Preseason gives us glimpse of Tavon Austin


Flashes, glimpse and potential are all common terms that have described Tavon Austin thus far in his  young career. A narrative heard all too much. One that displays Austin’s talent as brief and fleeting, appearing only in short bursts. Austin has yet to establish consistency, albeit not entirely his fault due to the Rams’ quarterback carousel, but could this be the year he finally puts it all together?

Many have questioned when he will break out. The popular opinion says 2015 is the year and with good reason. A new QB and, more importantly, a new offensive coordinator could be just what the doctor ordered for Austin.

When the Rams promoted quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr. to offensive coordinator this offseason, he said what everyone expected him to. That he will get Tavon Austin the ball more. I said I’ll believe it when I see it, especially after watching Brian Schottenheimer struggle to get him the ball for two years. Even though it is only a small sample size, if the preseason is any indication, Austin will be getting the ball a lot and in many different ways.

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Austin posted three catches in the preseason but in this case it is quality over quantity. He gained 84 yards on those three grabs, one for 43 yards and another for 35 yards because Cignetti did what Schottenheimer couldn’t do: get Austin the ball in space. Austin’s two big plays came off of screen passes where he could showcase his incredible speed and agility.

On Thursday against the Chiefs, Austin dazzled and juked his way out of what looked like a doomed play.

August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) runs with the football against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Austin had at least four Chiefs bearing down on him but put on the moves and displayed good vision by reversing the field, running toward a convoy of Rams blockers and on his way to a big gain. It’s plays like this that we expect from Austin and he is certainly capable of delivering. Having a healthy Nick Foles all year should boost his numbers.

Cignetti will likely also use Austin in motion and in the run game. Last season he had 36 rushing attempts for 224 yards. That’s an average of more than six yards per carry, not bad numbers! I am sure the Rams have a lot more up their sleeve for Austin and obviously did not want to tip their hand in the preseason.

The bottom line is; there are tons of options with Tavon. Whether he gets the ball in space, from the backfield, in motion, or on a route, the dude can ball. Cignetti just has to get it in his hands and let him do the rest.

Will Tavon Austin enjoy a breakout year? Or will he further enter “bust” territory? Share your thoughts below.