If you poll the locker room, one of the few things that all players would agree unanimously on is that wide receiver Jason Avant has the best hands on the team. A reliable third down receiver for most of his career, Avant enjoyed his best campaign in 2009 with 41 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns. He was rewarded with a five-year contract this past offseason.
And there's reason to believe that Avant might be even better in 2010. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said on Tuesday that while checking the team's stats through training camp two days ago, Avant had around 80 catches and zero drops ... in competitive drills.
Yes, 80 catches. Zero drops.
"I'm not sure I've ever had a receiver who has had quite this type of camp as far as catching the ball," Mornhinweg said. "I'm not sure I've ever had a man do that. It's quite unusual to see that."
And this is coming from a coach who had recently inducted Hall of Famer Jerry Rice during his tenure with the 49ers. Avant was made aware of his mark and said his focus in on team goals, not individual ones.
"Listen, I don't really think about that. I go out and play as hard as I can. I don't worry about drops and that type of stuff," Avant said. "I don't think it's the best camp or that type of thing. You can play well and have a drop or two. I think about going out and helping my team win."
Avant did say the source of his mental focus comes from his close relationship with Jesus Christ. Avant grew up in a rough Chicago neighborhood and admitted that his life wasn't on the right track when he first arrived at the University of Michigan. But Avant made Christ the priority in his life and that's his source of inspiration.
"Everything I do stems from Jesus Christ. There are times when you don't feel like going to practice. I realize that I play my hardest for Christ, so if I don't feel well I don't depend on my feelings because if God gave me an opportunity to get up in the morning I can give him glory with what I do," Avant said.
"And when things get tough in game situations, I can call on His name. I transfer any pressure, any burden I might have so the pressure doesn't get to me. I give it to Him. Everything I do stems from Him. I can do all things through Christ. I don't think, 'Oh, this man's the best.' I think I can do anything through Christ."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:10 a.m., August 10