Before the St. Louis Rams' Saturday night preseason win over the Tennessee Titans it was an open question whether Donnie Avery, their erstwhile deep threat, would even make the team. The Rams have a crush of dinged-up or unproven wide receivers—Danario Alexander, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Mardy Gilyard—and with Mike Sims-Walker filling the Mark Clayton role Avery's status was uncertain after he missed pretend-week one with lingering knee problems. But after a touchdown catch and some deep near-misses that showed off his intact speed and his ability to separate from defenders his position looks considerably more secure.
Avery caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Feeley in the third quarter after coming into the game late, and nearly won the tip-off for another bomb under heavy pressure later in the quarter. Avery and Josh McDaniels's dynamic new playbook made the Rams' offense look entirely different from the monolithic, around-the-line-of-scrimmage approach Pat Shurmur tied around Bradford's neck in 2010.
It's still too soon to say that Avery has earned a spot on the team—let alone that he'll be able to stay healthy. But this preseason has already served notice that the Rams' offense will fit him much better than it might have last year.