Speculation has been the main tool for attempting to decipher just what the St. Louis Rams’ plans for speedy rookie Tavon Austin are in the upcoming season. The 5-foot-8, 174-pound do-it-all athlete has been largely an enigma thus far in the preseason, but many (myself included) surmised that those were the Rams’ intentions. Head coach Jeff Fisher basically told “The Jim Rome Show” as much as he said:
“We have a pretty good idea, but we haven’t shown it yet. He’s not had a lot of production in the preseason, only because it makes sense to hold those types of things for the regular season.”
So there is a plan after all. And there really was never any reason to doubt that as Austin clearly showed his abilities on an 81-yard punt return against the Denver Broncos in the team’s latest preseason affair. Fisher offered some commentary that can only be described as snark-a-licious regarding that play as he said:
“You can kind of see the type of ability he has with the ball in his hands.”
You don’t say. Well, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will be tasked with trying to deploy Austin in the best manner possible on offense to maximize those talents to their fullest potential. The five catches for 40 yards that he has in the preseason probably aren’t going to cut it when it comes to the expectations as the No. 8 overall pick from this past April’s NFL Draft.
Certainly the Rams are smart to keep Austin under wraps in the preseason, but there’s no doubt the fans are itching to see just what kind of explosion this youngster can bring to the table in the regular season. After watching some of his highlights at West Virginia and even the aforementioned punt return from the most recent preseason game, the possibilities are endless for Austin in 2013.
Plan to see the speedy former Mountaineer run wild in a variety of ways this upcoming season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him end up with a carry or two per game this season after being motioned into the backfield or on a reverse. Obviously his ability to turn a two-yard bubble screen into an 80-yard touchdown goes without saying, but Austin’s special teams impact will be likely be the biggest.
Regardless of how the Rams get the ball into his hands this season, expect Tavon to have plenty of trips to the end zone in 2013. For a squad that was one of only eight teams to score less than 300 points a year ago, that will certainly be a welcomed addition to their roster.