English was a second language for wide receiver Tavon Austin when it came to understanding the Rams’ playbook in 2013.
Although things got better as his rookie season progressed, Austin said there were times when he felt like it was written in Spanish.

“It definitely was hard in the beginning last year,” Austin said. “Toward the middle and the end (of the season) I probably started picking up on it. That’s when I started having some big games. But for the most part, it’s all about the mental game, getting comfortable. I believe I’m comfortable now.”

After a full offseason in the conditioning program, the OTA sessions in June, and now three weeks into training camp, Austin says he’s back to reading English.

“Yeah. Definitely,” he said, grinning. “It’s exactly what I speak now.”

In college at West Virginia, the playbook was thinner and the play calls were shorter. In fact, Austin said most of the plays were called via signals with the Mountaineers.

Those playbook struggles, combined with a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss the final three games, made it a so-so season in Austin’s mind. The No. 8 overall draft pick in 2013 gave himself a ‘C’ grade for his rookie campaign. Average.

“That’s just me talking because I know what I can do, and I know I can do better,” he said. “I wasn’t comfortable last year, so it’s all about me getting back in my state of mind, getting comfortable, and hopefully I’ll get some big plays.”

The big plays started coming over the second half of the season. The dam burst in Game 10, a 38-8 dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts, with Austin returning a punt 98 yards for a touchdown and catching TD passes of 57 and 81 yards.

The following week in a 42-21 thrashing of Chicago, Austin scored on a 65-yard rushing play. And then late in the third quarter of a 30-10 lost cause at Arizona in Game 13, Austin raced 56 yards on a non-scoring run to the Cardinals’ 4-yard line. But that’s where the big plays stopped, and where Austin’s season ended, because he suffered the ankle injury on that play.