Tavon Austin up, Nick Foles down for Rams in 2015

Ad Pro Test Clip 3 - October 2018 (2:03)

Ad Pro Test Clip 3 - October 2018 (2:03)

A look at St. Louis Rams players who were "up" and those who were "down" during the 2015 regular season:

(Note: Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald were, of course, up all year so we'll focus here on players who took steps forward or back in 2015)


WR Tavon Austin: Finally, in his third year, the Rams found a way to make Austin a key cog in their offense. With Gurley serving as the focal point at running back, the Rams found ways to play Austin off of Gurley and vice-versa. It allowed Austin to have his most complete season as a pro, rushing for 434 yards, posting 473 receiving yards and scoring a total of 10 touchdowns. Austin and Gurley became the first Rams duo since Torry Holt and Steven Jackson in 2006 to reach double digits in touchdowns in the same season. Austin still has room for growth, but he helped wipe away the lurking bust label in 2015.

CB Trumaine Johnson: There might not be a forthcoming free agent who did more to boost his stock this season than Johnson. Whether he was shadowing Detroit's Calvin Johnson on his way to a one-catch performance or racking up seven interceptions for the season, Johnson paired sticky coverage and playmaking skills with solid tackling in the run game. He went from a possible free-agent afterthought to a priority in the process.

CB Janoris Jenkins: Although he didn't post the same takeaway numbers as Johnson, Jenkins was the corner most often tasked with covering the opponent's No. 1 receiver. And it was a job he handled well. Jenkins finished with three interceptions, including a highlight-reel pick he pinned against his helmet in Arizona. The inconsistency that's plagued Jenkins in years past mostly disappeared. Also like Johnson, Jenkins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent and figures to cash in with a lucrative contract.


QB Nick Foles: After trading Sam Bradford for Foles, the Rams hoped Foles could step in and take the reins for the short and long term. As it turned out, he wasn't able to do either. Foles' strong debut against Seattle quickly gave way to a series of shaky performances before he was ultimately benched in favor of Case Keenum. The Rams signed Foles to a short extension before the season, making it difficult financially to part ways with him this offseason, but if they can find a good fit either in the draft or in free agency, it's a pill they might have to swallow.

OT Greg Robinson: It was pretty common knowledge that Robinson would take some time to develop when the Rams used the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft on him. But it's hard to imagine they believed the learning curve would be this steep. Robinson finished near the league lead in penalties and consistently struggled in pass protection. It's too early to write him off completely, and he made some incremental improvement over the final few weeks, but the Rams have to look really hard at Robinson and decide if the light is ever going to fully come on for him at left tackle.

RB Tre Mason: For the second consecutive year, the Rams' leading rusher from the previous season found himself on the bench after the team added a new running back in the draft. For Mason, it was Gurley who stepped in, claimed his job and never looked back. The Rams spoke often of finding ways to use Mason in conjunction with Gurley but it rarely happened because the Rams offense wasn't good enough to stay on the field. Mason didn't do himself any favors by missing the bus to the airport before the Baltimore game, which landed him on the pregame inactive list. The Rams traded Zac Stacy after he was demoted in favor of Mason. It makes you wonder if Mason could face a similar fate this offseason.