When former Rams head coach Scott Linehan made Donnie Avery the first wideout taken in the 2008 NFL draft -- ahead of the likes of DeSean Jackson, Eddie Royal, and Malcolm Kelly -- most everyone assumed it was just another addition to the lengthy list of Linehan blunders. Sure, the Rams needed to reload and replace aging legends Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, but was a relative unknown out of the University of Houston who only made a name for himself after an impressive 4.2 40-yard dash time in the combine really the answer?
Surprisingly, halfway through the miserable 2008 season, it looked like Avery might in fact be the future. He was one of the lone bright spots -- briefly earning acclaim on this blog as a sleeper fantasy football acquisition for those desperate for a third option at receiver, and a reputation as a man who could cut a rug after he capped off touchdown catches by doing the robot.
His final stats
weren't stellar (53 catches, 674 yards, 3 TD's) but he was a glimmer of
hope in the franchise's otherwise bleak outlook. He was even named the
team's rookie of the year, ahead of Chris Long.
was then. Now, instead of doing the robot and racking up fantasy
points, Avery is turning the ball over with regularity, dropping
passes, and pickup up so many penalty yards that Steven Jackson is
probably going to punch him in the face the next time Avery draws a
yellow flag after a long running play. At this rate, when he does score
a touchdown, his celebration dance is going to look like Carlton's
moves from the Fresh Prince.
Avery injured his foot training camp and was expected to miss four to six weeks, so there may be a little rust or nagging pain that's causing him to play so poorly. Does that make up for two fumbles in two games, including a crushing turnover inside the Redskins' ten to end a drive this past week? Umm, no.
These days it's Laurent Robinson who appears to be the heir apparent to the Bruce/Holt throne of Rams receivers. He's big, fast, and put a hell of a fake on the Washington cornerback Sunday to catch a fade pass for the Rams' only score.
DA needs to get his act together and fast -- other than the poor play by the offensive line, the receivers are the team's most glaring weakness. Between getting knocked down on every attempt and then getting his passes dropped, Marc Bulger is losing any confidence he had left as an NFL quarterback.
And when he does finally cross the goalline this season, I hope Donnie Avery remembers Carlton. It could be a classic endzone dance.
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