Rams taking Tavon Austin off of punt returns

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The Rams signed wide receiver Tavon Austin to a four-year extension worth $42 million before the start of the 2016 season because they believed he’s a versatile player who can help the team on both offense and special teams.

He’s dropping part of that portfolio after another rough day returning punts. Austin muffed two punts against the Seahawks in last Sunday’s 16-10 loss, including one that Seattle recovered in scoring position. They weren’t able to turn that into points, but Austin has muffed other kicks this year and the latest round of struggles was enough for the Rams to make a change.

“We’re going to give Tavon a break from that,” coach Sean McVay said, via the Los Angeles Times.

Austin scored three touchdowns on punt returns in his first three seasons, but hasn’t reached the end zone that way since the start of last season. His only score so far this season came on a 27-yard run against Seattle and running the ball has been his primary role this year as the Rams have handed him the ball 20 times against five receptions.

That’s a big drop from last year’s 58 catches and another sign that Austin’s role is different than the previous Rams coaching staff seemed to envision for the 2013 first-round pick.

5 responses to “Rams taking Tavon Austin off of punt returns

  1. Ugh, what a waste of a draft pick. Dude looked special coming out of college and the Rams have never seemed to use him to his potential. Lots of that is Fisher’s fault and inept QBing so time will tell with Sean in control. They obviously still believe in his talent given the extension though.

    This is another case though where if you’re spending a high draft pick on a receiver, you’re better off taking a guy with speed AND size to at least be a red zone target.

  2. Amazing how some teams know how to get the best out of a player (i.e. Patriots) and others have no idea what to do. The guy was a beast coming out of West Virginia. The old coaching staff had no idea how to use him. Coach McVeigh seems to get it. Austin is gonna show why he was a Top 10 pick.

  3. Right on he would be a star on the Patriots if he could learn the playbook. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, he is another waste of a Snead draft pick and overpaid as well. Cut bait with him and trade him for anything.

  4. I was hoping with an offensive mind coming in like McVay that he could find more ways to use Austin…like actually using him as a WR and have him actually run routes but he is doing the exact same thing in having him line up in the backfield or do jet sweeps which tells me the new coaching staff believes that his ceiling is limited to that. He is as good as gone next season.

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