With so much focus on the Houston Texans fan base cheering the injury of quarterback Matt Schaub and another disastrous game for the Texans, what gets lost is how little Tavon Austin played in the game. The eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, a player the Rams traded up to get, played just four snaps. He had a kick return for 8 yards and a reception for 3 yards. That was it. Perhaps only a blip on the radar for Austin in what could be a long, effective career, there are some questions about how effective Austin can be in the NFL barely a month into the NFL season.
After an incredible career at West Virginia where he put up astronomical numbers and was easily the best player in college football pound for pound, Austin has not had the transition many expected him to have this year including the Rams. The question is whether or not the fact he is 5’8” 176lbs is proving to be a real problem or if Austin is just getting accustomed to the NFL.
Through 6 games with the Rams, Austin has caught 24 passes on 41 targets for 159 yards at an average of 6.6 yards per play and 2 touchdowns. Austin’s long is only 25 yards. He has carried the ball 4 times for 10 yards with a long of 7 yards. On returns, Austin has 17 punt returns for just 57 yards with a long of 14 yards. The kick return Austin had for 8 yards was his first of the season.
It is unclear if the Rams are ready to panic, but Austin was expected to come in and be an immediate force in the league that could really transform the Rams offense. Perhaps those expectations were unrealistic, but it is difficult to argue that the production to this point has been underwhelming and a bit disappointing. With this game of only being in four plays, the question is where do the Rams go from here and if this was just for this game or if there is a real problem developing.
The Rams are now 3-3 coming off of what was a big win against the Texans, but there are more than a few questions in St. Louis surrounding Sam Bradford as well as the Rams running game, so adding Austin to that list is not something the Rams wanted to do. There are 10 games left in the season and it will be interesting to see where the Rams and Austin go from here, considering the substantial investment they made in the young man.