The question hovering over Marvin Austin these last few years has been whether or not he would be able to return to form at defensive tackle. But the second-year player who hasn’t been in a “real” game since December 2009 wound up making just as big an impact someplace else on the field. Someplace a little unexpected.
Austin was one of the players blocking for David Wilson on the first two kickoffs of the game, putting his 312-pound body smack dab in the middle of the field. Austin said he had never played any special teams before in his life, but after experiencing it last night against the Jaguars he seems to have acquired a taste for it.
“It was fun to get out there and hit somebody like full-speed, flying down under the ball,” Austin said. “The first one it was definitely a wake up, like ‘This is the NFL!’ And then the second one I got a good shot on the guy.”
Austin noted the differences between defensive tackle and blocker on kickoffs. On one he is attacking, on the other he is waiting to be attacked.
“You have to explode and try to make a crease so the runner can get up to the next level,” he said. “I just exploded and gave him everything I had.”
There aren’t a lot of defensive tackles who could pull off an assignment like that. “You have to be able to move around a little bit,” Austin said. But with him trying to make a place for himself on the depth chart at defensive tackle, a spot on special teams could be advantageous for him.
“Everybody plays a role, everybody has a part, and special teams is something I play a part in,” Austin said. “I feel like I can play a big part. I’m a big, fast, powerful guy and when somebody runs down there, I don’t think they want to run into me. And I’m going to make sure I put on film that you don’t want to run into me, you want to run around me. It’s something that I take pride in and is just as important as playing defensive tackle.
“Te biggest plays in the football game are made on special teams,” Austin said. “That’s what I learned in college. That’s why it’s called special teams. You have to be a special guy to get out there.”