Avant: Not Enough Character On Team

Jason Avant was posed this question following the 42-7 loss to the Giants, which marked both the end of the season and Andy Reid‘s run as head coach of the Eagles:

Are there not enough character guys on this team anymore?

“I would say that’s true,” Avant replied.

The veteran receiver tried to cut himself off several times during his session with a group of reporters before getting too critical of his teammates, then pressed on. He was one of a handful of Eagles that couldn’t hide their emotions any longer. Some of the guys that line up beside them just aren’t cut from the same cloth.

“It’s difficult because me, I leave it all out on the field and I give it everything I got,” said Michael Vick. “Sometimes I wish I could play other positions, but I can’t.”

Most of these kind of thoughts were kept out of the public during the Eagles’ 4-12 campaign. But now one of the most disappointing seasons in memory is over, and sweeping change is about to hit the organization. The head coach, the star quarterback, and countless others could be moving on. No point in holding back now.

“One thing that I do know we need are guys that buy into the system, whether it’s Coach Reid’s system or anything else,” said Avant. “I’m hoping and praying it’s Coach Reid but if that’s not the case, you still need to have the players to be responsible and also accountable, and not to allow the amenities of the NFL to distract them from what the game is really about, which is playing hard for the team, playing hard for the city of Philadelphia, and I think that was part of the distraction.”

Now that Reid is being removed from the equation, the question becomes: How much of the recent dive is on him? Did the team look lifeless for much of the season (and certainly on Sunday) because they had tuned him out?

“I don’t think it’s the coach. It might be due to other reasons — record, playing time, things like that,” said LeSean McCoy. “I don’t see guys quitting because of coach. He’s a coach where you want to play for him. He’ll find something each week to motivate you.”

Many pin the problem on a dilution of the Reid culture as a result of poor drafting and the need to import players via free agency and trade. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — part of the big 2011 offseason splash that fell well shy of expectations — are two examples of big moves that have yet to pay big dividends.

“I wouldn’t put [the downfall of Reid] on the free agent class that came in but I really wish that the class came in and won it all,” said Asomugha. “And the second year we’re not all here that were here last year, but for the team to have a worse record than we did that first year just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Added Rodgers-Cromartie: “From a personal standpoint I take it very personally because you look at yourself and know what you can do and you go out there and are not as productive as you can be. You first have to look at yourself and can’t blame nobody else.”

Avant opined that relying on players who are not homegrown is OK; it just has to be the right players.

“It just depends on doing good research,” said Avant. “It all depends on the type of player you bring in.

“When people don’t go as hard as they ought to or they lay down and things like that, it’s a reflection of the players and the type of individual that you have out there. I think it’s one of the things that has to be corrected for next year. There has to be a total buying in by the players for the coaching staff.”

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  • 1972

    Not enough speed at the slot position either jason.. good hands though.

    • Capt. Undapants

      Care to explain the Avant hate that’s all to prevalent? Literally ALL the guy does is make catches and move the chains. But I’ve only ever read complaints about him. He’s been the most consistent receiver since his arrival. J Mac drops balls, makes a catch then instantly falls, or he just becomes a b[edited]. D Jax (although I love him) disappears at times, and Brent Celek, well, we know what he has done this season. Meanwhile Avant makes the catch whenever it’s thrown to him. There are few bright spots on this team, why shoot down one of those bright spots?

      • Capt. Undapants

        ARGH *too. I hate myself, and I hate myself.

      • Capt. Undapants

        ARGH. *too. I apologize.

      • 1972

        Avants actually a cool guy to keep around but he’s not fast enough to make an impact on the game.4th reciever. and as for maclin and celek i would move on from both of those guys.. we have a short fast receiver. now we need a big physical one to compliment him.and a blocking TE
        Jason talks too much for me. I want my leaders to be impact players not a third reciever that has a 100 yd game every 10 games. welker does that in his sleep..
        And AGAIN, I DONT HATE jason avant LOL

        • Jason A

          Agreed. I’d be okay with starting over with our entire receiving unit. Will be some interesting options @ wr in the 2nd rd. Desean did show some dynamic playmaking skills a couple years ago. I’m interested to see if a new coaching staff can bring that guy back or the mediocre DJAX is here to stay.

      • RaysMissingWhiteSuit

        You forgot to mention he trash talks Eagle’s fans when we don’t treat garbage play like a bowl of ice cream.

        • 1972

          lol i forgot about that, i take it back, i do hate him lmao.. he’s such a insignificant player i completely forgot about that

          • The Answer

            yea he called out the fans, so what. quit crying about it

  • Kimbafuzz

    I love Jason Avant. He’s like a more talented, smarter James Thrash.

  • Johnny Domino

    Irving Fryar 2.0

  • The Answer

    Ray Didinger brought up a great Dick Vermeil quote on the post game:

    “You’ve got to win in the locker room before you can win on the field.”

    Avant hit it right on the head. That’s why I love Avant. He isn’t the most talented or athletically gifted, doesn’t have 4.3 speed, but he busts his butt every game and does his job with no excuses. Sacrifices his body and mind for the team. Couldn’t agree more, we’ve been saying it all year.
    Vick was not good this season, but he took shot after shot and kept getting up…much respect to him as well.

    • saunhi

      Great comments- I believe Vicks problems were BECAUSE OF the constant hits, even missed preseason.

      Had to focus more on surviving than playmaking.

      Liked Juan but couldnt hold a 4th quarter for two years

  • Jason A

    Like Avant the man but he’s below average as a slot. Why do you think the safetys can always play Djax and Maclin over the top or blitz? Because we have the slowest slot wr and te in the league. lbs can cover those guys. He can’t play the outside or special teams well either.

    • 1972

      great points

    • RaysMissingWhiteSuit

      Agreed, as a receiver I always saw him as a good 4th, average 3rd.

  • RaysMissingWhiteSuit

    “Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — part of the big 2011 offseason splash that fell well shy of expectations — are two examples of big moves that have yet to pay big dividends.” LMFAO!!!! “Have YET pay big dividends?” They WON’T pay big dividends and every Eagle’s fan knows it. *FYI: I was and still am a Nnamdi fan, but now just the person instead of the player*

    • HowieDon’tKnow

      The worst part is that HR brought us that class and he is not getting fired. Get used to bad results. JL is locking us in for more of this by keeping HR. “Gold standard.”

    • 1972

      i agree ..repect ur honesty

  • TenDimes

    Any chance Maclin is one of the ‘lack of character’ guys? He does a small things here and there that rub me the wrong way as a fan.

  • ktjelly

    i don’t understand trashing avant at all. the greatest receiver of all time ran 4.71 at the combine!! avant runs great routes and catches everything. he blocks and leaves everything on the field. maclin can’t even catch balls with his hands. i don’t understand how he was drafted that high when he catches everything with his body.i’d move maclin or djax into the slot and use cooper or avant outside. speed kills in the middle of the field.

  • tdilla

    If any of you follow Desean on instagram, all of the pictures he posted as soon as he hit IR were of him on vacation or partying. Never saw or heard of him offering any real support for the guys, at least in public. I have no idea what he might be saying behind closed doors, but I didn’t get the sense that Kelce, Peters, or Herremans were off on vacation. I could see that sort of behavior rubbing a guy like Avant the wrong way.

  • Wilbert M.

    Giving D-Jax with the contract extension set a bad precedent. Last year he behaved badly, quit on the team and got rewarded. What does that tell other players?

  • barry_nic

    Loved Avant’s comments. But Vicks comment had me in tears:
    “It’s difficult because me, I leave it all out on the field and I give it everything I got,” said Michael Vick. “Sometimes I wish I could play other positions, but I can’t.”
    I wish he could play quarterback still, “But he can’t”. It’s going to take a couple of years but this team needs to be nuked. I don’t know where they can get the right type of player from, that’s the front offices job. They should cut bait and attack their roster from a great draft position that they hopefully won’t have again. Wonder who the new coach will be, I can’t believe nobody brought up Bruce Ariens name yet..

    • Joe D

      Yeah Vick’s comments are great. You leave it all out on the field. Cool, dude. You also put the team at a competitive disadvantage with your incredibly stupid turnovers. You certainly did leave it all out on the field boss. In a game with 4 downs you could never part with even one of them.

  • xlGmanlx

    Basically you confirm what we already know. No matter how hard you work, how nice a guy you are, how much time in the off season, you’re either born a leader or not, and he clearly is not. Otherwise, open your damn mouth, you’ve been in the league long enough to know what the right effort is from every swinging mouth piece.

  • jon h

    Agree on the Avant stuff – but the guy is a Vet on this team and hopefully he’s saying this stuff to the guys, not just through the media at the end of the year. Was disappointed with Riley Cooper yesterday, particularly on that bomb down the sidelines where he flinched and the ball hit him in the hands (and both feet landed in bounds). I think Ed Reed is a free agent, wonder if the Eagles do what Denver did for Dawkins and make a play for the guy.