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St. Louis Rams practice report, 8/17: Avery is back and more receiver talk

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EARTH CITY, MO - JULY 31:  Austin Pettis #83 of the St. Louis Rams practices during training camp at the Russell Training Center on July 31, 2011 in Earth City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
EARTH CITY, MO - JULY 31: Austin Pettis #83 of the St. Louis Rams practices during training camp at the Russell Training Center on July 31, 2011 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Rams wide receivers demanded most of the attention at today's practice session. Back in action for the first time in almost two weeks, all eyes were on Donnie Avery. Players coming and going from practice sessions rarely merits a mention this time of year, but it's a different story with The Speedy One. And just how did Avery do in practice today?

Reports ranged from glowing to skeptical. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo took a very measured tone in his talking points to the press.

I thought he made a couple of nice cuts and a couple of nice catches. So maybe he's getting his feet underneath him, getting a little confident again. He's battled those things, but we're optimistic with Donnie right now.

Avery will get his looks against Tennessee this week, and needs to make the most of them. As someone who has a pretty good sense of talking points, that non-committal coach-speak means nothing guaranteed. 

Rodger Saffold and Jacob Bell were both back practicing today. Mike Sims-Walker took in some drills, but was held out of 11-on-11 work...much to his chagrin

Outside observations...

On hand for the week, ESPN's NFC West blogger Mike Sando spoke highly of a couple clutch Austin Pettis catches. This kid had the jitters last week, understandable for a rookie. I'm really rooting for the guy to make some of those kind of snags this week. 

The Rams dropped RB Eric Wide and picked up RB Chase Reynolds. Montana's all-time touchdowns leader, Reynolds shook loose from the Seahawks squad. He had two 1,500-yard rushing seasons. The former Grizzly runs a 4.58 forty. At 5'11" 201 lbs many wondered about his NFL durability, but he did show some real toughness in camp for the Seahawks. He can also catch a pass. Reynolds has a long, long, long shot ahead of him, especially with Keith Toston running well in the preseason opener.