WR Tavon Austin - Free Agent
|5-9, 174||Born: 3-15-1991||College: West Virginia||Drafted: Round 1, pick 8 (2013)|
2018 Week 2 vs NYG (2 / 2 / 79 / 1 rec, 1 / 15 / 0 rush)
Austin was the highlight of Dallas' anemic passing game output against the Giants, surging downfield for a 64-yard touchdown. Austin's speed was on display as he easily separated from the defensive back and eluded a late-arriving safety. The play was not a sign of a dominant involvement for Austin; however, as he added a deep comeback route and a reverse for a chunk gain on his mere three touches. On the positive side, no Dallas receiver has separated themselves from the pack as the lead receiver through two games.
2018 Week 3 vs SEA (3 / 3 / 2 / 1 rec, 1 / 18 / 0 rush)
Austin found the end zone for a second straight game, a goal line shovel pass, but was a non-factor outside of the scoring play in Dallas' road loss in Seattle. Austin was tracked down easily on a crossing route, but did add a jet sweep run for 18 yards early in the game. Austin's deep speed is the lone differentiator for a Dallas wide receiver through three games; however he remains a situationally-used option in their struggling pass game.
2017 Week 1 vs IND (1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
Austin appears to have lost his role in this new Sean McVay offense as he was only on the field for 7 offensive plays in this game after being on the field 72% of the plays last season.
2017 Week 5 vs SEA (5 / 3 / 14 / 0 rec, 6 / 27 / 1 rush)
At first glance, it looks like Austin had a great day with his 27-yard rushing touchdown to begin the second quarter. However, the bigger story was his troubles with returning punts. Austin muffed two catches and Seattle was able to recover one. This came in the fourth quarter with Seattle only winning by three and put the deficit to six. Austin was used in his normal quick hitting role in the passing game but had no success. The Rams actually handed him the ball in the backfield more than they threw it to him in the air (six to five attempts). This is a game the entire Rams offense will want to forget but especially Austin's issues returning punts.
2017 Week 15 vs SEA (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 10 / 44 / 0 rush)
Normally you would expect Austin to make this list because of what he did in the receiving game, but he actually did not register a catch. Interestingly enough, he carried the ball 10 times and was the third leading rusher. Austin was used primarily on end-around plays but did line up in the wildcat a few times despite not really being a risk to throw the ball. This is a trend that will most likely not continue and Austin will revert to his 2-3 carries per game that he has averaged the rest of the season.
2016 Week 1 vs SF (12 / 4 / 13 / 0 rec, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was heavily targeted in this game, but never got it going as when they targeted him, Keenum was unable to complete the deep pass due to inaccuracy, or there was a defender waiting for the play on the short routes and it was either caught or broken up by the defender. The Rams did attempt to incorporate Austin in the running game, but the 49ers had every answer this week and stopped the wide receiver run for minimal game. Austin did make an impact as a punt returner with a 28 yard punt return which appears to be where most of his value is at this point until the Rams can figure out a consistent passing game.
2016 Week 2 vs SEA (9 / 5 / 50 / 0 rec, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin continued his slow start to this season, although he was able to break a long reception for 26 yards on a deep out route that was a perfect throw by Case Keenum. Excluding this reception, Austin had 8 targets for just 24 yards, which is a concern as last week he had 12 targets for just 13 yards. The issue is that the Rams are just not doing enough to keep the defense honest on the types of plays that Austin can utilize his speed. They tried to hand the ball off to Austin and he has had little success so far this season. Austin has a very unconventional role in this offense, and his role is being impacted due to the nature of the Rams' offense at this point.
2016 Week 3 vs TB (8 / 5 / 82 / 1 rec, 2 / 22 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin continues to be the leading target for Case Keenum and the Rams offense, but prior to this game he just wasn't able to capitalize on the targets. This week, he made the most of them as he caught five of the eight passes thrown to him including a corner route along the sidelines that once Austin caught it he was able to spin out of a tackle and easily run into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Much like a lot of the Rams offense he is going to be highly volatile as he is a big play threat, but he has 29 targets in just three games which is definitely something to keep an eye on as he is the leading receiver on this offense.
2016 Week 4 vs ARI (6 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec, 1 / -6 / 0 rush)
For the fourth week in a row, Tavon Austin's targets have decreased (13, 9, 8, 6) as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury. Austin and Case Keenum almost connected on a 50-yard pass that unfortunately hit the ground as Austin was going to the ground ruling it incomplete. Had he caught that pass his day looks very different. Austin was able to setup the Rams for a win in this game with a big punt 47-yard punt return which ultimately setup the Rams for the game-winning touchdown.
2016 Week 5 vs BUF (10 / 7 / 59 / 0 rec, 3 / 26 / 0 rush)
Austin was targeted a team-high 10 times and pulled in 7 of those passes for 59 yards, adding 3 carries for 26 yards on the ground. Austin was able to find separation from his defender on an out and up double move. Austin continues to see the targets as he is averaging nine targets per game but has yet to show consistency so far this season as he only averaging 4.6 yards per target.
2016 Week 6 vs DET (4 / 3 / 24 / 0 rec, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin went into this game with high expectations, as Slay was going to be lined up against Kenny Britt. Austin had a season low in targets with four in this game. Prior to this game, Austin had been averaging nine targets per game and while the production had not been there so far this season the volume had been. This is a situation to watch, as the volume may be shifting to the more productive Britt this season as Keenum continues to develop as a quarterback.
2016 Week 7 vs NYG (15 / 10 / 57 / 1 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
Austin continues to be a roller coaster this season as he came off a three reception four target game last week and followed that up with a heavy usage rate this week as he was targeted 15 times. Austin, unfortunately, was not able to do much with the targets as his longest reception of the day was only ten yards as he has continued to show difficulty running after the catch which is what made him so valuable in prior years. Austin was able to catch his second touchdown of the year in this game on an in-route over the middle. Austin still has the elusiveness as we have seen it on punt returns this season, but for whatever reason is having a hard time making defenders miss when he gets the ball on offense. Austin has 50 targets this year and is only averaging 4.8 yards per target which simply is not good enough for the most targeted receiver on this team.
2016 Week 9 vs CAR (2 / 1 / 17 / 0 rec, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Austin was very quiet today with his one catch for 17 yards and was not used as much in the run game as he has been this season. The speedy receiver never broke away from Carolina's banged up and young secondary, and did not play a major factor in the game today.
2016 Week 10 vs NYJ (7 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
Austin was heavily targeted in this one but was unable to pull in most as Keenum was wildly inaccurate on the day. Austin was unable to find any room to run after the catch today and the same went for out of the backfield. Keenum tried to get him the ball, but the two were just not on the same page. Look for Austin to get on track next week against visiting Miami.
2016 Week 11 vs MIA (2 / 1 / 21 / 0 rec, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
Austin was unable to get on the same page with Goff today as the speedy receiver only had 3 total touches. Goff never really seemed to look in Austin's direction as he never made it that far in his progressions. The lone catch was a short 21-yard catch and run towards the end of the third quarter that helped set up a Zuerlein field goal.
2016 Week 12 vs NO (4 / 4 / 45 / 1 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
Austin played a big role in this one as he scored a touchdown, rushed for a first down, and caught all 4 of his targets. The big play came on his 24-yard perfectly thrown touchdown on the first drive of the game. It was nice to see Goff push the ball down the field to Austin rather than relying on the quick dump offs that had become the staple of the season. Austin took a nice jet sweep 10 yards off tackle in the third quarter, but as the Rams continued to fall behind in the game they all but abandoned the run. Austin should help Goff going forward with the short and intermediate throws to get the rookie quarterback settled early in the game. Look for the volume to increase as the Rams figure to be behind early and often in their next three games.
2016 Week 14 vs ATL (11 / 7 / 62 / 0 rec, 2 / 27 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was one of the most productive Rams today and had big plays in both the rush and passing game. Austin took a jet sweep 23-yards on the first drive of the game, but the Rams were unable to capitalize as Jared Goff was later intercepted in the red zone. Austin was also targeted 11 times in the game and his big catch came on a 17-yard reception in the second quarter. Unfortunately, after his catch and a penalty for a false start, Goff was again intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Austin continues to play a role in the passing and run game but will need better play from his quarterback to make a difference.
2016 Week 15 vs SEA (5 / 3 / 14 / 0 rec, 2 / 13 / 0 rush)
Austin could not quite meet his production from last week and was smothered by a dominating Seahawks' defense. The only real play of note was an 8-yard end around early in the first half. The Seahawks kept Jared Goff on the run all night and the Rams never really attempted to get Austin going with screens or short routes today.
2016 Week 16 vs SF (7 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec, 3 / 26 / 1 rush)
With the loss of Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin had a chance to step up and take over the offense. He was targeted a team-high 7 times but was unable to do anything with the extra targets. Jared Goff was off the mark on several throws and Austin had to find other ways to contribute. This came in the way of a 30-yard rushing touchdown. Austin took the handoff off tackle and went untouched into the end zone. If Britt is out next week, look for a significant bump in touches for Austin.
2016 Week 17 vs ARI (4 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin ended his season about as poorly as he could have imagined as he fumbled twice on the day including one that ended up being recovered by Arizona. Outside of the fumbles there really was nothing going for Austin which aligns with most of the Rams offense as they tried to get him the ball but he was unable to break lose in this game as the Rams seemed to contain just about everything the Rams did in this game.
2015 Week 1 vs SEA (5 / 2 / -2 / 0 rec, 4 / 17 / 1 rush)
Tavon Austin was a game changer on offense and special teams. The Rams made an attempt to put the ball in his hands early and often. On the Rams first offensive play, Austin received a wide receiver screen pass and made the mistake of cutting back across the field and losing 9 yards. Austin's number was called again on the second drive on a failed play action pass attempt to the end zone into tight coverage. On the first play of the second quarter on 1st and 10 from the Seattle 14 yard line, Austin lined up in the backfield and took the handoff around the left side of the line. Austin flashed his quickness on the misdirection rush for a 14 yard touchdown. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Austin took a punt return down the left sideline for his second touchdown of the day. The Rams would not have won the game without the services of Tavon Austin.
2015 Week 2 vs WAS (3 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec, 4 / 40 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was the Rams leading rusher on the day with 4 carries for 40 yards but only had 1 reception for 6 receiving yards. On the third series of the game on a 2nd and 11, Austin lined up in the backfield. He caught a quick out for 6 yards but didn't have room with multiple defenders on him. Late in the second quarter, Austin took a quick handoff while he was in motion. His quick burst led to a 10 yard gain. The Rams went back to the well twice in the second half with similar runs. Early in the 3rd quarter, Austin took an end around for a 16 yard gain around the left side of the offensive line. Early in the 4th quarter, Austin ran another end around after being in motion for a 10 yard gain.
2015 Week 3 vs PIT (5 / 5 / 38 / 0 rec)
Tavon Austin did not have as many opportunities as previous weeks. During the second series on a 2nd and 8, Austin caught a quick WR pass for a 12 yard gain. Later in that drive on a 2nd and 9, Austin caught a play action pass and fought hard to pick up the first down with an 11 yard gain. Later in the first half on a 2nd and 4, Foles checked out of a run opting to pass to Austin on a 6 yard WR screen. During the second half, Austin had one reception, a sideline route for 7 yards.
2015 Week 4 vs ARI (7 / 6 / 96 / 2 rec, 2 / 20 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was the main playmaker for the Rams offense. During the first series on a 3rd and 5 from the Arizona 12 yard line, Austin caught a crossing route across the middle for a 12 yard touchdown reception. During the middle of the 2nd quarter, Austin caught a 47 yard reception on a deep route. Early in the 3rd quarter on a 2nd and 15, Austin caught a wide receiver screen pass and ran for an 18 yard gain. Early in the 4th quarter on a 2nd and 10 from the Rams 20 yard line, Austin ran an end around the left side for a 12 yard gain. Later in the drive on a 3rd and 6 from the Arizona 12 yard line, Austin caught his second touchdown reception on a slant route across the middle of the field.
2015 Week 5 vs GB (5 / 2 / 6 / 1 rec, 3 / 22 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was the second option in the Rams offense behind Todd Gurley. Early in the game, Austin took a hand-off while in motion around the left side of the line for a 7 yard gain. Later in the drive from the Packers five yard line, Foles took the snap out of the shotgun and touch-tipped the ball to Austin as he ran past in motion. Austin ran around the left side of the line and made a cut back for an easy touchdown. Early in the 4th quarter, Austin ran an end around the right side of the line for a 15 yard gain.
2015 Week 7 vs CLE (7 / 4 / 43 / 0 rec, 1 / 21 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was involved with the game plan throughout the game. Early 2nd quarter, Austin caught a quick screen pass for a 7 yard gain. Early 3rd quarter, Austin caught a screen pass and ran to the left sideline for a 11 yard gain. During the next series, Austin made a reception while running down the right sideline for a 20 yard gain. Early 4th quarter, Austin took an end-around to the right sideline for a 16 yard gain.
2015 Week 8 vs SF (7 / 4 / 98 / 1 rec, 3 / 21 / 1 rush)
Tavon Austin was a play-maker on the ground and in the air. Late 1st quarter, Austin ran an out-route for a 10 yard reception. On the next play, he caught a 24 yard pass while coming back for the ball but fumbled as he was turning around. Late 2nd quarter, Austin ran an end-around to the right sideline for an 8 yard gain. Later in the drive, Austin received a hand-off while in motion from left to right. He continued running to the right sideline and stretched the ball into the end zone for a 3 yard touchdown run. Early 2nd quarter, Austin lined up in the backfield and took a hand-off for a 13 yard gain. Mid 4th quarter on a 3rd and 3, Austin caught a WR screen pass and followed his blockers up the middle of the field. Once he got behind the defense there was no catching Austin as he ran for the 66 yard touchdown reception.
2015 Week 9 vs MIN (7 / 4 / 15 / 0 rec, 8 / 66 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had an impact in the rushing game. The Rams had success running an end-around rush multiple times during the game. Late 1st quarter on a 3rd and 6, Austin ran a comeback route making a 10 yard reception. Mid 2nd quarter, Austin ran in motion from left-to-right and caught a screen pass for a 12 yard gain. Late 2nd quarter, Austin ran an end-around toward the right sideline for a 13 yard gain. A couple of plays later, Austin ran another end-around for a 22 yard gain cutting back to the middle of the field. Early 4th quarter, the Rams went back to Austin with the same end-around for a 20 yard gain.
2015 Week 10 vs CHI (4 / 2 / 5 / 0 rec, 3 / 18 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had a quiet afternoon as he was unable to ever get going. Austin had 5 touches for 23 total yards. Early 1st quarter, Austin caught a WR screen but was contained for a 1 yard gain. During the middle of the 1st quarter, Austin ran a reverse for what looked to be a 12 yard touchdown run. The play was called back due to a holding penalty. On the next play, Austin ran an end-around for a 12 yard gain. Early 4th quarter, Austin caught a screen pass for a 4 yard gain.
2015 Week 11 vs BAL (5 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec, 1 / 16 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin did not make an impact on the game with only 1 reception on 5 targets for 5 yards and 1 rush for 16 yards. Austin had zero receptions during the first half and muffed a punt return late in the 2nd quarter which led to a Ravens field goal. Mid 3rd quarter, Austin ran an end-around to the right sideline for a 16 yard gain. Late 4th quarter, Austin caught a screen pass for a 5 yard reception.
2015 Week 12 vs CIN (6 / 6 / 33 / 0 rec, 4 / 63 / 1 rush)
The Rams made it a priority to get the ball in the hands of Tavon Austin early in the game. During the opening series, Austin caught a screen pass and ran to the right sideline for a 7 yard reception. Mid 1st quarter, Austin ran an end-around for a 2 yard gain and followed it up with a 7 yard reception on a screen pass. Mid 2nd quarter, Austin ran in motion from left-to-right and took a handoff from Todd Gurley who was in the Wildcat formation. On the play, Austin quickly found the outside and ran down the right sideline for a 60 yard gain. A couple of plays later, Austin ran in motion from left-to right and took a handoff from Nick Foles. On the play, Austin quickly got around the right side of the line for a 5 yard touchdown run. Early 3rd quarter, Austin caught a screen pass and cut it back across the field for a 7 yard gain. Early 4th quarter, Austin caught a screen pass for a 11 yard reception.
2015 Week 13 vs ARI (3 / 1 / 24 / 0 rec, 2 / 14 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had 1 reception on 3 targets for 24 yards. Austin added 2 rushes for 14 yards. Late 1st quarter, Austin ran an end-around from left-to-right for a 2 yard gain. The Cardinals defense was ready for the play as Austin had no room to run. Early 3rd quarter, Austin had a 67 yard punt return called back due to a holding penalty. Late 3rd quarter, Austin ran an end-around from right-to-left for a 12 yard gain. Early 4th quarter, Austin ran an out-route for a 24 yard reception.
2015 Week 14 vs DET (5 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec, 4 / 40 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin was featured early in the game with four 1st quarter touches for 38 yards. Austin had 3 receptions on 5 targets for 19 yard with 4 rushes for 40 yards. During the opening series, Austin ran a curl-route for a 3 yard gain. A couple of plays later, Austin caught a screen pass for a 2 yard reception. Late 1st quarter, Austin ran in motion from left-to-right and took the handoff for a 20 yard gain. A few plays later Austin lined up in the backfield and ran to the left for a 13 yard gain. Late 2nd quarter, Austin ran a comeback-route for a 14 yard reception. Mid 3rd quarter, Austin ran an end-around for a 7 yard gain. Late 3rd quarter, Austin had a punt return for touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.
2015 Week 15 vs TB (3 / 3 / 41 / 1 rec, 4 / 32 / 1 rush)
Tavon Austin was a game changer in the air and on the ground. Austin had 3 receptions on 3 targets for 41 yards and 1 touchdown and added 4 rushes for 32 yards and 1 touchdown. Early 1st quarter, Austin caught a screen pass and followed his blockers for a 17 yard touchdown reception. On the play, Austin made a quick cut to his right to break a tackle before crossing the goal line. Late 1st quarter, Austin ran an end-around from left-to-right for a 15 yard gain. Mid 2nd quarter, Austin ran a comeback-route for a 13 yard reception. Mid 3rd quarter, Austin ran a slant route for a 11 yard reception before cutting back to the right sideline. A couple of plays later, Austin ran an end-around from left-to-right for a 21 yard touchdown run. On the play, Austin followed his blockers while quickly reaching the corner and breaking a couple of tackles for the score. Austin is the 1st player with 4+ rush TD, 5+ receiving TD, & a punt return for TD in a season since Gale Sayers in 1965.
2015 Week 16 vs SEA (7 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec, 3 / 12 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had 3 receptions on 7 targets for 16 yards and added 3 rushes for 12 yards. The Rams tried to get Austin going during the opening series but the timing was off on a couple of pass attempts. During the next series, Austin caught a screen pass and spun out of a tackle running down the left sideline for a 16 yard reception. Mid 3rd quarter, Austin ran an end-around for a 8 yard gain. Late 3rd quarter, Austin caught a screen pass for a 4 yard reception.
2015 Week 17 vs SF (8 / 5 / 30 / 0 rec, 6 / 32 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had 5 receptions for 30 yards with 6 rushes for 32 yards. Early 1st quarter, Austin ran up the middle before bouncing to the right sideline and cutting back to the middle of the field for a 13 yard gain. Late 1st quarter, Austin ran a curl-route for a 7 yard reception. Early 2nd quarter, Austin caught a screen pass and ran for a 7 yard reception. On the next play, Austin caught another screen pass for a 10 yard reception. Mid 2nd quarter, Austin ran an end-around for a 4 yard gain. A few plays later, Austin ran a curl-route for a 9 yard reception. Early 3rd quarter, Austin caught a screen pass for a 7 yard reception.
2014 Week 1 vs MIN (3 / 3 / 34 / 0 rec, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
The Rams clearly have no idea what to do with Austin. HE goes down immediately on contact, which makes him a very strange choice as a change of pace running back. The only way that works is if there is a big hole. On one of his 3 runs, he saw a bit of daylight and got 5 yards. But there simply is no reason for him to be regularly running the ball behind this Oline. He's just going to get himself killed. The main problem with Austin is that he can't seem to shake defenders when he gets the ball. His short passes are usually snuffed out immediately. In two seasons, the only real danger comes when he gets the ball deep downfield. His only real positive play of the day was a 28 yard deep sideline throw from Austin Davis. Tavon got past a defender and got open for the big gain. In short, the "Wes Welker" role is not working for Tavon, nor is the "Percy Harvin" role. It may be time to stop wasting plays in these areas, and let him focus his talents in the return game and on deep routes.
2014 Week 2 vs TB (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 2 / 21 / 0 rush)
Austin's lone bright spot of the day came on an end-around in which he finally got in space. He was then able to juke a man and get pass the second level. Austin can't break tackles, he can only make you miss. If you get a hand on him, he's going down. It takes a lot of space to make that work in the NFL, which is why he's struggling. The reason Austin isn't the "next Wes Welker" is because of what happened late in the 2nd quarter. Davis hit Tavon right in his hands on short possession-type of pass. Austin caught the ball, was drilled by two defenders and dropped it. He also injured himself on the play and is likely to miss a number of weeks. It's likely that the loss of Austin will actually benefit the team, as this team is really struggling to figure out how to manufacture plays to justify their high selection of him in the 2013 draft.
2014 Week 5 vs PHI (2 / 2 / 33 / 0 rec)
Austin was back on the field, but the Rams at this point have reduced his role to a gadget player. He did get 22 yards on a crossing route. These are the types of plays he needs to run. The Rams got him in space across the middle, and he was able to break downfield for 22 yards. His other reception was another short cross. He got the ball, and created enough confusion and indecision on the part of the defense with his jukes to allow him to dive ahead and get 11 yards and a first down. Yes, the Rams blew it by drafting him in the top ten. But he can still make big plays, and he remains an explosive option. With the emergence of Quick, Britt and Cook as huge receivers, the Rams should be able to get Austin into open spaces much more frequently. But at this point, it looks as if those targets are going to be the exception, instead of the norm. As such, his fantasy relevance is minimal. That being said, if you are hurt by bye-weeks, Austin will get a few big TD's this year, so he represents an extremely high risk/reward player.
2014 Week 6 vs SF (5 / 4 / 35 / 0 rec, 3 / 16 / 0 rush)
Austin actually got 3 carries in this game, and did a nice job with them. He saw a hole, and flew up the middle for an 8 yard gain, then followed that up with a first down run on the next play. The good news is that they are getting him the ball, but the better news is that they were able to get him 4 receptions. Austin ran a nice stutter-go-comeback route for 9 yards on playaction. He also caught a screen on 3rd and long that was never going to get a first down. Austin's two other catches were underneath late in the fourth quarter when the 49ers were giving up the underneath routes, so these aren't the type of receptions that can be counted on week-to-week.
2014 Week 7 vs SEA (4 / 3 / 6 / 0 rec, 5 / 16 / 0 rush)
Austin continues to get usage in the running game, but this doesn't appear to be doing much. Austin did have an 8 yard run up the middle on his first carry of the game, and this carry showed his ability to juke and make plays in space. He is so small he can be hard to spot, and he was able to get 8 yards. But the rest of the game he was manhandled every time he touched the ball. On a late game drive, Davis tried to throw to Austin for a first down, and Sherman just bullied the ball away from him. Austin is extremely easy to tackle, which is why it's odd that they are letting him run the ball up the middle. It requires a sizable hole, and if the hole isn't there, he'll go down instantly. This team is grasping at straws to try and find a role for Austin. At this point, they need to focus on kickoff and punt returns and let him run a few deep routes, because nothing else is working.
2014 Week 8 vs KC (2 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
The scatback had one meaningless carry up the middle, and caught a few short passes. He still hasn't made a big play all season or shown any kind of spark.
2014 Week 9 vs SF (3 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Austin did convert one first down on a short pass over the middle, but as with most Tavon Austin catches this year, it was short and relatively meaningless. Austin also had 2 carries, but wasn't able to do anything with them. The Rams are completely failing in their attempts to make Tavon Austin a valuable member of their receiving corps. He can't break tackles, isn't getting deep, and is failing to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball.
2014 Week 10 vs ARI (3 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
It seemed initially as if the Rams game plan involved making a considered effort to get Tavon Austin the ball, but as the game progressed that never exactly came to fruition. In the end Austin only had two catches on three targets in the passing game and one run, for a whopping three total touches. In truth, 17 of Austin's 30 total yards came only as a result of a bad missed tackle. At this point it doesn't even appear as though the Rams have figured out how to utilize him as a decoy, much less an actual threat.
2014 Week 11 vs DEN (4 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
Austin ran the ball for a short gain, he got a target on a deep crossing route, and he pulled down a couple short screen passes. But his only real success was a 9 yard reverse. The Rams continue to struggle to implement his skillset into the offense. Perhaps Shaun Hill has the arm to make this happen, and we will see a long TD or two over the next month, but to this point, Austin has been worse in 2014 than he was as a rookie. When your diminutive playmaker continues to show no ability to make plays, it's tough to find a spot for him.
2014 Week 12 vs SD (3 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec, 3 / 27 / 1 rush)
The Rams have stuck by Austin, and he actually made some really big plays in this one. Austin took a 6 yard end-around, and streaked to the pylon to score a running TD. Austin finally got a target on a deep ball, and blew past his defender, which caused a pass interference penalty as the defender grabbed his jersey to keep him from getting away. Why Austin doesn't get more deep balls is a mystery. Austin also had a 70+ punt return called back very late in the 4th quarter. It was a magnificent game-breaking run, that was partially brought back due to a penalty. When Austin shows his speed, it's just enough to wonder what kind of tool Austin could be on a creative team like Philly. But on the Rams, generally the attempts to get him the ball fall flat.
2014 Week 13 vs OAK (5 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec, 2 / 24 / 1 rush)
The Rams finally got Tavon Austin some successful targets, though it must be said that the porous tackling of the Raiders played a big part in it. They started the game with 2 screens to Austin, both of which were successful in getting solid positive yardage. Working off of those screens, they faked a 3rd, and threw a screen to Mason for a TD. But it was an end-around that was the biggest play of the game for Austin. Austin took a handoff directly behind Hill after being in motion and faked 4-5 Raiders out on his way to a whirling 18 yard TD. It's the type of play that we expected to see Austin make more often. Unfortunately he hasn't been able to do this against solid defenses. This kind of run against the Raiders is as much of an indictment of the Raiders as it is a testament to Austin. Austin certainly has ability, but usually goes down quite easily once touched. On his TD, he somehow made 4 men fail to touch him, and got another big TD for St. Louis.
2014 Week 14 vs WAS (2 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec, 5 / 46 / 0 rush)
Tavon Austin had one of those days that must give Rams fans hope. His explosive 78-yard punt return was a thing of beauty. He crossed the field, outran the coverage to the sideline, and then just smoked the defenders in the open field. If Austin can keep you from touching him, he's hard to stop. The Rams have begun to try to get him more involved in the running game. In the beginning of the season, they even tried giving him the ball on direct handoffs from behind the QB. This obviously is about as uncreative as you can get. Currently, they are infatuated with having Austin run behind the QB and take the handoff while in motion, or shortly after the snap, and run sweeps out of the backfield. This actually worked pretty well against the Redskins. Austin had a few really nice runs, getting in open space, and was able to provide a good change of pace to the hard running of Mason. The problem with this style is that the Rams will play teams with much better linebackers than the Redskins have. Running Tavon Austin horizontally will work every once in awhile, but the Rams continually trying this is not going to consistently work in the NFL. The Rams are still struggling to get Austin the ball through the air, and Austin doesn't have the physicality to be a major threat running the ball. As such, he's going to remain a gimmick/gadget player, and a potentially elite punt returner for the majority of his career, unless a coordinator can figure out a new way to get him the ball.
2014 Week 15 vs ARI (4 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
The Rams tried a few trick plays using Austin as a decoy on the in-motion handoff that they ran a number of times a week ago. Some of them worked, and some didn't, as is usually the case with trick plays. When they did get Austin the handoff, he went for 8 yards on the outside run. Austin's only real success this year has come on outside runs. His short receptions usually get bottled up quickly. You'd think the Rams would figure out a way to design more screens to Austin, but at this point they just haven't been able to get much going, aside from gadget plays.
2014 Week 16 vs NYG (2 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec, 3 / 25 / 0 rush)
Once again, Austin showed glimpses of the speed that can cause you to think he has a chance at being a big player in the NFL. ON a double reverse, he raced 19 yards around the corner, high stepping and showing elusiveness. Austin also caught a short pass, and actually physically broke a tackle, en routes to a 15 yard gain. But Austin made a pretty big error early in the game that swung momentum the other way. Hill threw a screen to Tavon, and Austin let it slip right through his hands and into the arms of the defense. It's tempting to judge Austin as nothing more than a gadget player. That's certainly all he's been this year. But when you remember that his coaching staff isn't known for their offensive ingenuity, and you look at the pathetic QB's he's had in his first two seasons, it gives a slight bit of hope that he can turns things around next year.
2014 Week 17 vs SEA (2 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Tavon can make big plays at times against some of the poor teams of the league. But when the Rams get into big NFC West matchups against physical teams like Seattle, Austin continues to do nothing. Seattle is fast and physical, which is the recipe for shutting down Tavon. A couple short passes were stopped for short gains, a reverse didn't work, and a direct handoff was stopped immediately. Will the Tavon Austin experiment continue in 2015? The Rams blew a top 10 pick on a gadget player, and while he makes big plays every now and then, the offensive coaching staff has shown no ability to transform him into a weapon that threatens NFL defenses.
2013 Week 1 vs ARI (7 / 6 / 41 / 0 rec, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Austin didn't get a touch until the 2nd quarter, but then he figured prominently into the gameplan. His first NFL reception was a short gain, and he looked to have a lot of field, but Tyronn Mathieu came flying into the picture and took him down for a short gain. Later on in the drive, however, Bradford threw it deep to Tavon in an attempt to get a long play. Mathieu was the defender on this play as well, and their feet tangled up long before we could see how the play would turn out. Mathieu was called for pass interference which help setup a field goal. At the end of the first half, Bradford hit Austin streaking out of the backfield after being in motion, he made the catch and got upfield for 9 yards. In the third quarter, Austin came across the middle and Brinkley visibly bumped him off his route. Austin rebounded and caught the pass, but Brinkley and another defender had him blanketed. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, Austin started in the slot, made a move on Mathieu, cut across the middle and pulled in a pinpoint pass from Bradford for a first down. The matchup with Mathieu will obviously be fun to watch for the next few years. Austin got him for this play and for the pass interference, but Mathieu was physical with him as well. As defenders devote extra resources to Cook, it will be interesting to see if the Rams are able to get Austin in space. But it was encouraging to see him already developing as a steady part of the passing game in his first NFL start.
2013 Week 2 vs ATL (12 / 6 / 47 / 2 rec, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
The Rams continue to try and get Tavon Austin the ball. He lined up in the backfield and had one very nice run, making a quick cut and then darting forward for 7 yards. Austin also got behind a defender in the 2nd quarter as Bradford tried to hit him deep. However the ball just didn't have enough air under it, and Tavon isn't going to outjump many cornerbacks. Austin was having a quiet game as the game progressed late into the 3rd quarter. But then when the Rams began moving the ball on the underneath routes, Austin heated up, gaining 5 receptions in the final quarter and a half. However, as we mentioned previously, the Falcons were giving up the middle of the field, so it's hard to put too much stock into this situation, unless you feel the Rams will be down big all season long. As is typical of a rookie, Austin struggled to hold onto the ball. At the end of the first half, Bradford floated a pass over the defender to a wide open Austin at the first down marker, and he dropped it. On the first drive of the second half, a miscommunication between Austin and Bradford led to an incomplete pass. Austin dropped another pass on the 2nd drive, which contributed to another punt. Then on the final drive he dropped another first down pass, although he quickly redeemed himself. These drops and mental errors will be fixed, and are expected from rookies. But there is much to be excited about. On his first TD, Austin sort of ran half speed to the goalline, then exploded toward the pylon. Bradford rolled out and hit Austin right on the sideline and his quick cut allowed him to get open. Later in the fourth quarter, Austin ran straight downfield, then exploded across the middle on a slant. The cut was so quick that he was completely wide open when he made the catch. His final TD was just a function of finding the hole in the zone, sitting down in that hole and then catching the perfectly thrown ball from Bradford. Austin was targeted 12 times and the Rams are making an effort to get him the ball. Of some concern is the fact that Austin still hasn't broken a single long play thus far. While he is shifty and can usually make the first defender miss, he hasn't shown the ability to physically break tackles thus far. Often times, however, this is a result of not understanding the offense 100% and only being able to run a limited number of routes. As Austin grows as a receiver, his YAC should increase.
2013 Week 3 vs DAL (7 / 6 / 30 / 0 rec, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
There are some positives and some negatives to Austin's game right now. On the one hand, he is getting open and getting a lot of receptions. Austin had another 6 receptions on Sunday and is on his way to 90+ receptions at his current pace. He is the one offensive skill position player that didn't get his stats padded by the blowout. The Rams looked to him early and often, getting him the ball on the first four possessions. He also took the handoff on the first play of the game for the Rams, running for a short gain. The Cowboys, however, anticipated Austin's every move and snuffed them all out. When Bradford hit Austin on a designed screen, Claiborne blew it up in devastating fashion. On the next drive, Bradford his Austin for 4 yards and immediately a bevy of Dallas defenders converged. Then on the next drive, Bradford threw it to Austin again, and Austin finally made one player miss, only to find two more Dallas defenders in his face. So the ability for Austin to get open is encouraging, but the inability for him to make any sort of big plays at all is a frustrating conundrum.
2013 Week 4 vs SF (8 / 2 / 6 / 0 rec)
There will be heated debate about Austin among the media, fantasy players who are convinced the Rams are mis-using him, and among fans of the Rams. But the bottom line is that at this point Austin just can't make big plays. Granted, he's a rookie and the NFL isn't easy for any rookie wr. But when he lined up in the slot, all it took was just a little physical bump from the defender, and Austin is immediately thrown off his route. Bradford tried hitting him on a deep crossing route and overthrew him. Bradford also overthrew him on one deep ball in the second half. But you have to wonder, is Austin big enough? Does he present a big enough target on these types of plays? There is not a long list of successful 5'7" receivers in the NFL. On the failed deep crossing route, the already small passing lanes become even smaller when your receiver doesn't have the length to stretch out for the pass. The Rams are struggling to figure out a way to incorporate Austin into the offense. It doesn't help that the team has two coaches that have zero ingenuity. How about a screen pass to Austin? Perhaps they could put him in motion more? Defenses are getting more and more physical with Austin and he appears to be losing the respect of defenses, as he hasn't shown the ability to hurt teams with his elusiveness. It's hard to call bust on a player after 4 games, but it's hard to watch this team right now and figure out how Austin is going to make a major impact.
2013 Week 5 vs JAX (6 / 3 / 32 / 0 rec)
Austin killed two drives with drops on quick screen passes. Although the Rams coaching staff has been getting destroyed over their use of Tavon, Tavon has to share some of the blame as well. Part of it is desperation, as Austin is desperate to break out and show he can be the explosive player that they wanted him to be. A small positive is that Austin did finally get a long gain in this game. He took of downfield and sat down about 15 yards deep in the middle of zone coverage. Bradford got him the ball and Austin finally was in open space! He made a couple nice moves, and picked up an extra 10 yards. Austin is going to have to start getting the ball deep downfield if he's going to keep the defenders from sitting on his short routes. Between the tight coverage and his drops, the nightmare rookie season continues for Tavon Austin.
2013 Week 6 vs HOU (1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
Austin's one reception was a short WR screen pass. He made a nice move and got 3 yards for a first down. But other than that, he was basically invisible. Of some concern to Austin owners is the fact that he just wasn't on the field all that often. The Rams have so many big receivers, and for much of the game, they kept the big guys on the field. It's obvious that at this point, the Rams have no idea how to incorporate him into the offense.
2013 Week 7 vs CAR (5 / 5 / 39 / 0 rec)
Austin finally got behind the defense, and Bradford threw a perfect deep ball for a 60+ yard touchdown. However, a tripping penalty on Jake Long negated the big play, which is a shame for the speedy Austin. Bradford also hit Austin on a 24 yard gain across the middle, as Austin ran upfield, cut inside and made a big catch. It was good to see the Rams try to get him the ball downfield. Their hope is that these long throws will cause the defense to respect Austin's speed and open things up in the short passing game. However, the Panthers were having none of it. Aside from the 24 yard gain, Austin had 4 catches for 15 yards, all of them short and quickly bottled up by the defenders.
2013 Week 8 vs SEA (3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Austin seems too small to make an impact, he rarely plays, and when he does, he shows no explosive ability. At this point, it might not be too early to call him a bust. On an early reception, he was drilled for a 3 yard loss, showing that teams are not respecting his deep speed. Later in the game, he did get a big 12 yard reception on a sideline route, but he wasn't drafted to be a possession receiver. His inability to even stay on the field is concerning for fans of the diminutive receiver.
2013 Week 9 vs TEN (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Austin showed his speed on a 6 yard end-around, but also was destroyed by a DB upon initial contact. Austin is very fast, but he's not going to break tackles. His speed is his best attribute, and the Rams don't have the offensive ingenuity or the QB to take advantage. Austin had a chance for a big play in this game, but Clemens couldn't deliver. Backed up on their own 15, Austin completely blew by the DB and Clemens threw an ugly deep ball that had no chance. A halfway decent throw would have given the Rams an 85 yard TD. At some point in his NFL career, Austin could become a play-maker. But with this scheme and QB, it isn't likely to happen this year.
2013 Week 10 vs IND (3 / 2 / 138 / 2 rec, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
The star of the day was Tavon Austin. On two early punt returns, he showed his speed with long runs. Then he really broke the game open with a 98 yard TD. At first he was waving his blocker away, as the ball bounced in front of him. He was going to let the ball go, but then it bounced right to him, he spun around and then just took off down the right sideline. His speed was very evident, and few in the NFL have comparable speed. Then he finally was able to make a big play on offense, which has been an obvious concern of Austin's fantasy owners, and of the Rams organization. There wasn't much to it. He lined up wide, had single coverage with Vontae Davis, and he just smoked him. He went 57 yards and the defense never had a chance. On his last TD, Austin was again lined up on the left side and he crossed the field with Vontae Davis again in single coverage. He was three or four steps past Davis when Clemens stepped out of the pocket and flipped him the ball a few yards past the line of scrimmage. Austin turned upfield, and just exploded towards the endzone. Austin's ability to get the ball in space is directly proportional to the amount of attention the defense gives to the running game. At the start of the season, Austin was focused on every time he hit the field, and as the season progressed, he had less and less space. He had become so irrelevant to the Rams gameplan, that the Colts decided to focus on the run, and single cover the WR's. Austin made them pay twice, and future opponents will think twice about playing that style of defense on the electric rookie.
2013 Week 12 vs CHI (5 / 2 / 39 / 0 rec, 1 / 65 / 1 rush)
Austin continued his explosive play with an explosive 65 yard run on the game's opening drive. Austin started toward the QB, took the pitch, and then reversed field and weaved his way toward the right sideline. Once he hit the sideline, he turned on the jets and simply raced past all the Bear's defensive backs for the TD. Austin has that speed that at times makes defenders look like they are taking bad angles. But in reality, his speed is like Chris Johnson's in that he simply outruns the defenders even when it seems as if that isn't going to be possible. The problem with Austin is that when the explosive plays don't happen, he is likely to put a big goose-egg on the scoreboard. After that big run, he only had 2 receptions. Now part of that is due to the fact that the Rams were in running mode. Austin did have a big reception in the second half. Clemens scrambled and was under pressure, and he caught Austin who had crossed the field and smoked his defensive backs. Clemens made a beautiful floating pass over the linebackers and Austin hauled it in for a 32 yard gain. Austin's ability to make an impact against good defenses will be tested over the next few weeks as the Rams take on their NFC West opponents. Seeing him against physical defenses will tell us a lot about his ability to be a week-to-week factor in the gameplan.
2013 Week 13 vs SF (7 / 4 / 25 / 0 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
After an explosive few weeks, Austin came down to earth, though the Rams tried to get him involved. Austin converted a few first downs on short slant passes. As defenses show themselves concerned with his deep play ability, he finally is getting some space on the underneath routes. Austin also used that speed to get ten yards on a running play, and also faked a run on an end-around and was given the chance to throw the ball, though he just threw it out of bounds. The Rams did make two deep throws to Austin and both were incomplete. The concern with Austin on deep throws is that his size isn't going to allow him to make a play on the ball. If he hasn't blown by his defender, it's almost a wasted throw, and he's just too short to fight for it. Eric Reid dropped an easy INT on one deep throw, and the defender easily shielded Austin from another deep ball with physical coverage. Clemens would be wise to only use Austin as a decoy on deep balls, unless he has blown past his defender.
2013 Week 14 vs ARI (3 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec, 1 / 56 / 0 rush)
Austin's day consisted of a 9 yard slant early in the game, and an explosive run on an end-around late in the game. Austin's run was a thing of beauty though. He broke about 7 tackles and showed the open field electricity that the Rams were looking for when they drafted him. He hurt his foot at the end of the play, but he seemed ok on the sidelines later on. Austin is so unbelievably electric with the ball in his hands in the open field, and the Rams are still trying to figure out how to fit him in. The coaching staff seems to be doing a better job of getting him in position to make big plays, but at this point, if the long TD's don't happen, he isn't getting enough looks to merit any serious fantasy consideration. At the beginning of the year, they tried forcing him the ball, and that didn't work. Now he seems like more of a big-play guy, but doesn't seem to get heavily involved in the down-to-down offense. This probably is more effective, as his size isn't conducive to taking a ton of hits.