The Los Angeles Rams simply could not take care of the ball during their 16-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season. Yet, somehow they still found themselves in position to potentially win the game despite committing five turnovers.
Among the most concerning was perhaps the two muffed punts by utility man Tavon Austin. Although he managed to recover the first, the second resulted in crucial field position for the Seahawks. Head coach Sean McVay has since announced during the Rams press conference that Los Angeles will go away from Austin as their punt returner for the time being.
“We’re going to give Tavon a break from that,” McVay said.
The Rams initially had wide receiver Cooper Kupp replace Austin following his first unsuccessful attempt. That said, they will likely look to either Cupp or fellow wideout/kick returner Pharoh Cooper to fill in.
Austin now has a total of four muffed punts in the 2017 NFL season, three of which he lost. His recent performance as a specialist is a far cry from the returner he was when he recorded a touchdown in each in his first three seasons.
His versatility was largely the reason was offered such a lucrative four-year $42 million extension prior to the 2016 NFL season. However, Austin’s role has since changed to that of a runner rather than a receiver who figures to remain an integral part of the offense.