Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, signed a $40 million contract extension last season, collecting just shy of $15 million this year. Austin has not lived up to that type of caliber receiver, earning that much salary. His extension has brought potentially in-house frustration of other player contract negotiations, and much tension of the Rams Nation.
Austin's 2017 season took a turn for the worse right at the start, as he required surgery to a wrist injury he sustained last season. After being cleared for training camp, he runs into another setback, a bad hamstring. His injuries escalated to the disappointment of many throughout the Rams organization. Trade demands started to be disseminated by fans, as well as just cut him; he's not worth the money. However, in the world of sports and contracts, its something that is not that easy to accomplished, especially with the size of his contract holds.
Tavon missed the entire pre-season games from his injuries, and as a precautionary that he'll be 100% healthy for the regular season play, he was held out for the final pre-season game after being cleared. Well, he's fully healthy at this point, but unfortunately, he hasn't found a rhythm nor the playing time in this new explosive Rams offense.
When the Rams traded for Sammy Watkins, Sean McVay plans were to utilize Austin as the deep threat in the offense. Unfortunately, after acquiring Watkins, the role now made Watkins as the deep threat, and plan of using Austin folded. The trade also pushed Austin down to no better than fourth on the receiver depth chart, behind rookie Cooper Kupp, veterans Robert Woods, and Watkins.
Tavon Austin Epic Day Against 49erss
Despite the limited role of Austin this season, expect for him to very active and productive in tonight's Color Rush game. Austin seems to have always shown up against the San Franciso 49ers throughout his career. In eight games against the Niners, Austin rushed the ball 19 times for 114 yards, collected 27 receptions for 232 yards and a touchdown, and fielded 26 punt returns for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
Thought out his four-year career against the Niners, Austin could reach the end zone six times out of eight games, a statistic that you can't overlook.
Expect the 49ers to have their defensive attention on Todd Gurley and Sammy Watkins tonight. The Rams offense may become pass happy tonight, not that the 49ers front seven been the pivotal success to the team's defense, but the Niners secondary hampered with injuries. Veteran safety Eric Reid has already been ruled out, and safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward are both questionable.
If Hart and Ward can't go, the Niners will have to play a pair of rookies, Chancellor James, and Lorenzo Jerome at the safeties position. During the pre-season, James appeared the better of the two, standing at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, can come down and hit as an extra body in the box. The Niners will risk the inexperience of him if the Rams offense counters with play action passing.
Austin will play huge and help the Rams offense explode tonight against the 49ers at Levi Stadium. Levi Stadium has a high-speed field as Austin will get open deep, and use his speed on crossing routes. Oh, by the way, the jet sweep, Austin has scored once against the Niners with that play, and another on a wide-receiver screen. That game was the last time the Rams have beaten the 49ers, 0-3 since that victory.