Defensive coordinators may not be alone in fretting over how to stop diminutive but dynamic receiver Tavon Austin. Special-teams coordinators could be joining them.
The Rams might end up using Austin as their full-time kickoff and punt returner, too.
“I think that’s to be determined,” special-teams coordinator John Fassel said Sunday, via quotes distributed by the team. “We still have a ways to go before that, but that definitely is a factor. What’s his load on offense? And then is that too much to do both punts and kickoffs? The thing with kickoffs nowadays is half the time they’re touchbacks. So, the reps are less than they used to be as far as a returner. But, I think it’s to be determined, what’s his load on offense and he could be a punt-return, kick-return guy or maybe just one or none based on length of the season and how much work he’s getting.”
Austin’s skill set could be the thing that makes the Rams use him as much as they can.
“There’s no way you can coach it,” Fassel said. “You look at it from, if we had to punt to him, he’s on another team, what is your concern? There’s a lot. He’s got a great dimension. He’s got breakaway speed, but he’s also got the ability that little guys have which is incredible quickness and elusiveness.”
Being little could make the Rams more concerned about using him too much. But before anyone can hurt him, they have to hit him. And before anyone can hit him, they have to catch him.