In 2015, Los Angeles Rams’ wide receiver Tavon Austin was an integral part of the team’s ground game; serving well in a complementary role to Todd Gurley. An x-factor type player with elite speed and shiftiness, Austin has proven that he can make big plays, provided he’s given a little breathing room.
But breathing room - and yardage - has been hard to come by in the 2016 season. Here’s a quick glance at where Austin finished up last year, and how it stacks up through seven weeks of the current season.
The season isn’t over, and there’s certainly time for Austin to improve upon these figures. But what’s being displayed on the field provides the fans with very little to feel confident about.
Getting off to a hot start isn’t something Austin, nor the Rams, realized in Week 1. Tavon had one carry for two yards. Here’s a still shot of Austin’s lone carry as he turns to head upfield. Seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, he’s already got four players in pursuit, with only one who’ll be blocked. Trust me on this one...
If you’d told me that he’d get two yards on this play, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Especially after watching Rob Havenstein’s efforts on the play.
First week jitters? Shaking off the rust? Maybe. But things simply aren’t getting better, and four of his 13 carries have gone for zero or less yards.
Exhibit B: Week 4 at Arizona. Greg Robinson shows off those elite run-blocking skills you’ve always heard about...
Two weeks ago against the Lions. Let’s see what we’ve got here...oh, an unblocked defender and a six yard loss.
Rob Havenstein and Lance Kendricks were looking for the early flight out of Detroit.
There was a time, not all that long ago, when finding creative ways to get the ball in Tavon’s hands yielded the desired results. But these plays have grown predictable, the blocking is atrocious, and the results match.
It’s not as if Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin have grown slower or any less explosive. The issue, causing many of their offensive woes, is that the offensive line simply has no clue what the hell it’s doing.