Get the Blackhawks Championship Package  Give the Gift of SI
SI.com Home
Posted: Friday September 18, 2009 4:55PM; Updated: Friday September 18, 2009 5:24PM

Rams' Avery wants kickoff job

Story Highlights

Donnie Avery wants to keep returning kickoffs, as well as playing wide reciever

He fumbled the opening kickoff of the season for the Rams last weekend

Running back Samkon Gado returned the only other kickoff for the Rams

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
NFL Team Page

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Donnie Avery wants to keep returning kickoffs for the St. Louis Rams besides playing wide receiver, despite fumbling the opening kickoff of the season.

The gaffe set up the Seahawks at the Rams' 19 yard line, but the defense prevented a score with an interception in the end zone.

Running back Samkon Gado returned the only other kickoff last week for St. Louis. Avery said he knew he had made a mistake and he found out about it Monday during evaluations.

"Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) wrote on paper, 'spin equals fumble so don't spin,"' Avery said with a laugh.

No official word has been given if Avery, who is in his second season, will return kickoffs in Sunday's game at Washington. He returned one kick in 2008 for 21 years. He also returned kickoffs in college at Houston.

"If they call my name, I'll go in there," Avery said. "I wasn't surprised when they asked me to do last week. It's fun back there. If he puts me back there, he puts me back there."

He said returning will not detract him from receiving duties. He pointed out Washington's Antwaan Randle El and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson both return punts.

But it's receiving where St. Louis and Spagnuolo want Avery to make his mark.

The Rams' receiving corps led by Avery is short on experience. Seattle frequently put eight men up front to thwart the run, almost daring St. Louis to pass.

Those types of defense will be common this season, running back Steven Jackson said.

However, he predicts Avery, along with the other young receivers, will grow as the season progresses and force defenses to change their thinking.

"Everyone comes along differently. Donnie had success last year in his rookie year, but in this league, guys don't go off one year. A lot of defensive coordinators want you to prove yourself over time," Jackson said. "I'm going to do my best to make sure they respect the running game and hopefully get some one-on-ones on the outside. Those guys are talented enough to take advantage of the one-on-ones."

Spagnuolo said he believes Avery will benefit and prosper. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur agreed.

"I think Donnie's a hard worker. He's a smart football player and he understands how to play the game," Shurmur said. "All those things matched with his great ability are going to make him a great for a long time."

Avery said the offense can get going and score points. The team must limit mistakes and penalties. Last week, the Rams were whistled for 10 penalties.

NOTES: S Craig Dahl (hamstring) and G John Greco (wrist) are out for Sunday and will not make the trip. ... DT Leger Douzable was signed to the practice squad. Douzable spent the first week on the New York Giants' active roster. To make room for Douzable, LB K.C. Asiodu was release from the practice squad. ... the Rams spent Friday's practice working on red zone offense with an emphasis on third-down, short yardage and goal-line plays. ... Spagnuolo pumped in the Redskins' fight song loudly during practice to prepare the players for Sunday. "I guess I'll take credit for that one. I've heard it a lot," said Spagnuolo, who has previously coached with Philadelphia and the New York Giants. Both teams are in the same division as the Redskins.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

ADVERTISEMENT
SI.com
Hot Topics: Boston Marathon NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs LaMarcus Aldridge Dwyane Wade Carlos Gomez
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint