 11-on-11 periods, even though it came with the third-string defense.

          Spagnuolo seems to be old-school on such matters, or perhaps he's trying to make a point that Carriker must work his way back into the starting lineup. Either way, Carriker — a first-round draft pick in 2007 — said he's OK with his current practice status. Gary Gibson, who started the first two preseason games in Carriker's absence, continues to work with the starting defense.

          "Gibby's been out there practicing with the '1s,' "...
          -08-26-2009, 04:28 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Little Reports No Pain In Knee, Avery Catching TD Passes
          by r8rh8rmike
          08.25.2009 1:55 pm
          Little reports no pain in knee, Avery catching TD passes
          By Jim Thomas
          St. Louis Post-Dispatch

          Despite yesterday’s scare, St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little reports no pain in his right knee. In fact coach Steve Spagnuolo said Little has been lobbying him to play in Thursday’s preseason game in Cincinnati. But parroting the head coach’s official description of his status, Little said he is “day-to-day.” In Tuesday’s practice, Little did individual work but was held out of “team” drills. An MRI exam showed Little merely had a sprained knee according to Spagnuolo.

          Meanwhile, wide receiver Donnie Avery took part in 11-on-11 drills in practice Tuesday, albeit as a member of the Rams’ scout team. Avery looked fast as ever, caught two touchdown passes in a red zone session, and told reporters it’s a certainty that he will play in the regular-season opener Sept. 13 in Seattle. Avery suffered a fractured foot in the Aug. 7 scrimmage at Lindenwood University.

          Defensive tackle Adam Carriker is close to returning from an ankle injury that also took place in the Lindenwood scrimmage. Carriker took a turn in 11-on-11 work Tuesday, albeit with the third-string defense. Carriker said it’s only a matter of strengthening the ankle before he’s ready to play.

          Little, Carriker and Avery are not expected to play against the Bengals.
          -08-25-2009, 06:07 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Chris Long Helped Rescue Rams' Drafft Class Of 2008
          by r8rh8rmike
          Chris Long helped rescue Rams' draft class of 2008

          BY JIM THOMAS
          Sunday, April 17, 2011

          To a man, the Rams' defensive coaching staff wanted to take Louisiana State defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2008 draft. But Billy Devaney and then-head coach Steve Linehan preferred defensive end Chris Long of Virginia.

          Not only that, but team presidents John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt were averse to paying big dollars for a defensive tackle. So Long was the pick for St. Louis, with Dorsey going three spots later to Kansas City.

          Conventional wisdom says it takes three seasons to begin to determine the true worth of a team's NFL draft, and the '08 draft — Devaney's first with the Rams — is inextricably tied to Long.

          After the '09 season, a D or even an F grade would have been a realistic assessment of the Class of '08. Although he rallied over the second half of the '09 season, Long didn't have a sack over the first half of the year. Some were attaching the word "bust" to Long's name.

          But then came Leonard Little's retirement and Long moved to left end — his natural position. He enjoyed a breakout 2010 campaign, and his disruptive play went beyond his career-high 8½ sacks because he also had team-high totals of 16 quarterback hits and 21 QB pressures. He was in the backfield a lot. Coupled with a near-career year by right end James Hall, the Rams improved their sack total by 18 over '09 — tying Detroit for the largest increase in the league.

          Dorsey, by the way, hasn't made much of an impact in Kansas City, although he has been miscast for part of his time there playing in a 3-4 front. Ideally, he's a "3-technique" tackle in a 4-3 alignment.

          As for Long …

          "He's proving to be a good pick," said a longtime NFL coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I never really thought he was the second pick in the draft. I thought he was over-drafted. But maybe he lives up to the billing. In 2010, he was really beginning to be a player that excelled."

          If that's the case, Long can help save the Class of 2008 from being lumped in with the draft classes of preceding years — classes that included the likes of Adam Carriker, Brian Leonard, Tye Hill, Joe Klopfenstein, Alex Barron and Jimmy Kennedy in the first and second rounds.

          Coupled with the aging and eventual departure of the Greatest Show on Turf skill players, those draft classes helped bury the Rams in the standings. Without Long's noticeably improved play last season, there's not a lot to like about the team's Class of '08.

          Although Devaney was a year removed from gaining the title of general manager, he still ran the draft that year and had a ton of input.

          Next to no impact

          Two of the eight players drafted by the Rams that year — fourth-round...
          -04-17-2011, 09:44 AM
        • eldfan
          Rams' Avery gets back up to speed
          by eldfan
          Rams' Avery gets back up to speed
          BY JIM THOMAS

          One of the criticisms of the Rams' draft was that they didn't select a speedster at wide receiver, someone who could stretch secondaries and keep defenses from ganging up on Steven Jackson.

          But a familiar and occasionally maligned name from the recent past, Donnie Avery, still could fill that bill.

          Avery says he's "a good 92-93 percent" recovered from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The injury, which occurred in the Rams' Aug. 26 preseason game in New England, cost him the entire 2010 season.

          For most of this lockout-marred offseason, Avery has been rehabbing and training in his hometown of Houston, working with a strength coach and a track coach.

          "Just trying to get back up to speed," he said. "Because you know with injuries like this, a lot of guys, they lose their quick-twitch muscles."

          And Avery has had more quick-twitch than all but a select few human beings. His speed has been his greatest asset.

          "Last week, I clocked a 4.34," Avery said after Wednesday's player-organized Rams practice at Lindenwood University.

          That's nearly one-tenth of a second off Avery's personal best in the 40-yard dash — 4.27 seconds — but still a sizzling time. Since he's not 100 percent healthy, the NFL lockout actually has been a positive for Avery.

          "It's been a great thing for me," Avery laughed. "I didn't want to miss OTAs, but the lockout is postponing them so it's given me more time to be healthy."

          In normal times, the Rams would be in the third week of the spring practices, also known as organized team activities, and Avery might have been tempted to rush back into action. But with the lockout he has been able to ease back in, minimizing the possibility of setbacks.

          He was part of the Houston workouts prior to the draft that involved Sam Bradford and many of the team's receivers, and is taking part in the Lindenwood sessions. But these workouts are shorter and more relaxed than minicamps, and Avery can go at his own pace.

          Besides working to get his knee right, Avery has changed his diet.

          "I slimmed down a little bit," Avery said. "I got up to 203 (pounds) but I didn't feel comfortable with it. So right now I'm like 190, 191. It's like 3.8 percent body fat. For dinner (Tuesday) night, I had 4.2 ounces of fish, 2.2 cups of brown rice, and a cup of green beans. So it's training right, eating a lot of proteins, and just working on my speed."

          With a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels and a new scheme, the Rams drafted two wide receivers last month in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. But Avery said he didn't have much of a reaction either way when the picks were made.
          -05-26-2011, 11:53 AM
        • RamWraith
          Rams season will start on even keel
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas
          Saturday, Aug. 30 2008
          There are some at Rams Park who believe 2-2 is the perfect preseason record.
          That way, you don't get too carried away with success or failure in August. You
          realize there are things to work on, but also can point to progress in other

          Which just about sums up the Rams' 2008 exhibition campaign.

          Defensively, the work of the line was one of the bright spots. End Leonard
          Little, with two preseason sacks, appears totally recovered from season-ending
          toe surgery last fall. Backups Victor Adeyanju and James Hall had strong camps
          and good preseasons.

          Rookie Chris Chamberlain, a seventh-round draft pick from Tulsa, led the squad
          with 18 tackles and three pass breakups. Former rookie free agent Quinton
          Culberson was impressive enough that he appears to have beaten out Chris Draft
          for the starting job at strongside linebacker. In the secondary, versatile Ron
          Bartell filled in well at cornerback for the injured Fakhir Brown.

          Overall, the starting defense yielded only one preseason touchdown — in the
          third quarter against Baltimore. Coordinator Jim Haslett's unit also was
          impressive in the red zone, yielding only two TDs in 12 red zone opportunities
          for the opposition in the first three preseason games. (The Chiefs, however,
          went three for three in the red zone Thursday.)

          But there were concerns as well. The defense did not come up with a single
          takeaway this preseason.

          Defensive linemen Chris Long and Adam Carriker — the team's No. 1 draft picks
          in 2008 and 2007, respectively — made very few plays. Sure, there were
          extenuating circumstances: Carriker is coming off shoulder surgery and spends a
          lot of his time at nose tackle simply trying to tie up blockers. Long is making
          the adjustment from a college 3-4 to an NFL 4-3.

          In addition, there are concerns in the secondary, where Brown (shoulder) and
          free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring) did not play in the preseason because
          of injuries. The Rams think Atogwe will be ready for the Sept. 7 season opener
          in Philadelphia, but there are no guarantees. At least Atogwe practiced last
          week; Brown hasn't done any "team" drills since the injury occurred July 25.

          On offense, the Rams finally ended their 2 1/2-year drought of not scoring a
          preseason TD by the first unit. After two shaky starts, quarterback Marc Bulger
          was razor-sharp against Baltimore. Wide receiver Torry Holt didn't get a lot of
          work in preseason play, but his knee problems of the past two seasons weren't
          an issue. Quietly, that was among the best news in camp.

          Even with questions about left tackle Orlando Pace's availability and
          -08-31-2008, 08:07 AM