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Backup quarterbacks helped Rams decide on Austin, Bailey

Snead AP

When NFL teams pick players who excelled in college football, it’s difficult to know whether they’ll thrive at the next level.

For the Rams, who picked both of West Virginia’s star receivers in the 2013 draft, the decision was assisted by a pair of backup quarterbacks — Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis — who traveled with G.M. Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher to Morgantown last month for a private workout.

“We went into the West Virginia campus, a great host, and we went into their indoor [facility], but we take our two quarterbacks, backup quarterbacks and we actually run our routes,” Snead explained on Thursday’s PFT Live.  “And for Tavon [Austin] we ran more routes that the inside slot receiver would be running.  For Stedman [Bailey], we did both inside slot and outside routes that our receivers and offense will be running.

“What’s really neat about the whole process is those quarterbacks, you know passing game is a timing thing so they know they can easily give you insight, ‘Hey when they hit that third step, wait a minute, Tavon was there.  Hey, we’ve never had a receiver there on that third step.’  And the same thing on Stedman was, being his stature, he’s not a tall player, we worked out a lot of players before the draft.  They felt like, hey, this was like throwing to the tallest receiver they threw to.  They felt like they could just launch that ball and he was going to come down with it.  So, great insight in those private workouts, you know, all things considered.”

Austin’s ability to run routes like an NFL player doesn’t mean he’ll take hits like an NFL player, given his (lack of) height and (lack of) size.

“You being in West Virginia, you’ve seen what he can do with the ball in his hands,” Snead said.  “God, mom, and dad gave him some freaky skills to be able to get open but also to avoid tacklers when he gets the ball in his hands.  And I was a part of being with Warrick Dunn who, when we had him in Atlanta we made him, if you want to call it, a number one, full-time, carry-the-load back which nobody ever thought he could be.

“Again, a man that’s not a very large, physical stature, but to go with the ability to elude tacklers, [Austin] just has that knack to to not get hit, to avoid big hits, to go down when necessary.  So, I think that’s what gives him that and hey, the track record is this – the guy hasn’t really missed a game [or] practice since he started playing football in high school, so I think track record says more than anything because he’s been avoiding bigger people his entire life.”

He’ll soon be avoiding bigger and stronger people than he ever has.  We hope he can do it, in part because I like to see West Virginia players succeed in the NFL — and in part because I’m not sure what’ll happen to Austin if one of those giants hits him hard.

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11 Responses to “Backup quarterbacks helped Rams decide on Austin, Bailey”
  1. kuranda84 says: May 9, 2013 10:33 PM

    Good to see the Rams on the up and up. It’ll be a fun year.

    Sincerely,
    A Seahawks fan

  2. ramcountry says: May 9, 2013 10:40 PM

    I know if Mike Martz was here he’d lock Austin and Bailey in a room and project film of Isaac Bruce running routes until their eyes bled.

    But in their case it actually wouldn’t be a bad idea to see how they played the game. Bruce and Holt had a shared motto ‘Live to play another down’. The basic idea was that the Rams didn’t need them to run through contact, they needed them to be out there every Sunday moving chains.

    Bruce lasted 16 years in this league because he was consistently one of the hardest WRs for DBs to get a clean shot on. Some fans sniveled that he and Holt were soft, but the truth was they were doing the same thing at wideout that Peyton does at QB. Better to protect yourself and the football.

    So young Austin, young Bailey, watch as much Bruce and Holt as you can. You learn to manipulate defenses like they did, you will play a long time in this league.

  3. romosmicrodongs says: May 9, 2013 11:00 PM

    really high on stedman bailey, I think he’ll be a garçon type receiver. maybe even have a more productive rookie season than tavon if they use the two in tandem

  4. rmfp1978 says: May 9, 2013 11:08 PM

    Well the rams didnt have this many offensive weapons last year and well we all know what their record was in the division. Sam Bradford is goin to show you why he was a number 1 draft pick. Idk why everyone so high on Seattle and personally think the RAMS were the better team last year despite their record. Rams will win the division and go to the playoffs this year. Look for Jared Cook to have a big year and finally define himself as an elite tight end

  5. goldrush36 says: May 10, 2013 12:44 AM

    I respect the rams and most certainly hope they do better than the hawks but they were an akers shank or boneheaded pitch away from losing both niner games and the also had the benefit of being the unknown and sneaking up. Also Cook is not an elite TE lets be real. Solid receiving threat weak blocker. He is not on the level of Gronk, AH, VD, JG, TG, JW or probably even a Zack Miller. I think they will be real good but even a division sweep wont help them if they can only pull off 2-3 outside the division. It will take at least 11 wins to take this division

  6. garyhd01 says: May 10, 2013 12:50 AM

    as a ram fan for 48 years I have been through it from the dicky bass and jack snow years Lawrence mc cutcheon vince ferragamo fearsome foursome to the greatest show on turf nfl record six consecutive division titles so on and on but never in the 48 years have I so looked forward to a season like this one if they play hard and exciting football id take 8-8 I want to be on the edge of my seat again not slumped in dismay looking at a 35=7 score (unless of course the rams are ahead) thanks fisher snead and co for again giving me hope a loyal rams fam

  7. spideysdog says: May 10, 2013 5:36 AM

    rmfp1978,

    I believe it has something to do with being 11-5 last year, losing ver little, but adding guys like Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Antoine Winfield. oh yeah, and Russell Wilson. your Rams are on the upper. I like Fisher. if you were in a different division, I might even see you as a playoff contender. unfortunately, your not.

  8. sterilizecromartie says: May 10, 2013 8:26 AM

    Les Snead will ultimately be remembered as the guy who passed on RGIII. STL will continue to get clobbered in the NFC West for the next three years, Bradford will continue to be an average NFL QB, and Snead will be fired just as RGIII is winning MVPs and the Redskins are winning Super Bowls.

  9. wvuandsteelers says: May 10, 2013 8:34 AM

    As a WVU fan, I love them both, but I actually think Bailey is the better receiver of the 2. Austin has more “shake and bake” but I really think Bailey may wind up with better stats when all is said and done. The Rams should be fun to watch for sure.

  10. schmitty2 says: May 10, 2013 10:26 AM

    goldrush36 says:May 10, 2013 12:44 AM

    I respect the rams and most certainly hope they do better than the hawks but they were an akers shank or boneheaded pitch away from losing both niner games and the also had the benefit of being the unknown and sneaking up. Also Cook is not an elite TE lets be real. Solid receiving threat weak blocker. He is not on the level of Gronk, AH, VD, JG, TG, JW or probably even a Zack Miller. I think they will be real good but even a division sweep wont help them if they can only pull off 2-3 outside the division. It will take at least 11 wins to take this division

    As a Ram’s fan I will agree with most of what you said. Cook is not elite but thats because of who was throwing him the ball and bad offensive game plans. The one issue I have is where you referring to the shanked Fg and bad pitch. Please don’t be the typical Niner fan who has an excuse for everything. They seem to forget how Zeurlein shanked a game winning fg and the lame illegal formation call on Amendola’s 70+ yard catch that put them at the 1 yard line

  11. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: May 10, 2013 9:59 PM

    These were two great picks. An interesting process too that makes sense. Watching Austin should be fun, except for opposing defenses that is.

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