One of the biggest questions about the Rams’ offense last season involved wide receiver Tavon Austin’s role in head coach Sean McVay’s new scheme. The former first-round draft pick had been a staple of the unit for four years, but wasn’t healthy during the 2017 offseason to carve out his place in the receiving room.
While McVay repeatedly complimented Austin’s attitude and praised the receiver’s abilities on jet sweeps, new additions like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods often overshadowed the West Virginia product.
But as the 2018 offseason program kicked off on Monday, McVay remained optimistic about Austin’s production moving forward. As the head coach noted, Austin is healthy at this point, which should give him a chance to compete.
“I think the unique thing for Tavon is he’s clearly a special playmaker,” McVay said recently. “He’s had a lot of success in this league and I think the great thing for him is this offseason will provide him an opportunity to go in healthy and really compete and develop as a receiver.”
Last season, Austin finished with just 13 receptions for 47 yards receiving and 59 carries for 270 yards rushing and one touchdown — a significant decrease from his previous four seasons. But with a full offseason under his belt, Austin will have a new opportunity to get fully involved in the system.
“We know that he can do a lot of the things that have enabled him to have a lot of success,” McVay said. “But I think the great challenge is when we’ve got such a complete room, let’s be a part of this as a slot receiver, as an outside player, and see how we continue to do when you’re able to compete.”
“He had the wrist injury, he gets the hamstring injury early in camp, and he never really got a chance to compete to the best of his ability,” McVay continued. “I think now we get that opportunity.”