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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

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/04/2009

    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.

    PRESEASON SUCCESS

    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.

    INJURY UPDATE

    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.

    SITTING IT OUT

    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.

    LONG VS. DORSEY

    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.

    VOBORA VS. SUCCOP

    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.

    RAM-BLINGS

    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.

    Comment


    • #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.

      Comment


      • #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 )

        Comment

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        • r8rh8rmike
          Rams' Avery Eyes Quick Return
          by r8rh8rmike
          Rams' Avery eyes quick return
          BY JIM THOMAS
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          08/26/2009

          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.

          CARRIKER WORKS

          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, 05:28 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, 07:07 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, 10:44 AM
        • RamWraith
          Rams season will start on even keel
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          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
          areas.

          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, 09:07 AM
        • MauiRam
          Avery makes TD catch in return to action ..
          by MauiRam
          BY BILL COATS
          Sunday, August 21, 2011 12:15 am

          Although nearly a year has passed since Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery had played in a football game, he wasn't experiencing any butterflies before Saturday night's preseason contest against Tennessee.

          "Naw," Avery said. "I was just ready to get out there, let the adrenaline flow and just make plays."

          Gaining his first action of the preseason, Avery produced two catches for 23 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown in the Rams' 17-16 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

          "It was a long time coming," Avery said. "This time last year I was sitting on the side, hurting. I'm glad to be back."

          Avery, a second-round draft pick in 2008, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last Aug. 26 in an exhibition game at New England. It cost him the entire season.

          He sat out last week's preseason opener vs. Indianapolis as he took a training-camp break to rest the knee. He returned to practice this week and said after Saturday's contest his knee "feels great."

          "I'm really proud of Donnie. I'm happy for him," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He had a little setback in training camp, but he's back now."

          A healthy Avery would provide a boost in the system that new coordinator Josh McDaniels has brought.

          "Definitely with this offense," said quarterback A.J. Feeley, who tossed the TD pass to Avery. "The more weapons you can have, especially vertical threats and guys running down the field, it's always nice."

          Avery's score early in the third quarter trimmed Tennessee's lead to 16-14.

          "It was a hitch," Avery explained. "I saw the safety in the box, so my eyes lit up. I saw (Feeley's) eyes light up, and we connected."

          A 14-yard catch by Avery was wiped out by a penalty. But, Feeley noted, Avery "definitely left his mark tonight.

          "To fight back from a serious injury like that last year and in his first action here to get a touchdown and get a couple of catches ... you could tell that he was eager," Feeley added. "He wanted to prove something."

          Twelve wideouts are in camp, vying for probably six spots on the regular-season roster. The competition in fierce, but Avery said he tries to keep his focus solely on what he can do.

          "I just look at it like, just do my job, play my role," said Avery, who averaged 50 receptions and 631 yards in his first two NFL seasons. He had eight touchdowns.

          "He looked like the same guy," Feeley said. "You wouldn't know that he came off a serious knee injury. It's a tribute to him in the offseason and what he's done, considering the lockout and rehabbing and getting himself ready. He always...
          -08-21-2011, 11:09 AM
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