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News » St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-07-29

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-07-29

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-07-29
The word came down during the Rams' first full-pads practice of the summer Saturday morning: second-round pick Donnie Avery had agreed to terms on a four-year contract and was on the field for the afternoon practice.

"It's good to get that one out of the way," coach Scott Linehan said.

Showing his desire to get to camp, the wide receiver arrived in the Mequon area Friday so he would be close by when the contract was done. Because of that, he would be able to sign the papers, take his physical and be on the field after missing just two practices.

"That's pretty minimal damage," Linehan concluded.

Avery's suitcases, with all his belongings, traveled on the team plane to Wisconsin Thursday because he expected to be signed on time to make the trip. When that didn't happen, Avery was left back in St. Louis. But not for long. He arranged his own trip, flew into Milwaukee Thursday night, and checked into the Radisson Hotel, about eight miles from Concordia University.

"I was disappointed it didn't get done, but I wanted to be there when it was final so I would be close by," he said. "I knew it wouldn't take that long."

In the interim, Avery was doing sit-ups in his room and running outside the hotel. He also took some buses to nearby shops to get clothes and toiletries.

Avery and Keenan Burton, the team's fourth-round pick, are expected to contribute immediately to the offense. Burton has had two good practices, and while he wasn't as spectacular Saturday morning as he was Friday afternoon, he had an excellent block that sprung free free-agent running back Lance Ball on a nice run around right end.

Quarterback Marc Bulger has been impressed with both players. "Keenan has come in with a great attitude," Bulger said. "He wants to learn and will give us some juice in the passing game. There's no arrogance about him. Donnie was the same way in the spring."

The competition promises to be intense at receiver. Second-year player Derek Stanley has made some big catches in the first two practices, and the passing game with Al Saunders as offensive coordinator is being executed at a quick tempo with the ball coming out quickly.

"We want to keep me upright this year, but it's not just on the line, it's on me to get rid of the ball and know my reads and get through my progressions," Bulger added." Today, I didn't do it a couple of times, and Al was on me in a second. I think it will become ingrained in me, and everyone's finishing plays."

Said wide receiver Torry Holt, "Al is a terrific teacher. He is a tremendous motivator and demands excellence. I think the guys are feeling it and we are getting better. It's a vertical game; it's fast. The tempo is good so it's exciting. I think everybody on the offensive side is enjoying it right now."

Everyone that is, except running back Steven Jackson, who remains out of camp in his attempt to get a new contract.

"Steven is the guy," Holt said. "He is our horse. We will go as far as he takes us. I'm hoping he will get here real soon. I know business is business. I hope to see him soon, because once he gets back in, it's on."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 29, 2008

Clifton Ryan Name: Clifton Ryan
Position: DL
Age: 24
Experience: 2 years
College: Michigan State
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