As the Rams have been moving forward in training camp there's on player who hasn't been moving along with them, and his name is Donnie Avery. He has been a forgotten man over the last couple of weeks. He has missed the majority of training camp so far. This is due to injuries, as he has been battling a knee and a hamstring problem. The time he is missing is very valuable, because right now Donnie is on the fringe. He is one of 3 guys, Danario Alexander and Mardy Gilyard are the other two, battling for the 6th and possibly 7th spot as well. He needs to start playing and playing well or he might not make the team. My thoughts on the Avery situation after the jump.
Let me start by saying that if I was the GM and the season started today, Donnie Avery would be cut. Even if we kept 7 receivers I would choose Mardy and Danario over him right now. I would choose Danario over Donnie because of his great raw physical skills and his size, (6' 5", 215 lbs). I would choose Mardy over Avery mainly due to the fact that Gilyard is showing great play on special teams so far in camp. If you are going to be a 7th receiver on a team you have to be able to play special teams, and that's something Avery hasn't done in his career. Another reason I would cut Avery right now is the fact that Avery is 27 years old. Now that is not old at all for a WR, but compared to Alexander and Gilyard, 23 and 24 respectively, he is the elder statesman. Avery by the way is in no way a NFL veteran. He is entering his third year in the NFL, after his season ended due to injury last year.
Even though I would cut him now, he still has every chance to make the final cut. One thing in his advantage is that he has something that now one else on the WR corps have. Avery has that blazing speed that makes GMs drool at the combine and fans jump out of their seats. In mid July, it was reported that he ran a sub 4.3 forty. This may not be as great of an advantage as it seems. One thing to keep in mind is, even though he has great speed, he is not the Ram's best deep threat option. Danario Alexander is. Furthermore, one of McDaniels' favorite words for offense is "stressing" the defense instead of stretching it. That means that the Ram's aren't really looking for speed from there receivers. They would prefer good hands and crisp route running over speed. From what I've seen Avery can run routes well, but at times, his hands have been questionable. He will have to show improved hands and good route running over the next few weeks.
In order to make the Ram's final roster, Avery will have to start showing that he is healthy, show that he has knowledge of the playbook, and he will have to play well in the preseason games, starting this Saturday against the Titans. As for the first order of business, Avery has started to practice again and that's a positive sign for his health. He is also going to play Saturday to the best of my knowledge. Now my question is will he get time with the first team offense. It has been reported that the Rams will play their starters for a while longer in this weeks game than last weeks. Whether or not Avery gets playing time with Bradford at QB will be a telling sign of what the coaches think of Avery. There is no doubt that this is a very important time for Donnie Avery, because right now, in my opinion, he's on the outside looking in.