Results 1 to 5 of 5
Like Tree3Likes
  • 1 Post By VegasRam
  • 2 Post By chucknbob

Thread: Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    29 Palms, Ca.
    Age
    55
    Posts
    11,455
    Rep Power
    128

    Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

    Rams' kick return duties up for grabs

    June, 18, 2014
    By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com

    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With no obvious solution in place last season, the St. Louis Rams turned their kick returner job over to rookie Tavon Austin in week 6 against Houston.

    To that point, the Rams had used the likes of running backs Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead in the role with solid, if unspectacular results. Cunningham seemingly had claimed the job as his own, but when he suffered an ankle injury against the Texans, it cost him two weeks and, until an injury to Austin, his return duties.

    But the Rams didn't necessarily intend for Austin to handle anything beyond his role in the offense and the punt returning job. They put him at kick returner as a matter of necessity, a move they apparently intend to course correct this year, according to special teams coach John Fassel.

    “Yeah, I think we’ve got great candidates that can do it that can maybe take a couple reps off him per game from a kickoff return standpoint,” Fassel said.

    Based on that response, it sounds as though Austin could still do some kick returning, but the Rams would like to pick their spots when to put him in there.

    In reality, the job of a kick returner doesn't come with the opportunity that it once did. While it's hard to argue against any scenario in which Austin gets his hands on the ball, kick returns didn't provide many chances for him.

    As the primary kick returner for the seven games after Cunningham's ankle issue, Austin found himself watching the ball sail out of the back of the end zone or kneeling 8 yards deep into it on most kickoffs. He finished with just 18 returns for 398 yards, an average of 22.11 per attempt with a long of 32 yards.

    When Austin suffered a late-season ankle injury against Arizona, Cunningham reclaimed the job and fared just as well. Cunningham averaged 23 yards on his 13 attempts. And, believe it or not, Pead actually performed the best of the three, though on a smaller sample size, with an average of 27.60 yards on only five attempts.

    For those keeping score, that adds up to 36 kick return attempts for the season. Rams opponents booted 39 touchbacks. Factoring in a couple of squib kicks, Rams' opponents had a touchback rate of exactly 50 percent in 2013.

    Considering the lack of opportunity the job provides, it makes sense for the Rams to seek a more consistent alternative and choose their spots with Austin as his role in the offense expands. Quietly, the team added a few more options in the offseason, including rookie cornerback Greg Reid and running back Tre Mason.

    In Tuesday's organized team activity, the Rams took a look at many of their kick returner applicants, a vetting process that will extend well into the preseason. After all, you can't tell much of anything about a kick returner until an actual game.

    "I think Pead back there give us some great burst and ball-handler, (receiver Chris) Givens, (receiver Justin) Veltung, Reid, a couple young guys that you can throw into the mix," Fassel said. "Mason did it at Auburn. So everybody will get a couple cracks at it. I’m very optimistic about our kickoff returner, whoever that might be.”


  2. #2
    VegasRam's Avatar
    VegasRam is offline Ram MVP
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Age
    66
    Posts
    1,399
    Rep Power
    52

    Re: Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

    Of all the positions on the team, I think KR is unique in that the good ones, or naturals, have the "IT" factor. I do not think Pead, (regardless of any improvement), Veltung, Givens, or Pettis do, (although Pettis definately has the onions - man he took some hits!).

    Mason, I don't know about. Tavon DOES have the it factor, bit I guess they do not want to overload him.
    I'm hoping Reid, Spenser or Watts takes the role - they've all got the speed, burst and "cutability".
    RealRam likes this.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
    RealRam is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Mexico
    Posts
    8,390
    Rep Power
    68

    Re: Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    Of all the positions on the team, I think KR is unique in that the good ones, or naturals, have the "IT" factor. I do not think Pead, (regardless of any improvement), Veltung, Givens, or Pettis do, (although Pettis definately has the onions - man he took some hits!).

    Mason, I don't know about. Tavon DOES have the it factor, bit I guess they do not want to overload him.

    I'm hoping Reid [has] the speed, burst and "cutability".
    Ditto that on Reid. And a good way to get his foot in the door too.

  4. #4
    Bar-bq's Avatar
    Bar-bq is offline Pro Bowl Ram
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    2,927
    Rep Power
    94

    Re: Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

    I think that if there was a primary reason Greg Reid was signed, it was to be a special teams ace. We know he's fast, and we know he's not afraid to bring the ball out. Let's see what he can do.

  5. #5
    chucknbob is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Age
    31
    Posts
    499
    Rep Power
    10

    Re: Wagoner: Rams' Kick Return Duties Up For Grabs

    I think if we're truly going to have Tavon be a focal point of our offense, we need to keep him out of the special teams duties. There are plenty of fast, shifty guys we can put back there to take a hit.
    RealRam and Randart like this.

Similar Threads

  1. Kick Return / Punt Return
    By sosa39rams in forum DRAFT & FA
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -08-25-2013, 06:52 AM
  2. The return... of the kick the bucket club...
    By keith m. klink in forum LOUNGE
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: -02-13-2008, 10:54 PM
  3. Replies: 7
    Last Post: -11-07-2006, 06:03 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: -06-14-2005, 07:56 AM
  5. Poor Kick Return Play
    By duke in forum RAM TALK
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: -11-01-2001, 12:43 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •