Wake Up Sprinting: Maximizing Tavon

Posted Aug 5, 2014

Find out how the Rams plan to get the most out of second-year wideout Tavon Austin in the latest edition of Wake Up Sprinting.

It’s August 5, and we’re just four days away from the Rams’ first snaps of the preseason. Here’s what you need to know to start your Tuesday.

1. Using Austin’s strengths

Second-year pro Tavon Austin had his share of moments in 2013. But now, the Rams have to find ways to get him constantly involved in their offense.

He’s a player who excels in making defenders miss and evading them with breakaway speed. After practice on Monday, head coach Jeff Fisher said that the key to Austin’s success is just getting him the ball in space.

“You could see a couple times today he made people miss and picked up big gains, so that’s what we’re looking for,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a good feel for him. He’s got a good feel for the offense. It’s just a matter of finding enough footballs to go around.”

Part of what makes Austin so dangerous is he can be effective in the passing and running games. He’s certainly a candidate for a breakout year in 2014.

2. Need to see another color

The Rams have been practicing against one another since OTAs and now it’s about time for them to hit someone else.

“I’ve kind of been holding back at practice a lot because they said we have to take care of each other,” rookie offensive lineman Greg Robinson told our Casey Phillips. “I really don’t know how to temper myself and slow down at times, so I’m really cautious on the field. But I’m ready to go full speed, and play full speed on the field and not really hold back.”

With the scrap that broke out during Monday afternoon’s practice, it appears he’s not the only one ready to go all out.

3. First taste of home

#RamsFanFest on Saturday was the first time many Rams players had stepped foot inside Edward Jones Dome, especially the rookies. But for this year’s top pick, it was a little more than that.

“I’ve never played inside a dome, besides bowl games,” Robinson said. “On that level, it just opened my eyes that the time is here, so we have to start limiting mistakes and try our best to get ready for the game this weekend.”

It’s preseason, so undoubtedly mistakes will be made. The key will be not making the same mistake twice.

4. Close to home

Cornerback E. J. Gaines was another one of the rookies who will play his first live NFL action in the Edward Jones Dome on Friday.

“Honestly, I think it’ll be a little surreal at first when I get out there on the field,” Gaines said to Phillips. “I’m just excited to get out there. This will be my first game out there. It’s preseason, but for me it’s a regular season game.”

WATCH: One-on-One with E.J. Gaines

Part of the appeal comes from being able to be close to home. The sixth-round pick is one of a handful of Rams players who went to Mizzou.

“That’s another thing that’s exciting,” Gaines said. “People who are out here love Mizzou, love Mizzou players. Just the support from the fans is great.”

5. Practice makes perfect

The Rams will have their last open practice of the week this evening at Rams Park. Fisher said to expect an even more physical practice than Monday’s, so it one should be good one. The action starts at 5:30 p.m.