NFL: Tavon Austin Looks For Another Big Day Against Chicago Bears

For the players and fans of the Indianapolis Colts, the blur of white, gold and blue that was running up and down the field two weeks ago was Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin.

Austin’s breakout performance against the Colts was one of those “been there, done that” type of moments for fans of the receiver during his four years as a Mountaineer.

For fans of St Louis that didn’t get a chance to see him in college, the game was their first true glimpse of what their 8th overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft can be for the team moving forward into the future.

With the record setting day behind us and looking forward to tomorrow’s game against the Bears, what will Austin do as an encore and will Chicago be able to contain the rookie receiver from another spectacular day?

One of the biggest factors in deciding outcomes of games in the NFL, the weather, will play no factor in this weekend’s game as the Rams and Bears will play on the fast track of the Edward Jones Dome in St Louis. The climate controlled atmosphere of the dome will be much better playing conditions instead of the below freezing temperatures expected in Chicago at the same time.

From the much more reliable view from the statistical side, Austin might have a chance to weave his way through a Bears’ defense that has been dealing with injuries through the midway point of 2013.

Chicago’s second best run defense in the NFL is stifling opposing running games this season, but the middle of the pack No. 17 pass defense is keeping those same opposing teams in contention late in games.

The Rams should focus their game plan more toward the recent smart throwing by Kellen Clemens and delivering the ball to his talented group of receivers especially Austin.

While not being very effective at running the ball so far this season, a timely jet sweep around the outside late in the game could get Austin a chance to do some damage outside of the receiving and special teams.

Austin should hope above else to avoid games this season like those at Houston and against Seattle where the WVU standout was downright ineffective with three combined receptions in those games.

If we’re lucky and everything breaks right for the Rams, we might just get to see the second straight sighting of ‘Tavon Awesome’ this NFL Sunday.

This post can also be found at WVUPros.com, where we strive to bring the latest and most up-to-date news about your favorite former Mountaineers and a mix of current West Virginia University athletics.

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NBDL: Devin Ebanks Set To Begin Season With Texas Legends

Devin Ebanks looks to begin the next chapter of his professional basketball career this weekend with the Texas Legends, an NBA D-League team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks.

Following being selected with the 43rd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Ebanks spent most his time with the Lakers in the organization’s developmental system or injured than on the court for Los Angeles. Ebanks was signed by the Mavericks earlier this fall before ultimately being acquired by the Legends this month.

It could be argued that he wasn’t able to showcase his skills in the Lakers’ organization with the numerous star players on the court for Los Angeles in addition to the less than equal sharing of the ball by Kobe.

The move from the Lakers to the Mavericks’ organization could be the thing needed for Ebanks to shake his past woes to this point and show the talent displayed in his two seasons in Morgantown.

In that time for West Virginia, he was able average more than 11 points and nearly eight rebounds a game in addition to being a workhorse with averaging 32 minutes on the court.

It’s easy to look at solid numbers like that and think Ebanks should have been a key player for the Lakers, but success at the college level doesn’t always transfer to success at the pro level.

With a new environment away from the bright lights and scrutiny of Southern California, Ebanks could finally be in the right situation where he reaches his full potential and be a contributor to the Mavericks at the NBA level.

As for right now, Ebanks and the Legends kick off their fourth season this Friday night in Frisco, TX against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at 7.

Geno Smith: Why Former Mountaineer Should Remain Jets’ QB

It was another long day in what has been a long rookie season in the NFL for Geno Smith as the New York Jets (5-5) fell to the Buffalo Bills (4-7) on Sunday.

Smith endured his worst day on the field statistically as he completed only eight of his 23 passing attempts for 103 yards through the air and three interceptions.

At the end of the first half, the numbers indeed didn’t lie on how bad Smith was performing to that point in the game, trailing 20-0 at halftime.

Da’Norris Searcy of the Bills took the third interception of the day by Smith back for a pick-six touchdown in the latter moments of the third quarter, the fourth instance this season.

After one more incomplete pass by Smith, Jets head coach Rex Ryan decided to bench Smith from the game to instead give Matt Simms a chance to run the offense in the fourth quarter.

Despite all of those negatives from Sunday’s game against Buffalo, Ryan made a point in his post game press conference to name Smith the starter for New York’s game against the Ravens in Baltimore.

The decision to keep Smith as the starting quarterback of the Jets was the right one for the often outspoken and controversial Ryan. The move of benching for next week’s game or for the remainder of the season could possibly ruin the psyche of the former standout quarterback for West Virginia.

Geno will have the chance to prove he’s the long term answer at quarterback for New York with what will be a tough remaining schedule with games against Baltimore, Oakland, Carolina, Cleveland and two against Miami.

With playmakers on the offensive side of the ball and a top ten defense, the continued play of the offensive line will be the biggest thing to watch to see how Geno will perform the rest of the season.

As with any rookie, Geno will have a lot more pains before making any gains on the football field as an elite or even an average starting quarterback in the NFL that chews up and spits out players at the position.