The last few days we've seen a lot of talk around the web about possible WR cut's and trades within the Eagles roster. A name that keeps on coming up is Jason Avant's and nine times out of ten i'm reading about why he should start packing his bags or why his days are numbered. I started looking at not only why he may be leaving Philly, but why I think everyone's wrong and Avant has little to worry about.
With Chip coming into Philadelphia there are and have been numerous changes to this team that will affect our Receivers, more to the point Avant. Just yesterday I commented on the new option routes being taught to the QB's and WR's and Avant is definitely one of those that is a novice in this category. Jason has never had to worry about looking over to the sideline for signals or having to worry about reading a defense. He has been told his route and run it, no questions asked. He will need to start branching out on his routes if he want's to remain in Philadelphia.
Avant's size also let's him down and the signing of Momah, who by the way is a monster at 6ft 8in, shows that Chip loves a bit of height in his WR's and as Avant comes in at just 6ft around the same size as Maclin, you do have to wonder where he fits into this offense. Add to that his lack of speed and things are looking grim.
The biggest worry for Avant will undoubtedly be his lack of versatility (damn that's quite the buzz word right now). Avant isn't very prominent on ST's and he's not really built for big gains after the catch. Chip when he looks at a WR he wants a guy who can make the catch, run ten yards and if one of his colleagues is the Receiver then block the hell out of any DB's or Safety's heading his way. Avant in many respects is a bit of a one trick pony.
Despite that plethora of reasons why he may leave Philly (with his head held high I must hasten to add) I simply cannot see it. He is your clutch receiver if the ball reaches his hands he won't drop it. It's like he has got sticky back tape on those hands of his. This is ever evident when you watch Foles. Vick invariably hasn't liked throwing Jason's way in fact Avant has managed just one 100yd plus game with Vick behind center. Foles on the other hand utilises him a lot more and this is no doubt because he knows even if there's no DJax or Maclin open as long as he gets that ball to reach Avant's hands then it's an assured 1st down.
Hands aside Avant always gets open just past the first down marker, not easy when you're not exactly a speedy guy. I understand that he's 30 now but he's also a massive presence in the locker room. We need a veteran or two to keep the rookies in check and instill some wise words pre, during and after a game. Avant from what I've seen in interviews is the kind of genuine bloke you'd want in your locker room, he loves his football.
He's also a bruiser something which we sorely need with DJax and Maclin so close to injuries everytime they get smashed about. In his last six seasons he has played 16 games in 3 of them, 15 in two of them and last year he played in 14 games. Also he has surpassed 50 receptions three seasons running now and considering he missed two games last year you can see how much of an impact Foles had on his numbers. Would be nice to see him get a few TD's but alas if you ever need a first down then he's your guy.
I can understand why people have him pegged as leaving but I think he would be a massive loss to this roster. He operates the slot beautifully and has such sure hands that he no doubt increased the confidence of our rookie Foles as he offered him a sure 1st down when he needed it most. The speed and size are massive issues along with a lack of versatility but in Avant Chip has a locker-room leader who has if anything been getting better as his age has increased. His ability to knock of any injuries only adds to his many pros and whilst he has cons I just cannot see Chip cutting him or trading him. Then again watch as he gets cut tomorrow...
Oh and a stat for you, in 2011 Avant had 52 receptions, he dropped ONE pass, that's a drop rate of 1.23%. Now take a wee look at Benn's numbers, he made 30 receptions... he dropped six passes... his drop rate 11.76%. I do hope Avant beats out Benn at the very least.