Avant Speaks

Posted: June 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

Jason Avant spoke to the Charlotte media and had a couple of interesting things to say. Apparently life wasn’t so great for him last year.

Avant was not a fan of Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly, however. Kelly’s first season in Philadelphia in 2013 turned out to be Avant’s last as an Eagle. Avant ranked sixth on the team in receiving yardage and, in his words, “mostly ran clear-out routes.”

Said Avant of Kelly: “When it came to certain things, we butted heads sometimes – route running and route technique. So I knew I didn’t fit his system.”

As for his release in March, Avant said it didn’t surprise him because he wasn’t the burner Kelly wanted as a wide receiver.

“I knew that was coming maybe four games into last season,” Avant said. “When they stop calling your number and guys start running some of the routes that you run – I knew from the beginning that I didn’t fit his style of offense, in that I’m a crafty guy that gets open in an atypical way.”

Is this a big deal?


Avant played in a pro style offense at Michigan. He played in Andy Reid’s passing offense for 7 years in the NFL. He was used to doing things a certain way. Then came Kelly with his new scheme and way of doing things. I remember writing in the spring of 2013 about how Jason Avant might not fit. Here is something I wrote when the Eagles got Arrelious Benn last year.

The WR who I think should be most scared is Jason Avant.  He is a slot WR with no RS ability.  He hasn’t been a key STer in years.  Avant is very good at what he does (get open, catch the ball), but I think Chip Kelly is looking for more than that.  Either be a big guy (Riley Cooper, Benn) or a small guy with RAC ability and return skills (Damaris Johnson).  I’m not saying Avant should be scared of Benn specifically, but of making the roster in general.

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Avant and Kelly didn’t see eye to eye on the offense and how Avant should be best used. Avant caught 50 or more passes from 2010-2012 before dipping to 38 last year. No player wants fewer touches.

But give credit to Avant. He did a great job as a blocker last season. He caught the ball when it was thrown his way and did whatever he could to help the team win. That’s a pro’s pro.

New coaches and veteran players don’t always work out so well. That just how it goes in the NFL, heck sports in general.

* * * * *

Some may try to connect this and the DeSean Jackson situation. They’re very different. No matter what the Eagles thought of Jackson, they fed him the ball and he had a career year. Avant was phased out from early in 2013 despite being a team leader and terrific blocker. Both players were let go, but for very different reasons.

It will be interesting to see how Kelly and his WRs get along from here on out. The WRs on the roster now have some experience in the spread offense and are a better fit for what Kelly wants to do. That should certainly help matters.


28 Comments on “Avant Speaks”

  1. 1 Sconces said at 10:37 PM on June 24th, 2014:

    Wait a second, Eagles receivers are allowed to disagree with coaching without causing a huge media outbreak?

  2. 2 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 12:11 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Speaking of former Eagles WRs….
    Hank Baskett, oh my!

  3. 3 Ark87 said at 1:19 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Interesting to hear from Avant. Old guard and definitely a Reid guy. Butted heads over route running apparently, which was Avant’s only strength in terms of creating any separation. Either way, Chip had to like something Avant was doing, though. Here we had Brent Celek, James Casey, and Zach Ertz, OOO double, maybe even TRIPLE TE formations, Avant has to worry about making the team…yeah no, 11 personnel dominated early in the year. I wish the best of luck to Avant, good guy, heck of a professional. You never would have guessed he was struggling with all this from anything coming out at the time.

  4. 4 Iskar36 said at 4:14 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    I’d be very curious to find out what Avant meant by the fact that Chip and Avant disagreed over route running and route technique. Seems to me that was Avant’s best attribute, so I’d be curious to know what is going on in Chip Kelly’s offense that makes Avant’s version of that attribute a “bad” thing in Kelly’s offense.

  5. 5 GEAGLE said at 7:36 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    My understanding is they disagreed on what routes to run…Avant wanted to run route X, where as Chilp wanted him to route z(clear out)

    Which I don’t really understand. Who the hell is Avant? Coach needs you to run “X”(route) to make the offense work, why the hell should Avant have any Imput about what route he should run?

  6. 6 Ark87 said at 8:12 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Players always want touches. Not only is that the way they have fun doing their jobs, but it’s also their livelihoods. Avant is over 30 AND he had a very significant drop-off in production AND he got *released* by the team he’s played for his entire career. He needs people to know he isn’t washed up, his role was diminished in terms of stats.

    You know how we talked about Boykin. He isn’t being put in a position to make the most money of his talent, traditionally by position speaking. But you believe we’re going to take care of him for doing what’s best for the team, not intuitively what’s best for him. Lets take it to Avant: he did what was best for the team at his personal expense, never one public complaint, then set him loose at a career low point (induced by the scheme). No body is wrong here, it’s the NFL.

  7. 7 John Paine said at 8:40 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    That isn’t what “route running and route techniques” sounds like to me. There’s several ways to get open as a receiver… Being fast, having quick change of direction, just running really precise routes, having great physicality or verticality (although these are more about being “open” even when you’re not).

    I remember when Avant got drafted. The reports on him read like this: “Not particularly fast, but gets enough separation by being very precise in his route running and coming out of his breaks quickly. Catches everything he can get his hands on.”

    To me it just sounds like Kelly’s system isn’t based on ultra precise routes and super quick cuts and breaks. Since they’re supposedly running a lot of option routes under Kelly that makes sense. It’s now more about running to where the defenders aren’t than about using route design to beat your defender to the right spot… I mean, I’m sure that Jason was unhappy when he started getting stuck running clear outs (that’s pretty bad when you’re a slow possession receiver), but I’m pretty sure that came AFTER the philosophical disagreement, as opposed to BEING the philosophical disagreement.

  8. 8 D3FB said at 11:22 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Yes, Gary Pinkel became the Mizzou coach in 2001, and has been running a fairly wide open spread offense since then (Brad Smith was one of the best QB’s in program history when he played).

  9. 9 Cafone said at 3:48 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    I think you called it last year, but then Maclin and Benn both got hurt. Without those injuries, Avant would have probably been gone.

  10. 10 A Roy said at 9:54 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    I think it was just as much the leadership he provided during the Riley Cooper fiasco.

  11. 11 Sb2bowl said at 11:08 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Having Mac and Benn both hurt, plus the Cooper-gate could have kind of hindered Chip’s overall “vision” of the WR’s on our team. Suppose the Cooper thing gets really ugly, and he’s either suspended by the NFL, or the Eagles are forced to let him go because the team simply won’t accept him back (which could have happened, without the leadership of respected players on the team). At that point, DJax and Avant are our 1 and 2 receivers, respectively– now what happens if Avant was cut earlier in the off season, because he didn’t fit the type of WR Chip wanted.

    Avant served his role on our team extremely well; he did what he was asked to do, for both coaches. It just so happened to be that Chip came in when Avant hit that 30 year old “wall” and the little speed he actually had as a younger man, had now dissipated and left him only with his craftiness to get open. This attribute didn’t fit the skill-set that Chip is looking for, and thus, Avant is now catching passes for pseudo-superman. Good luck, friend– until we play you again 🙂

  12. 12 Scott J said at 11:48 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Remember when Kelly experimented with Avant and Harbor on defense? Harbor was released and Avant stayed only because of injuries.

  13. 13 Sb2bowl said at 11:09 AM on June 26th, 2014:

    Yup– Chip saw the athletic ability of Harbor and wanted to keep him around; we had a log-jam at TE and though he had skill, it wasn’t enough to keep him around last season. With Jacksonville, he caught 24 passes for almost 300 yards, and 2 TD’s.

    I almost wonder if Clay wouldn’t have been a better option over Avant, as a slot receiver? Obviously this is just a theory (and Avant is an actual WR, while Clay isn’t and would have to learn the position) and one that wouldn’t work, but its worth comparing the two as athletes. Clay ran a 4.62 at the combine, Avant ran a 4.62 at his Pro Day, and it looks like a 4.52 for the combine (though I can’t confirm it). However, Avant clocked those numbers in 06, and Harbor’s numbers were from 2010 (found a Pro Day # of 4.58 for Harbor, for what its worth). I’m guessing by now that Avant is running somewhere in the 4.75 range in the 40, but he knows how to get open with route running, and doing the “little things” against a CB.

    I think overall that Avant was the better choice on the field (leaving off the field stuff alone, and the leadership quality) because Clay would need to learn how to be a slot WR; however, it would have been something to see if Chip would have kept Clay, and used him only as a slot WR; would he be a better blocker than Avant? Would his catch rate be above 50%? Would Chip us him as a clear out option only? Lots of questions without a single answer, but that’s the fun with working on hypothetical’s!

  14. 14 John Paine said at 6:32 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    The only interesting thing here is comparing how Jason handled his disagreements with the coaching staff and how DeSean did…

    Avant acted like a professional. We never had a clue this was going on, and if anything I would have thought he was one of Kelly’s favorites with all the hard work and leadership he showed. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like he was one of the guys Kelly loved to compliment whenever he got a chance. If not, I at least know the media kept pointing out how he helped the team work through the Cooper incident and was doing things like taking extra JUGS practice with the rookies to help them out.

    In the meantime, DeSean was busy being a pain in the ass. Sulking because he had to learn the X, Y, and Z routes for every play. Arguing with the coaches. Continuing to broadcast his association with known criminals on social media despite the team asking him not to.

    Then you hear that Avant had 5 or 6 teams call and Jackson apparently didn’t (Why would he have visited Washington and nowhere else if there had been much other interest? There’s no way that he doesn’t know that Washington is a terrible organization, and he’s got no shot at winning anything). And that’s despite the fact that Jackson has 10 times the natural talent and athletic ability that Avant ever did. Goes to show that character still counts for something… Which is nice, I suppose.

  15. 15 GEAGLE said at 7:42 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Playoff team Carolina who has no quality WR thought it was better to add a role playing #4 WR in Avant, instead of bringing Deseans quality talent into their locker room..

    Playoff team Carolina signed Avant
    A consistent laughing stock of the NFL, the Native American skins, stuck to their script and added a talented basket case
    The eagles offseason just didn’t feel right, until we added some good OL fashioned DRAMA

  16. 16 eagleyankfan said at 7:47 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    eh – I was never a fan of Avant. Nice guy. But that’s about it. If you can’t bring something to the table, than you’re not invited to dinner. Chip wants everyone to contribute. You nailed it by saying Chip wants more out of a player….

  17. 17 Julescat said at 7:51 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    the problem was that Avant didn’t always catch the ball when it was thrown his way. This article ignores the fact that Avant was one of the lowest ranked slot receivers in the league.

  18. 18 mksp said at 7:57 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    This tidbit is for shah8:


    Nick Foles was at 43% (check his timeline, there was a follow up question). This excludes kneel downs. Its not a perfect stat, but certainly calls into question the “extending drives with their legs because they are so athletic” argument.

    And….Philadelphia was ahead of SEA/SF/WAS in 3rd down conversion % as well. So……

  19. 19 RobNE said at 9:53 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    so is Luck a super stud? Should there be a lottery in football? It seems quite unfair to me that the Colts go directly from Peyton to Luck.

  20. 20 mksp said at 10:17 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    Yes he is.

  21. 21 Charlie Kelly said at 9:00 PM on June 25th, 2014:

    ish is crazy

  22. 22 Sb2bowl said at 11:13 AM on June 26th, 2014:

    Funny how that works, eh? Remember the 49ers “Suck for Luck” campaign, which ended with them playing in the NFC championship game? (HOW DID THE GIANTS WIN THAT GAME??????)

    The Colts have Peyton for almost 15 years, suffer through one terrible season, and draft the best QB prospect since Peyton/Elway— what are the freaking chances? Oh, and the Colts made the correct decision to draft Luck of RGfragile; and while you can’t fault the Ram’s for enjoying the haul they received from the R#*Skins, you have to wonder how that team would look without Bradford at the controls.

  23. 23 Scott J said at 11:30 AM on June 25th, 2014:

    If Maclin and Benn didn’t get injured last year, Avant would have been released. The Cooper incident helped him too.

    Edit: The writing was on the wall when Kelly experimented with Avant on defense. He did the same with Clay Harbor.

  24. 24 Sb2bowl said at 11:14 AM on June 26th, 2014:

    Agreed– we were EXTREMELY close to having DJax and D.Johnson (or some other Free Agent) as our 1 and 2 (assuming Cooper was suspended/cut and Avant had been released)

  25. 25 Iskar36 said at 12:02 PM on June 25th, 2014:

    To be honest, you have to give credit to Avant here. The stories last year were that Avant was a key leader in dealing with the Cooper issue and that he was an incredibly important locker room presence. To know that he managed to do that despite “butting heads” with Chip Kelly shows great character from Avant.

    I don’t think this is a big deal (or really a deal at all) from an Eagles perspective, but good for Avant for not letting his differences with the coach affect his attitude towards the team.

  26. 26 A_T_G said at 9:58 PM on June 25th, 2014:

    I’d take it a step further and credit both of them. As you said, Avant was a pro’s pro and acted in the best interest of the team. So did Kelly, finding a way to use a player who didn’t fit his system when injuries forced the situation, and saying only positive things about him publicly. Hopefully they both find better situations this year as a result.

  27. 27 Sb2bowl said at 11:17 AM on June 26th, 2014:

    Agreed– not bad for a first year, rookie head coach who runs a “college” system. Avant (and for that matter, Vick) did exactly what he needed to do (paging DJax, paging DJax) and it worked out; heck, they were 1 FG away from winning a playoff game.

    I’m guessing Avant receives a nice ovation when he comes back to Philly this year for that Monday night game. But once the game starts, he’s like any other opponent, and there’s no love left for him at that point.

  28. 28 Charlie Kelly said at 8:59 PM on June 25th, 2014:

    Much love to avant no matter what!!