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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

  • #2
    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

    Originally posted by 01d 0rd3r
    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
      Re: Avery Steps to Front.

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


      • #4
        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.


        • #5
          Re: Avery Steps to Front.

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


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              Re: Avery Steps to Front.

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


              • #8
                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.

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


                • #9
                  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
                    Re: Avery Steps to Front.

                    Originally posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER
                    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 Guest; -12-11-2009, 01:36 PM.


                    • #11
                      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
                        Re: Avery Steps to Front.

                        Originally posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER
                        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!


                        Related Topics


                        • 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
                          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
                        • 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
                          Season wears on Avery
                          by RamWraith
                          By Jim Thomas
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          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
                        • macrammer
                          Donny Avery
                          by macrammer
                          34 receptions 454 yards for the Colts.......
                          -11-05-2012, 09:39 AM