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Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

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  • Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

    Rams WR Avery struggling with fumbles
    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
    6 hours, 56 minutes ago

    ST. LOUIS (AP)—It’s two games and two turnovers for Donnie Avery(notes), the St. Louis Rams’ second-round pick last year. He realizes more than those who are making him the franchise’s latest scapegoat that it’s two too many.

    Ball security suddenly has become an issue with a player expected to lead the team’s thin and inexperienced wide receiver corps. His fumble at the Washington 5 in the fourth quarter last Sunday cost the Rams dearly in a 2-point loss, and he lost a fumble on a kickoff return to open the season.

    Returning to practice Wednesday was a major relief for Avery, the better to begin redeeming himself.

    “It was great to get back out there,” Avery said. “I understand it’s going to be a long week, but I just need to get ready.”

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he hasn’t lost confidence in Avery, the first wide receiver taken in the 2008 draft and coming off a 53-catch season that was only one off the franchise rookie record set by Eddie Kennison(notes) in 1996. So far, Avery has seven catches for 50 yards for a team that has managed only one touchdown in two games.

    The Rams, who have dropped 12 in a row heading into Sunday’s home opener against the Packers, need his breakaway speed.

    “I know this and I’ve said it before: I love his heart, I love his grit, I love what he’s all about,” Spagnuolo said. “He’ll be fine. We’re banking on him to be fine.”

    Quarterback Marc Bulger(notes) said Avery was tough enough on himself after Sunday’s loss without teammates piling on.

    “We’re going to need him for 14 more games, and he’s too good of a player,” Bulger said. “We can’t let him get down, and he was back out there today looking great.”

    Thus far, Laurent Robinson(notes) has been Bulger’s go-to wide receiver with 11 catches, a 12.8-yard average and the lone touchdown on a 2-yard fade route against the Redskins.

    Avery made several big plays as a rookie, scoring his first touchdown on a 37-yard end around and had six catches for 169 yards including a 69-yard grab against the Patriots. No fumbles, either.

    “I guess you could say when it’s good it’s good, and when it’s bad it’s bad,” said Avery, whose long gain this year is only 16 yards.

    Avery got caught on a spin move on the kickoff return, and hasn’t returned one since, although Spagnuolo wouldn’t say he’d been taken off special teams. The Rams signed return man Danny Amendola(notes) off the Eagles’ practice squad Tuesday, and Amendola could fill both roles this week.

    “It just depends on how quickly we can get him oiled up,” Spagnuolo said. “Until we get to the end of the week, we don’t really know.”

    Redskins safety Chris Horton(notes) put his helmet on the ball after Avery made a 4-yard reception to the Washington 9 early in the fourth quarter last week, and the Redskins recovered at the 7 to preserve a 9-7 lead that held up.

    “They’re just making great plays on the ball, they just got lucky,” Avery said. “You’re not going to be perfect as a receiver.”

    Center Jason Brown(notes) was full go in practice, three days after spraining his right knee. Brown said he’s never missed a practice in his career, let alone a game.

    “My MCL is pretty tender and I have a right ankle that’s pretty tender,” Brown said. “But you’re expected to play through pain.”

  • #2
    Re: Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

    Avery made several big plays as a rookie, scoring his first touchdown on a 37-yard end around and had six catches for 169 yards including a 69-yard grab against the Patriots. No fumbles, either.
    I watched some of his highlights a few days ago and it's easy to forget just how electric and exciting he was last year, especially after seeing his slow start this year.

    He just needs to get back in there, gain some confidence and he'll be fine. Way too much talent to not turn it around.


    • #3
      Re: Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
      I watched some of his highlights a few days ago and it's easy to forget just how electric and exciting he was last year, especially after seeing his slow start this year.

      He just needs to get back in there, gain some confidence and he'll be fine. Way too much talent to not turn it around.
      I couldn't agree more. He caught over 50 balls without fumbling once last year.Both ball security problems & a case of the yips are curable. It's a challenge for both Avery and Shurmur,though.

      I hope The Rams find ways to get DA the ball early vs GB. Ditto for McMichael.Get these guys involved in some positive plays to get the monkey of their back. We can't afford to have talent undermined by a lack of self-confidence.


      • #4
        Re: Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

        Great pickup for us. Brign in a guy with electric and explosive power, just what we need. Can't wait to see how he performs.


        • #5
          Re: Rams WR Avery Struggling With Fumbles

          I like Avery, I really do, but his fumble lost us the game more than any other one play you can point to. With as inept of an offense as we have, a red zone fumble is inexcusible. He's trying to do too much at the wrong times. Until he can relearn ball protection he needs to just make the catch, get his yards and protect the ball. Only fight for the xtra yard or two if it's a crucial 3rd or 4th down. If he can't get it together, he better be ready to slide down the depth chart. Wins won't be coming easy this year and we had that Skins game in the bag and he blew it for us.


          Related Topics


          • Varg6
            Rams' Avery wants kickoff job
            by Varg6
            ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Donnie Avery wants to keep returning kickoffs for the St. Louis Rams besides playing wide receiver, despite fumbling the opening kickoff of the season.

            The gaffe set up the Seahawks at the Rams' 19 yard line, but the defense prevented a score with an interception in the end zone.
            Running back Samkon Gado returned the only other kickoff last week for St. Louis. Avery said he knew he had made a mistake and he found out about it Monday during evaluations.

            "Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) wrote on paper, 'spin equals fumble so don't spin,"' Avery said with a laugh.
            No official word has been given if Avery, who is in his second season, will return kickoffs in Sunday's game at Washington. He returned one kick in 2008 for 21 years. He also returned kickoffs in college at Houston.
            "If they call my name, I'll go in there," Avery said. "I wasn't surprised when they asked me to do last week. It's fun back there. If he puts me back there, he puts me back there."

            He said returning will not detract him from receiving duties. He pointed out Washington's Antwaan Randle El and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson both return punts.

            But it's receiving where St. Louis and Spagnuolo want Avery to make his mark.
            The Rams' receiving corps led by Avery is short on experience. Seattle frequently put eight men up front to thwart the run, almost daring St. Louis to pass.

            Those types of defense will be common this season, running back Steven Jackson said.

            However, he predicts Avery, along with the other young receivers, will grow as the season progresses and force defenses to change their thinking.

            "Everyone comes along differently. Donnie had success last year in his rookie year, but in this league, guys don't go off one year. A lot of defensive coordinators want you to prove yourself over time," Jackson said. "I'm going to do my best to make sure they respect the running game and hopefully get some one-on-ones on the outside. Those guys are talented enough to take advantage of the one-on-ones."

            Spagnuolo said he believes Avery will benefit and prosper. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur agreed.

            "I think Donnie's a hard worker. He's a smart football player and he understands how to play the game," Shurmur said. "All those things matched with his great ability are going to make him a great for a long time."
            Avery said the offense can get going and score points. The team must limit mistakes and penalties. Last week, the Rams were whistled for 10 penalties.

            NOTES: S Craig Dahl (hamstring) and G John Greco (wrist) are out for Sunday and will not make the trip. ... DT Leger Douzable was signed to the practice squad. Douzable spent the first week on the New York Giants' active roster. To make room for Douzable, LB K.C. Asiodu was release...
            -09-18-2009, 07:42 PM
          • r8rh8rmike
            St. Louis Rams' Donnie Avery Works On Durability
            by r8rh8rmike
            St. Louis Rams' Donnie Avery works on durability
            BY BILL COATS

            By trying to simultaneously give up meat and fried foods, Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery bit off more than he could chew. "I got burned out with it," he said. "So I cheat once a week and eat fried food."

            Still, Avery mostly is sticking to chicken and fish, with heavy helpings of fruits and vegetables. He's hoping that an improved diet, plus 10 pounds of muscle added in the weight room, will increase his durability.

            Nagging injuries — from a cracked hip to a stress fracture in his foot to a strained shoulder — hindered Avery during his first two seasons since the Rams made him the first wideout taken (second round, No. 33 overall) in the 2008 draft.

            Avery missed only one game, but he rarely was in top shape on Sundays.

            "It's frustrating, because you know you're not playing at a hundred percent," he said. "But at the same time you're still out there trying help the team as much as possible."

            After the '09 season, coach Steve Spagnuolo suggested that Avery try to bulk up a bit.

            "We talked about that before he left in January, that every time you catch the ball in the NFL, you've got to pop right back up and go in the huddle and make it look like nothing hurts," Spagnuolo said. "You've got to be durable, and one of the things about being durable is getting your body right. I think it's helping him.

            "Now, we don't know; we haven't hit anything yet. But hopefully that'll work out."

            For the organized team activities and the full-squad minicamp under way at Rams Park, the players aren't permitted to don pads, and contact is not allowed, per NFL rule.

            The 5-foot-11 Avery added 14 pounds, up to 198, but wasn't comfortable. "It's kind of trial and error," he said. "I felt a little bit sluggish, so I had to lose some of that weight. I feel good with the 10 right now that I put on."

            Avery's numbers slipped a bit last season from his rookie year. His receptions fell to 47 from 53 and his receiving yardage dipped to 589 from 674. "But my touchdowns went up last year" to five from three, he pointed out. "So that was a positive."

            So far, his spring workouts have been a positive, too. "It's going great," Avery said. "Second year in the (offensive) system, and I feel a lot more comfortable in it."

            Avery made a couple of acrobatic grabs at Friday's practice, which caught Spagnuolo's eye. "He looked really good today," Spagnuolo said. "I've been really happy with what Donnie's done. He'll tell you he's been inconsistent, because he's a pro and he wants to catch every ball. But I think he's doing a nice job."...
            -06-12-2010, 10:46 AM
          • r8rh8rmike
            Avery Embraces All Roles
            by r8rh8rmike
            Avery Embraces All Roles
            Thursday, September 17, 2009

            By Nick Wagoner
            Senior Writer

            The ball seemed to hang in the air forever and a day and for every tick that went by before it landed, an entire stadium and two sidelines full of football players held their breath as though the simple act of breathing would somehow alter the ball’s final destination.

            Rams receiver Donnie Avery ran a simple ‘9’ route, using his blazing speed to get deep in the Redskins secondary. Earlier in the game, he’d run the same route but failed to adjust to a pass that was slightly underthrown.

            This time, Avery knew exactly what to do. As the pass floated down the right sideline, Avery stopped his sprint cold, turned back toward the ball and dived to his left to haul in a 43-yard pass to Washington’s 16.

            It was a play that would ultimately spark the Rams to their first win in 2008 and the one that let the rest of the football world know that Avery was soon to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.

            It’s been almost a year since Avery made that play and a lot has changed since then. So much, in fact, that Avery has essentially put one of the first big plays of his young NFL career out of his mind.

            “That was last year,” Avery said. “Now, we have got to make some 2009 memories.”

            When Avery made that catch last season, he was viewed as a speedster with plenty of potential but he wasn’t considered one of the team’s top targets. When the Rams return to the scene of the crime at FedEx Field in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Avery will come widely regarded as one of, if not the, team’s top receiving option.

            Since then, the Rams have said goodbye to the likes of Torry Holt, Drew Bennett and Dane Looker. Avery has ascended the depth chart under new coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur based on a combination of speed, improved route running ability and a work ethic that has impressed the coaching staff.

            “I’m going to tell you what, he’s one of the harder working guys we’ve got, one of the hardest working guys,” Spagnuolo said. “He is always doing that, whether it’s special teams, whether it’s running a route, whether it’s doing extra conditioning when he was hurt…I have got a lot of respect for him. I think he’s exactly what you need on your team.”

            Avery’s big game in the nation’s capital was the opening act to a month in which he would burst on the scene to earn a nomination for NFC Offensive Rookie of the Month.

            The following week against Dallas, Avery posted his first receiving touchdown on a 42-yard grab and he followed that with a career-best 163 yards on six catches against New England on Oct. 26.

            All told, Avery had 14 catches for 291 yards in the month and served notice to the NFL that he would need to be accounted for in the passing...
            -09-17-2009, 07:52 PM
          • RamWraith
            Season wears on Avery
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Thursday, Dec. 18 2008

            Like many NFL neophytes, Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery hit the rookie wall.
            But he's over it now.

            "I've climbed over the wall," Avery said. "I can't say I went through it. I had
            to spend more time climbing over it."

            The climb was painful. That's because a recent MRI exam revealed that the
            fractured hip Avery suffered July 28 at training camp in Mequon, Wis., never
            fully healed.

            "I've still got a cracked hip," Avery said. "It's not healed."

            After missing a couple of weeks of practice, Avery returned for the Rams' third
            preseason game and has been playing ever since. Avery said he never had an MRI
            when he returned in mid-August.

            "So I've been playing on it the whole season," he said.

            When asked why he came back before the injury was fully healed, Avery said,
            "It's more about trying to be a team player. You help the team as much as
            possible without, I guess, going overboard and ending your career."

            Avery said he got through the discomfort by "psyching" himself up,
            concentrating on drills ... "and then, painkillers, too."

            Avery doesn't think he made the injury worse by playing on it, and has been
            told by team doctors to stay off the hip for eight to 10 weeks once the
            season's over to let the hairline fracture finally heal.

            Even without the injury, Avery showed all the signs in late November and early
            December of hitting the wall. That's the time of year when most college seasons
            are finished.

            "People are right. They say the NFL season is long, and there's training camp,
            and you play more games (than college)," said Billy Devaney, the Rams'
            executive vice president of player personnel. "But it's beyond that.

            "Any senior preparing for the draft, they show up in August for their last year
            in college, go through all of camp, go through their college season. As soon as
            the college season is over, Avery was in the Senior Bowl. They're preparing for
            the (scouting) combine, individual workouts. The draft comes. You've got
            minicamps two weeks later, all the offseason workouts."

            And the NFL season starts. So except for about a three-week period from the end
            of spring practices to the start of training camp, NFL rookies are going nearly
            nonstop for a year and a half.

            "These kids — and I'm talking leaguewide — it is a marathon," Devaney said. "So
            they are really worn down."

            Keep in mind, Avery isn't the biggest wide receiver around, at 5-11, 184
            pounds, making it easier for him...
            -12-18-2008, 04:29 AM
          • RamWraith
            Avery Ready to Make an Impact
            by RamWraith
            Thursday, September 25, 2008

            By Nick Wagoner

            Senior Writer

            Watching as fellow rookie wideouts around the league make a first impression – good or bad – in the first three games, Donnie Avery couldn’t help but wonder when his time would come.

            For every big play or boneheaded play made by Philadelphia ’s DeSean Jackson, Avery made note and hoped for his time to arrive.

            After three games of patiently working through a knee injury and working in limited duty, the time is now.

            Coach Scott Linehan named Avery the starter at the ‘Z’ receiver position on Wednesday and Avery will get his first career NFL start on Sunday against Buffalo.

            “I’m very excited,” Avery said. “I finally get to go out there and just have fun from the start. I don’t have to wait on the sidelines to get my opportunity.”

            When the Rams used the second pick of the second round to make Avery the first receiver taken in this year’s NFL Draft, they had hoped he could work behind starter Torry Holt and occasionally chip in as the third receiver.

            But injuries to Drew Bennett and fellow rookie Keenan Burton are out this week and the Rams offense is searching for a spark. When the Rams drafted Avery, they touted his game breaking speed.

            With that in mind, they are turning to Avery to inject that youth and speed into the offense.

            “That’s what everybody expects when they get drafted,” Avery said. “They want to get out on the field and start. That’s my goal. It’s sad to say people had to get hurt for me to get up there but that’s how it goes.”

            Avery was inactive in the opener against Philadelphia because of a knee injury that came on the heels of his return from a pelvic bone injury suffered early in training camp.

            Against New York in week 2, Avery played a little at receiver and returned a kick for 21 yards. Finally, last week against Seattle , Avery got his chance to work in at receiver, catching three passes for 24 yards.

            “He wants to get on the field and show what he can do,” coach Scott Linehan said. “I just want him to relax and play and use that speed.”

            The transition to a starter in the NFL from leading receiver for the Houston Cougars has not been an easy one.

            In addition to the pressures of being the first wide out taken, Avery is dealing with plenty of new things.

            For one, Houston never had an actual playbook in any of Avery’s time there. The playbook was nonexistent and Avery could move all over the field and get the ball in any given scenario.

            Contrast the lack of a...
            -09-27-2008, 06:31 AM