Can The Dallas Cowboys Still Depend On Miles Austin?

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The Dallas Cowboys have to be frustrated, but I’m sure no one is more frustrated with whats going on with Miles Austin’s hamstrings than Miles himself. It’s also clear the Cowboys still depend on Mile’s talent when he can play and are counting on him getting healthy. How long they can continue to do that is the question that keeps running through my mind.

Dec 17, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) stretches prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

It’s the law of diminishing returns. The Cowboys understand the concept, that’s why they waived Bill Nagy. They can’t waste a roster spot on a player that can’t stay on the field. Depending on the players importance to the team determines how long they wait to make that decision. Unfortunate for Bill Nagy.Injuries are a part of football. NFL athletes are pushed to there maximum limits and beyond by an ever faster more violent evolution of the sport. Get hurt and the next guy up gets a chance to make a name for himself. Happens every year, every training camp and is a possibility in every game. No one knows this better than Miles Austin. Miles made the most of his chance to make a name for himself when then Cowboys WR, Roy Williams, was injured and Miles started in his place when Dallas played Kansas City back in October, 2009. Miles never looked back and Roy Williams lasted just one more year on the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Sept 1, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys center Bill Nagy (61) during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

In 2011, with Dez Bryant not yet growing into his roll on the other side, Miles Austin was projected to be the #1 receiver. So sure were the Cowboys about Miles Austin (and to some extent, Kevin Ogletree), that training camp roster filler, Laurent Robinson, injured his hamstring and was cut almost immediately. Miles Austin, by his own admission, was not in top shape coming into the lockout shortened 2011 training camp. Why is a mystery to me. Maybe he thought there wouldn’t be a season. Maybe he bought into his hype and natural athletic ability and got complacent (possible). Whatever the reason, Miles hamstrings took turns tightening up and letting us down through out the season. Luckily, Laurent Robinson was still available to re-sign. The next man up, Laurent Robinson made the most of his chance as Miles did before him.

Dec 17, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson (81) celebrates with wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Miles Austin’s trouble staying on the field in 2011 also had a major impact in one of the most important aspects of the QB-WR relationship, timing. If trust is the number one aspect, then certainly timing is number two. They may go hand in hand. Tony Romo and Miles Austin’s timing was spotty at best, non existent at times during 2011 and it affected the Dallas Cowboy’s season. No better example of this was a miss-timed pass by Romo to an open Miles in the Dec 11 game against the NY Giants. Tony Romo either overthrew or Miles Austin lost the ball in the lights (take your pick). That singular play summed up the season Miles was having. That pass is caught and the Dallas Cowboys victory is most likely sealed and their season is changed. Miles Austin manned up and took responsibility for the play whether it was his fault or not. The fault was timing, Miles had missed the previous 6 games with a hamstring injury. Sound familiar?

Jan 9, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) talks to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of the 2010 NFC wild card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium.The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Don’t get me wrong, Miles Austin’s ability and integrity is not in question here. He seems to be what Jason Garrett calls “the right kind of guy”. My thinking here is whether or not Miles has entered the realm of the law of diminishing returns.

Granted, I don’t have insight into how their contracts would prevent this, but I had suggested at the the start of the off-season that we should try and package Miles Austin and Felix Jones together and send them on there way in a trade of some kind. More so to get rid off Felix Jones, who I saw as very expendable (and still do). Also Miles Austin would ad value to any trade. We could survive without Miles. You could see, watching the games, that their value was diminishing. My thinking was to trade these guys now, while the jury might still be out on there potential vs injury history.

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