(FootballSTL) -- Tennessee running back Chris Johnson burned up the carpet at the Edward Jones Dome for 150 yards rushing against a helpless Rams defense. Johnson’s performance in the Titans 28-21 win over the Rams showed what speed can do for an offense. Johnson’s display also brings to light this question: Where is Tavon Austin?
The Rams rookie wide-out was targeted only twice against the Titans, and finished with no catches for zero yards. Speed was Austin’s calling card when he became the hottest name at the NFL draft. The Rams traded up 8 spots to acquire the former West Virginia star. However, the Rams have failed to find ways of getting Austin in space to take advantage of his quickness. It probably hasn’t helped that Austin came into Sunday’s game tied for the NFL lead in dropped passes with 7.
Through 9 games this season, Austin has 31 catches for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. Austin’s longest catch of the year is only 25 yards. He’s averaging only 6.7 yards per catch. It was just last season when Austin led the nation in all-purpose yards at 223 yards per contest at West Virginia. Austin was college football’s ultimate weapon as a receiver, running back, and kick returner.
Austin was also supposed to make his mark on special teams this season. Even though he’s had trouble getting separation, Austin has also been hurt by penalties. Austin lost 257 punt return yards due to penalties heading into Sunday’s game against the Titans. Austin lost an 84 yard punt return in the Rams 31-7 loss to Dallas when it was called back.
Why are the Rams having so much trouble getting Austin involved in the offense? “With him not being out there every play, when you put him out there, the defenses start looking for certain things,” said Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this week. “But he’s had a good week of (practice). You’ll see him make some plays starting this weekend.”
That wasn’t case this weekend against the Titans. When will Tavon Austin, the 8th overall selection in the draft, finally bring excitement to a Rams offense that’s in badly need of a spark?