The St. Louis Rams' new offensive coordinator has a knack for boosting the stock of wide receivers as well as quarterbacks.
In Denver, WR Brandon Lloyd became a household name after being mostly forgotten for seven seasons with Josh McDaniels at the helm. Responding to a post from Mike Sando on Twitter today, I asked which Rams' receiver was most likely to have a career renaissance under the new offensive system. RamsHerd and Sando both predicted Donnie Avery.
His sophomore season was a rough one in large part due to the Rams' overall struggles. Three quarterbacks, one of whom was Kyle Boller, woeful pass protection and an offense predicated on using only 10 yards of the field at a time, did some damage to Avery's numbers.
Avery and Lloyd are exactly perfect comparisons in terms of playing style, though both have dealt with injuries with some frequency. Both players do work the outside part of the field well, and both are athletic guys. Getting his catch rate up to 50 percent made a big difference for Lloyd. Avery's catch rate last year was 49 percent and 52 percent the year in his rookie year.
Will Avery see more targets in 2011? It would stand to reason that he would. McDaniels makes full use of his downfield threats, hence Lloyd's success this year, something that the West Coast offense didn't do very often. Lloyd was targeted 153 times this season; if Donnie Avery sees targets along those lines and maintains his 50 percent catch rate, he should easily have his best season to date.
As a rookie, Avery was targets 104 times, caught 53 passes for 674 yards. Add 50 targets at that same catch rate, and he would have had 1,000 yards. Hopefully, with a better QB throwing passes his way in a system that values what it is that Avery does, not to mention another year of experience, it's not a stretch to imagine bigger things for Donnie Avery this year...if he can stay healthy.
The possibility of Avery finally putting it all together also could impact the Rams offseason plans to find receiving help. Hmmm...