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Tavon Austin: Playing in the NFL is a little harder than I thought


Rams rookie Tavon Austin was expected to burst onto the scene as an all-purpose threat who would make big plays all over the field. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Although Austin does lead the Rams with 31 catches, he has just 207 receiving yards — a shockingly low average of 6.7 yards a catch. Austin is also averaging just 2.5 yards running the ball and 3.9 yards returning punts. Austin admits that the adjustment from college to the pros has been a bigger challenge than he was expecting.

“This isn’t supposed to be easy,” Austin said. “Maybe it was a little harder than I thought at first. But all I can do is keep working.”

Austin does, however, think things will get better with time.

“It’s all about patience and I’m sure my time will come,” Austin said. “I’m learning what it takes to be successful and I’m doing the things the coaches tell me.”

So far, the Rams’ coaches haven’t been able to find a way to take the Austin who was a West Virginia superstar and turn him into a playmaker in the NFL.

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59 Responses to “Tavon Austin: Playing in the NFL is a little harder than I thought”
  1. green41563 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:00 AM

    I’m wrong a lot about the draft, but I had this one pegged right. Drafting a 5-8 receiver in the top 10?


  2. nesportsfan0428 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:05 AM

    Having Kellen Clemens noodle arm isn’t going to help.

  3. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Nov 1, 2013 10:05 AM

    Not everyone expected him to be an instant threat. Some of us thought his skills didn’t translate to the NFL level of play.

    Would he be on the field nearly as much if he wasn’t a first round pick that the Rams traded up for?

  4. tridecagon says: Nov 1, 2013 10:06 AM

    If his fellow special teamers would knock off the holding and illegal block to the back stuff behind the play, his punt return numbers would look a lot better.

  5. pftalk says: Nov 1, 2013 10:06 AM

    He’ll be fine…it took cobb a season to catch on. First years ate difficult on receivers.

  6. seabrawk12 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:09 AM

    Said the same thing the first year of fantasy football.

  7. rg3andthensome says: Nov 1, 2013 10:10 AM

    Looking good Rams….Wow- you have really made an impact with all the picks from the Skins. Keep up the good work.

  8. cwhat32 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:12 AM

    Doesn’t help when his OC is the most boring playcaller in the NFL.

  9. logicalvoicesays says: Nov 1, 2013 10:18 AM

    We have RGIII, best QB since Elway, all thanks to you, St. Louis. Enjoy our late round picks. You can’t draft well anyways hahaha! #Wemadeoutlikebandits

  10. checkitd0wn says: Nov 1, 2013 10:20 AM

    Cue the folks with no athletic ability saying “welcome to the pros rook” and “I told you so” .

  11. fballguy says: Nov 1, 2013 10:21 AM

    He’s had his moments. Unfortunately, they’ve all been called back on penalties. This wouldn’t even be news if his 60 yard TD against Car and three long punt returns weren’t called back.

  12. waussau says: Nov 1, 2013 10:24 AM

    I wish you had said this BEFORE I drafted you on my fantasy team.

  13. titusyoungslegalcounsel says: Nov 1, 2013 10:24 AM

    This is what happens when you over rate slot receivers like Welker and draft them 8th overall

  14. jimmysee says: Nov 1, 2013 10:27 AM

    I know it’s hard, but that’s OK. You won’t be in the league that long, anyway.


  15. rammmjammm says: Nov 1, 2013 10:28 AM

    “rg3andthensome says: Nov 1, 2013 10:10 AM

    Looking good Rams….Wow- you have really made an impact with all the picks from the Skins. Keep up the good work.”

    Special thanks to RG3 single-handedly improving position of yet another #1 pick for the Rams next year.

    He sure was worth it, huh? Brilliant move, Skins!

  16. brandoncrockett2314 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:28 AM

    I would argue Musgrave in Minnesota is worse…

    It doesn’t help that there is barely average talent around Austin to take some of the pressure off.

  17. mogogo1 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:30 AM

    Receivers usually take a couple years to really figure out the pro game. But he’ll need to be a combo of Darren Sproles and Wes Welker to justify where they drafted him.

  18. tjacks7 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:32 AM

    I didn’t think he was much better than Stedman Bailey while they West Virginia.

  19. farvite says: Nov 1, 2013 10:34 AM

    It will be easier when you get a play caller that knows how to use you.

  20. 80sbroncofan says: Nov 1, 2013 10:35 AM

    Would lead the league in punt return yards and have 3 catches for touchdowns but every time he makes a big play its called back because of a penalty. I think his team mates hate him.

  21. avr29 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:36 AM

    The NFL should send Brandon Merriweather the video of the hit shown in the above picture. If 6’4″ Brandon Browner can bring down 5’9″ Tavon Austin through his torso (like his tackle on Welker last year), there’s no excuse for Merriweather’s head hunting.

  22. draftrobot says: Nov 1, 2013 10:38 AM

    Football didn’t just get invented yesterday. If you think some player is destined to be a star, you should be able to look at the rest of the league and find players who look just like him. When you think some prospect is so one-of-a-kind you don’t see any other players who look like him, maybe there’s a reason for that.

  23. harrisonhits2 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:43 AM

    Its like being the most brilliant person in your high school class and the you go to MIT where everyone is equally brilliant or even more so.

    You’re no longer head and shoulders above the rest, you’re just average for the new level you’re at and you’re going to struggle a lot more than you have at the past.

  24. ramofsteel says: Nov 1, 2013 10:45 AM

    RGME: “I’m not gonna let anybody tell me how to play this game.”

    Tavon Austin: “I’m learning what it takes to be successful and I’m doing the things the coaches tell me.”

  25. jbeagles23 says: Nov 1, 2013 10:45 AM

    He’s a kid. He’ll be alright. Maybe not ever worth a top ten pick but hell figure it out

  26. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Nov 1, 2013 10:47 AM

    It doesn’t even matter that hes 5’8. Look at his college film, look at his pro film. This guy isn’t that fast to the outside. Even in college it didn’t look like he got to the outside quickly when he ran the ball or took a wr screen. He doesn’t have amazing straight line speed. I’ve seen his interviews, seems like a cool guy. He’s gonna need a mastermind at oc for his career to be good in the nfl though.

  27. jwcarlson says: Nov 1, 2013 10:53 AM

    This kind of comment kind of makes me wonder how hard he worked in the offseason to be ready to play in the NFL. Sounds like he thought it was going to be simple and didn’t make much effort.

    But having watched a little bit of a few Rams games this season… what in the world is with that offense? Total reluctance to do ANYTHING. It’s like they’re trying not to be a treat. Jared Cook – completely unused after week 1.

  28. folkcrusader says: Nov 1, 2013 10:58 AM

    Two catches over 10 yards isn’t going to cut it in this league. His catch radius is just too small when down field.

  29. richmondbolt says: Nov 1, 2013 10:58 AM

    Can’t teach his kind of speed and quickness.

  30. awhartstl says: Nov 1, 2013 10:59 AM

    Ugh, watching this as a Rams fan has been brutal. He’s definitely been extremely underwhelming but as Monday Night reminded us, a lot of these problems are still thanks to Brian Schottenheimer somehow still having a job.

  31. revischrist16 says: Nov 1, 2013 11:00 AM

    cwhat32 says:
    Nov 1, 2013 10:12 AM
    Doesn’t help when his OC is the most boring playcaller in the NFL.

    As a Jets fan who experienced Schotty, I feel for you.

    HB Dive, HB Dive, Quick Slants, Punt
    and repeat

  32. skinsfanwill says: Nov 1, 2013 11:00 AM

    Go look at film on how the Vikings used Percy Harvin. But how do you hire an OC that has never ran a spectacular play in his life and then draft a playmaker. 1+1 is adding up to 11 in this case.

  33. jjb0811 says: Nov 1, 2013 11:00 AM

    Fisher can’t turn out stars? Could that be the reason why he’s a .500 coach?

  34. gotdressedinabooth says: Nov 1, 2013 11:03 AM

    you can have all the skills in the world, but it’s interesting how much separation you can create with a good football IQ. That doesn’t come natural to all players

  35. 63deuceman says: Nov 1, 2013 11:06 AM

    He’ll be fine…it took cobb a season to catch on. First years ate difficult on receivers.

    I may be wrong, but didn’t Cobb return a kick to the house in his first game as a pro?

  36. tformation says: Nov 1, 2013 11:06 AM

    pftalk has it right. It’s rare that WRs catch fire their rookie season.

    The sooner Austin realizes he can’t skate by on raw talent in the NFL… that he has to work his ass off… the sooner he’ll be a better receiver.

  37. pastabelly101 says: Nov 1, 2013 11:10 AM

    A goatee and sunglasses can’t help the most overrated coach in the history of the NFL.

  38. bennyb82 says: Nov 1, 2013 11:11 AM

    It is very rare for rookie receivers to burst onto the scene. He has probably been able to dominate at other levels purely on athletic ability. His size and speed make him the perfect slot receiver…so perfect those routes and it should work out.

  39. assuredmutualdestruction says: Nov 1, 2013 11:12 AM

    He’s definitely no Percy Harvin, let’s be clear about that. At least he’s on the field for you though Rams fans. That’s more than can be said about PH. I am firmly in the camp that recievers take longer to learn their roles in the NFL. Tate sucked for Seattle his first couple seasons until he learned how to play the position at this level. I think Austin is a similar player with a little more upside. Give him some time.

  40. travishenrykid says: Nov 1, 2013 11:12 AM

    63 yard TD catch vs. Carolina negated by penalty.
    84 yard punt return TD vs. Dallas negated by penalty.

    Of his first nine opportunities to field a punt, there were penalties called on eight. If there hadn’t been penalties, he would have led the league in punt return average after week five. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. If you see every game, you realize it, but not many…understandably…watch every Rams game.

  41. granadafan says: Nov 1, 2013 11:24 AM

    I had a high school buddy who played for just over a year in the NFL. He told me some great stories being in the locker room and on road trips, but he said that the jump from college to the NFL was even harder than from high school to college. The speed and how hard guys work as professionals was a real eye opener. Tavon just needs to get some guidance from some of the vets on how to perhaps change his approach to workouts and practices. He’ll be fine later.

  42. nonetruerthanblue says: Nov 1, 2013 11:24 AM

    Maybe stop the quick screens and slants…how about some deep posts or routes longer than 20 yards? Might help if he could get a QB that could hit him in stride too.

  43. beavertonsteve says: Nov 1, 2013 11:36 AM

    Fballguy nailed it. The dude has had EVERY one of his big plays nullified by penalties and there have been quite a few. It has gotten so bad he got a game ball from his coach for a game where multiple game changing plays were called back.

  44. richiebburg says: Nov 1, 2013 11:42 AM

    Geno agrees

  45. stabbymike says: Nov 1, 2013 11:53 AM

    Is it just me or does it seem like every time tavon austin touches the ball someone else on the rams commits a penalty?

  46. serkeljerks says: Nov 1, 2013 11:58 AM

    richmondbolt says:
    Nov 1, 2013 10:58 AM
    Can’t teach his kind of speed and quickness.


    Verbtum those words have been said about countless former NFL players who were underwhelming in their careers. Austin won’t be exempt. Trying to evaluate his speed against Big-12 defenses was like to trying to see if him driving against go-carts was going to be effective against NASCAR.

  47. crisper57 says: Nov 1, 2013 12:01 PM

    Really? Cause the Honey Badger thinks its pretty easy.

  48. mrsmell says: Nov 1, 2013 12:04 PM

    At the WR position, you can usually tell a lot from a year if they will succeed in the league or not. Austin has shown very little so far and its not playcalling sometimes. He cant separate at this level. I blasted the Rams for taking him when Bradford hasnt shown his elite money skills, yet got blasted by Rams fans for “Just watch, ROY.” The “Wes” of today are becoming a dime a doz, the ELITE “Wes” of today established early.

  49. FinFan68 says: Nov 1, 2013 12:08 PM

    This isn’t unexpected. Too many people saw the big plays in college and never bothered to look a bit deeper. His big plays usually came against slow LBs (most were not really NFL prospects). NFL LBs usually aren’t slow. He is also getting covered by NFL caliber slot CBs that are just as fast as he is. He will get a big play here and there but his talent level is not superior to his opponents anymore.

  50. phaktor333 says: Nov 1, 2013 12:16 PM

    He will be fine if he wants to work and has a o-coordinator that will put him in space. However, this team has a bad o-coordinator and little to no offensive personnel that will be able to open up things for him. I will never question the work ethic of a man his size that made it to the NFL because of the naysayers and people who don’t know how to utilize his skill. Dante Hall or Az Hakim were similar talents that didn’t burst onto the scene until they were surrounded with elite talent that forced defenses to account for a myriad of talent sets. The Rams better find a way to use this kid and surround him with good players because once the hits become cumulative, he will not be the guy we saw at West Virginia.

  51. sidepull says: Nov 1, 2013 12:45 PM

    Skins gave them 2 first rounders and what do they do? Blow the first pick and now their qb has a torn acl. Better get their draft right this year. With all the picks you really suck. We still got Jordan Reed. At least hes contributing.

  52. mrcogburn says: Nov 1, 2013 12:58 PM

    This is on Fisher. The ability to judge true NFL talent has passed this .500 coach by.

  53. mrlaloosh says: Nov 1, 2013 1:18 PM

    Hey geniuses, he wouldn’t have made the long kick returns or catches if there hadn’t been a penalty. The PENALTIES are why he made those long runs. IF……..

    He’ll join other WVU mini-players like Pat White, Steve Slaton, Noel Devine, etc. .. Out of the NFL. go burn a couch.

  54. phinfan says: Nov 1, 2013 1:37 PM

    I thought this guy was the next Desaun Jackson… maybe in the next 2 years he will be a decent player.

  55. gosfvr says: Nov 1, 2013 1:42 PM

    I am not even a Rams fan, but I have to say this. Give TA 3 years before you call him a bust.
    Anyone remember Crabtree – took him until his 3rd year to really blossom, and a QB like Kap throwing him the ball.

    Instant gratification era – doenst vibe with reality.

  56. cunninghampeetemcnabbvick says: Nov 1, 2013 2:27 PM

    He’s not the only top 10 pick who is struggling or has struggled this season. It’s harder to name one who isn’t then one who is actually.

  57. linvillegorge says: Nov 1, 2013 2:39 PM

    I remember when the Panthers were facing the Rams earlier this season, all the Rams fans were saying that Austin was a younger, better version of Steve Smith. LOLOLOLOL!!!!

  58. stevosupremo89 says: Nov 1, 2013 8:36 PM

    For those Redskins fans who didn’t do their research, Austin was the Rams own pick that they traded up. They used the picks from WAS to trade down and get Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isiah Pead-eh, Rokevious Watkins-eh, Ogletree, and Stedman Bailey. Thats a pretty big haul. Brockers has been solid up the middle, Jenkins is a pretty legit corner, and Ogletree is an immediate impact playing very well. I guess research is hard.

  59. raiderapologist says: Nov 2, 2013 12:17 AM

    The Honey Badger wants to know what the word “transition” means.

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