Bailey v. Austin

To Jeff Fisher, or whomever this may concern,

The Rams traded up in the 2013 draft (to the #8 pick) to get Tavon Austin. Austin brings an element to the return game that can be exciting (51 touches, 678 yards, 1 TD between both kick and punt returns), but his punt return TD was on a play that probably should not have been taken. Former and current teammate Stedman Bailey was taken in the 3rd round of the draft, quite unceremoniously. Austin makes some bad decisions on special teams, like the fortuitous one listed above - which I don't believe Bailey does (albeit in a less glamorous ST role.) Bailey has been instilled as one of the "gunners" on the punt and kick return teams. Also, he has basically been forgotten on offense, despite being one of the most prolific college receivers the Rams have ever drafted.

Here are the college statistics (on offense - plays from scrimmage, yards from scrimmage, TDs) for the most recent WRs drafted by the Rams:

  • 2013 - Tavon Austin - 398 plays, 4,446 yards, 11.2 yards/play, 35 TDs
  • 2013 - Stedman Bailey - 212 plays, 3,231 yards, 15.2 yards/play, 41 TDs
  • 2012 - Brian Quick - 202 plays, 3,418 yards, 16.9 yards/play, 31 TDs (D-IAA)
  • 2012 - Chris Givens - 208 plays, 2,711 yards, 13.0 yards/play, 23 TDs
  • 2011 - Austin Pettis - 230 plays, 2,827 yards, 12.3 yards/play, 39 TDs
  • 2011 - Greg Salas - 285 plays, 4,345 yards, 15.2 yards/play, 26 TDs
  • 2010 - Mardy Gilyard - 211 plays, 3,029 yards, 14.4 yards/play, 26 TDs
  • 2009 - Brooks Foster - 109 plays, 1,358 yards, 12.5 yards/play, 6 TDs
Just looking at that list, I feel that Stedman Bailey is likely the best "big play" receiver of the bunch. He has the second most yards per play on the list - the only man ahead of him coming from one of the top D-IAA schools in the country, not from FBS competition. He also had the most touchdowns on the list, despite having made the 4th most amount of plays. Not being given a chance (having only 96 touches coming into his senior year) should not be a knock on his production when given a chance. I see the same happening in St. Louis. Bailey has not been given a chance. Here are Bailey and Austin's numbers this year - offensive plays alone.
Stedman Bailey - 2 rushes, 33 yards, 1 TD - 13 catches, 193 yards, 0 TD, 0 fumbles

Tavon Austin - 9 rushes, 151 yards, 1 TD - 40 catches, 418 yards, 4 TD - 1 pass (incomplete), 4 fumbles

If you look at Stedman Bailey's numbers extrapolated to the same offensive chances as Tavon Austin, he would have:

9 rushes for 148.5 yards and 4.5 TD with 40 catches for 594 yards and 0 TD with 0 fumbles.

I understand that the double reverse will not spring him for 27 yard TD runs every other time he touches the ball as a rusher, I get that. I also understand that if he had been found 40 times as a receiver he would not have 0 TDs (and probably not 0 fumbles either. I don't think that it would be unreasonable to expect this however:

9 rushes for 106 yards and 2 TD with 40 catches for 594 yatds and 3 TD with 1 fumble.

If that's the case, why can he not just be given more chances? The 700 yards I have predicted above would be 2nd on the team in yards from scrimmage and the 5 TDs would tie him with Austin for 2nd on the list.

Please, Jeff Fisher and others, just get Bailey into the game more for a chance to make your team better. I'm tired of losing seasons in STL.


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