Friday, October 18, 2013
Who's at fault for Austin's slow start?
By Tom Carpenter
When the St. Louis Rams dropped the No. 8 overall pick on West Virginia star wide receiver Tavon Austin, it seemed that he was in position to make a mark as a rookie. He started off pretty hot in terms of activity, catching six passes in each of his first three games, while tacking on a pair of scores in Week 2. Since Week 3, though, Austin has caught a total of just six passes for 43 yards and no scores. He hit rock bottom last week when he played just four snaps and was targeted only once.
Per USAToday.com's Tom Pelissero, some of the 5-foot-8 Austin's failures may be a side effect of his quarterback, Sam Bradford.
"A personnel executive for another NFL team theorized: 'Little receivers don't work with inaccurate quarterbacks.' Sam Bradford is a 58.4% career passer. He's been more efficient this season – 59.5% passing, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, 90.7 rating – but never will be known for his accuracy," Pelissero wrote.
Bradford's inaccuracy as a passer may well play a role in Austin's lack of success thus far, but surely his six drops on 41 targets isn't helping his case to stay on the field. In fact, his 14.6 percent drop rate is the worst mark in the NFL amongst wide receivers.
If Austin can prove capable of pulling in the passes that Bradford does get to him, perhaps he will earn more time on the field. On the other hand, the fact that another talented Rams pass-catcher, TE Jared Cook, had seven catches for 141 yards and two scores in Week 1 but just 15 catches for 171 yards and zero scores in the five games since may imply that OC Brian Schottenheimer isn't going to lean on any one pass-catcher in this offense going forward.