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Rams looking to expand Tavon Austin’s role

St. Louis Rams Austin is tackled by San Francisco 49ers Stupar and Spillman during the second half of their NFL football game in St. Louis Reuters

As a rookie in St. Louis last season, Tavon Austin showed off some of the big-play abilities that made him a first-round pick, with a 98-yard punt return touchdown, an 81-yard receiving touchdown and a 65-yard rushing touchdown. But considering that the Rams traded up to take Austin with a Top 10 pick, his total offensive production (418 receiving yards and 151 rushing yards) was something of a disappointment.

This year, however, Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is looking to expand Austin’s role.

Moving him around to a lot of different spots,” Schottenheimer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You’ll see us hand him the ball, do some different things. He’s playing so much faster just because he knows what we’re doing. He has the system down cold.”

Playing fast enough has never been Austin’s problem. If he’s playing faster this year, and the Rams are planning to put the ball in his hands more, expect even more of those long touchdowns.

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33 Responses to “Rams looking to expand Tavon Austin’s role”
  1. uglydingo says: Jun 24, 2014 5:40 AM

    Perhaps the most exciting college football highlight video I’ve ever seen was Tavon’s. However, he has to be able to get the ball in the NFL before he can make his opponents look like idiots. NFL Defenses knew how to pretty easily shut Tavon Austin down before he got the ball last year.
    He may need to be on a team with 2-3 other top offensive playmakers to succeed.
    Unfortunately, not all great college players successfully transition to the NFL.

  2. dirtysouthniner says: Jun 24, 2014 5:54 AM

    If the rams get another top flight receiver combo(Bruce and Holt) with this Defense and run game you guys will be scary

  3. folkcrusader says: Jun 24, 2014 5:58 AM

    Awesome talent, but he is easily diverted.

  4. stainlineho says: Jun 24, 2014 6:09 AM

    Unfortunately they do not have the offensive coordinator who can truly take advantage of Tavons skillets and put him in mismatches. He will be wasted on this team.

  5. dabears2485 says: Jun 24, 2014 6:35 AM

    I don’t buy the “he’ll be wasted on this team” argument. They eased him in last year, and he showed what he could do. Year two is when you take the training wheels off. If he gets a full season of touches, this guy could single handedly save Sam Bradford’s career as a starter.

  6. computojon says: Jun 24, 2014 6:39 AM

    I agree with the sentiments of the other comments, but Schottenheimer’s play-calling improved greatly over the last 4-5 games of the season (to my infinite surprise.) If that trend continues, then Tavon will be able to have the impact that a top-10 pick is supposed to have.

  7. letsgopens8771 says: Jun 24, 2014 7:02 AM

    The Rams plan to clone Tavon Austin and have him play QB, RB, and all receiver positions.

  8. wryly1 says: Jun 24, 2014 7:02 AM

    You still have to get him the ball in space – where he can use his speed and quickness to make a defender miss one-on-one, because he doesn’t have the size or strength to be effective in heavy traffic near the line of scrimmage.

  9. zam0854 says: Jun 24, 2014 7:21 AM

    The most exciting college football highlight video? You must have missed Reggie Bush or Vince Youngs highlight film then.

    TAustin would have fit in with Philly or a New England, I’m just trying find 3 reasons to draft him on my fantasy team this season.

  10. dfwhawkguy says: Jun 24, 2014 7:59 AM

    Expand? How about include? Barely even remember hearing the guy’s name last year.

  11. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 24, 2014 8:01 AM

    More like they had limited his expected role for the first year since picks that high generally come with much larger expectations.

  12. cesarnoel says: Jun 24, 2014 8:08 AM

    It only means Schotty has adapted some of schemes from Austin’s time in WV. Some of the plays from the GSOT days can be used also like some of the plays used for Marshall Faulk. Who knows what Scotty has added but the bottomline is that it’s the 3rd year on basically the same offensive scheme so majority of them knows the plays

  13. tebowslostvirginity says: Jun 24, 2014 8:20 AM

    Goes back to why not take Watkins in the draft

  14. bucsmightbegood says: Jun 24, 2014 8:40 AM

    Tavon Austin is going to surprise people this year. That smurf can play!

  15. lionsandvikingsandbearsohmy says: Jun 24, 2014 8:45 AM

    fantasy alert!

  16. jjackwagon says: Jun 24, 2014 8:48 AM

    Looked for big things from him last year and was severely disappointed. Now expecting nothing and am pretty sure that’s what I will get.

  17. hanifmiller says: Jun 24, 2014 8:49 AM

    The elephant in the room is still Sam Bradford. In the past 3 years I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe that he can stay healthy or become a franchise QB. Im surprised that the rams went defense in the draft instead of offense. Did they even draft a QB or WR?

  18. jliskiew says: Jun 24, 2014 9:04 AM

    Playing fast enough was absolutely one of Austin’s main problems last year, but I’m not talking about once the ball was in his hands.

    Difficult for a WR his size to consistently get open in the NFL when he doesn’t run routes at full speed – this is what sets apart more NFL-ready prospects like Odell Beckham.

  19. cbwv1974 says: Jun 24, 2014 9:05 AM

    Well they really couldn’t shrink his role…

  20. nflgiant says: Jun 24, 2014 9:21 AM

    Hanifmiller said it best Bradford is the problem on that team and until they figure it out it, will be at best a 10- 6 team.more like 9-7.

  21. opinevain says: Jun 24, 2014 9:22 AM

    Offensive Coordinator system doesn’t allow Austin to shine.

  22. sneadon says: Jun 24, 2014 9:33 AM

    Where else can they put him? He lined up at both sides at WR, played in the slot, and got a couple touches at RB per game…when does football start?

  23. garyhd01 says: Jun 24, 2014 9:34 AM

    love the rams and I love tavon unfortunately ive heard shotty talk in the past and with him talk is cheap when I actually see all these things he promises on the field then I will believe ot!!

  24. realitycheckbaby says: Jun 24, 2014 9:34 AM

    A poor man’s Percy Harvin.

  25. pfu2 says: Jun 24, 2014 9:41 AM

    speed…..beep, beep!

  26. schmitty2 says: Jun 24, 2014 10:02 AM

    The only guy holding Tavon back is the guy predicting an “expanded role” for him.

  27. officialgame says: Jun 24, 2014 10:09 AM

    That’s the guy the scouts said ran like he had a rocket up his ass. Must have an ignition problem.

  28. boltjolt says: Jun 24, 2014 12:14 PM

    At 165 lbs , trying to have him do all that he will be hurt at some point.

  29. mrwalterisgod says: Jun 24, 2014 12:40 PM

    Tavon Austin is a big play guy, but he’ll never be a focal point of the offense. Not a dominant receiver. He just runs go routes and tries to outrun everybody on screens. He’ll make you some big touchdowns but I think the Rams would have been better getting a couple guys that will be better for Bradford.

  30. fumblenuts says: Jun 24, 2014 1:18 PM

    5′ 8″, 166 lbs. The defenses in the NFC West are brutal. Good luck.

  31. Brandon in Northwest Suburbia says: Jun 24, 2014 1:19 PM

    Austin needs a Holt & Bruce in place first to free him up to be a Hakim. Dangerous when the defense isn’t focused on him, but he’ll never be a #1 option.

  32. zachebers says: Jun 30, 2014 3:49 PM

    Tavon is damn good. That’s a fact.

    Most receivers, not all, take a year or two to fully reach their potential in this league.
    As many have said and I believe it to be true, Tavon was introduced to our offense last year and began to catch on to things before his season ending injury (which was his first injury that resulted in missing practice and games since before high school).

    This season, he will come out of the gate, healthy, confident and mentally prepared to take his game up a notch or twelve.

    Lets go Rams!

  33. shooter28 says: Jul 1, 2014 1:40 PM

    Tavon Austin was wayyy overdrafted. He is going to end up a complete bust . Even last year before the pre-draft I thought he was being built up far to much by the media and is nothing but hype . I don’t think he is going to wash out of the league but I don’t think he is going to be yearly 80-100 reception 1000+ yard receiver either . Cornerbacks shut him down FAR TO OFTEN last season . Tyrann Mathieu straight OWNED AUSTIN last season in their match-ups. Mathieu made him look foolish . Of course Tyrann Mathieu ended up ranked as the 3rd best CB in the NFL via Pro Football Focus in just his ROOKIE SEASON as a nickelback playing both CB & FS, and would of definitely earned a Pro-Bowl invite for his play & very likely would of earned D-ROY award had he not went down injured. The Rams 2nd match-up against the Cardinals, Mathieu outright dominated Tavon Austin. Austin had ONE reception for 9 yards in the entire game, and his 1 reception wasn’t against Mathieu , It was against Rashad Johnson. I saw Tavon Austin play a lot last year , and their was nothing I saw at all that justified his top 10 draft status . He is going to be STL’s latest draft miss on a WR .

    Arizona has two players I would much , MUCH rather have over Tavon Austin. Andre Ellington is one , granted he is a RB but he is just as good a receiver as he is a RB. Andre Ellington joined a very exclusive list of players in NFL history who led the NFL in YPC’s as a rookie while also finishing with over 1,000+YDs from scrimmage. The last to do it was AP his rookie year. Ellington also lead the NFL in runs of 20+ yards with 8 runs of 20+ n 1 run of 40+. Ellington has electric elite speed and is very elusive and slippery with the ball in his hands. Pro Football Focus ranked him the #3rd most elusive runner in the NFL last year and PFF also ranked Andre Ellington a top 10 RB in just his rookie season out of Clemson while his 5.5YPC/AVG led (MIN 100/Att’s) the entire NFL. He ended his season with 652 yards on 118 rushing attempts, a 5.5YPC AVG, 27 1st downs, a 24% 1st down percentage , 4 rushing TDs. He isn’t even a full-time wide receiver and almost finished with as many receiving yards as Austin but he did finish with the same amount of receptions & Ellington had more 1st down receptions. Ellington caught 39 receptions for 371 yards, a 9.5YD/AVG, 1TD and 21 1st down receptions finishing the season with a far superior 48 1st downs (Austin 20 total) & a overall per touch AVG of 7.5 YDs per touch . Ellington basically goes for a 1st down every time he touchs the ball & with his electric elite speed (low 4.3) and elusiveness makes for a big time play maker . As a receiver he runs very crisp routes , gains separation with ease with his quickness & can catch passes not just out of the backfield , but can line-up out wide and is a beast in the slot. I would take Ellington over Austin every day of the week and twice (2) on Sunday. I would also much rather have Arizona 3rd round pick from this last draft, 91st overall , Wide Receiver John Brown. This kid is a boss and is a very special player . Bruce Arians drafted both Antonio Brown when with PITT & T.Y Hilton when with Indy , and Brown is very similar to both but is basically a T.Y Hilton clone. A reporter asked Bruce Arians how Brown ( Who Arians has been raving over) compares to Hilton, Arias response was that WR John Brown is a much, much better route runner, with more quickness getting in and out of his breaks, and is a far more polished WR than Hilton was coming into the NFL as a rookie. At 5″10 1/2 inches tall and 185 pounds , Brown is significantly bigger than the 5″8 Tavon Austin and is every bit as fast except Brown has a FAR BETTER VERTICAL JUMP compared to Austin. Brown has a 36.5in vertical jump, Tavon Austin has a fairly pathetic vert jump of just 32 inches. John Brown with a 36.5 inch vertical jump can basically get 9 feet in the air when leaping, meaning he is far more capable of high pointing the ball than what Austin is. WR John Brown posted a 4.34 40 yard-dash , 4.02 20YD shuttle, and his 6.91 3 cone drill shows how easily Brown can get separation off of DBs. He set multiple receiving records at DII Pittsburgh State . He caught 61 receptions last year for 1,198 yards , a 19.6 YD per reception AVG, with 15TDs, returning 12 kicks for 389 yards, a 33YD per return AVG with 2TDs & 23 punts for 264YDs. His speed is insane. He led all wide-receivers @ the combine with a 2.46 second 20YD/Split , his 4.34 40 yard dash was the 2nd fast of all WRs behind only B. Cooks as was his 3 cone drill. He is every bit as fast on the field as he speed and quickness transfers to the field in pads. Mark my words this kid is special & can take the top off of defenses with ease. He is going to see a lot of balls thrown his way as a rookie. Mark my words this guy catches 60-70 passes as a rookie 850-900+ yards, 6-8TDs AVG 15.0-17.0 YDs per reception.

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