July 31, 2012; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) catches a pass during training camp drills. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

What Miles Austin Means to the Dallas Cowboys Offense

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Two burning questions on the minds of Dallas Cowboys fans this offseason applies to number nineteen, Miles Austin, and just how serious is the hamstring injury that has had the two time pro bowler sidelined since day three of training camp? Can the Dallas Cowboys still depend on Miles Austin? Miles Austin was seen trotting around the field tossing the ball back and forth with Cowboys QB Tony Romo prior to both the Saturday night match-up with the St. Louis Rams and the previous weeks game against the San Diego Chargers. After the defeat suffered at the hands of the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, team owner Jerry Jones admitted that having Austin back for this upcoming weeks game didn’t seem likely. That places the Cowboys wide receiver in jeopardy of missing the entire preseason due to a hamstring injury for the second year in a row.

After missing all of the 2010 preseason Miles Austin came out during the first eight quarters of the 2011 season on a statistical tirrad. Miles Austin was on torrid pace, torching defenses for 233 yards receiving and three touchdowns on fourteen receptions. Prorating the numbers from the first two games prior to aggravating the hamstring,Austinwas on pace for 112 catches, 1864 yards with a 1.5 TD average per game.

Obviously hampered by the hamstring injury during week two Miles Austin only went on to compete in a total of ten games last season, ten games in which the receiver readily admitted to not being 100% healthy due to the troublesome Hamstring. Yet, upon missing six games and Austin returning in week fourteen the six year veteran finished up as Tony Romo’s top target through out the last four games of the season after being targeted 28 times. Two more targets than Dez Bryant and three more targets than, Romo’s security blanket, Jason Witten.

The hamstring issues with Miles Austin are becoming redundant and in the three seasons prior to the breakout season of 2009, Miles Austin only competed in 13 games due to what seemed to be an always troublesome hamstring. Austindid manage to follow up 2009 with a solid 2010 season and although dropping off in all statistical categories the Cowboys receiver did manage to play the entire 2010 season. Fast forward to 2011 and the problematic hamstring issues resurfaced for Austin allowing him to compete in only ten games.

Miles Austin when healthy and capable of performing has played 89.2% of the Cowboys plays over the past two seasons and has been thrown at 187 for 112 receptions over the last 27 game span. Austin’s 59.9% catch percentage dwarfs that of teammate Dez Bryant by 3.35%. Miles Austin has also accounted for 1589 snaps in which he has displayed tremendous reliability during the second half of games.

It’s almost amazing to think that Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have been on the field simultaneously for an interval of only thirteen games. The Cowboys have won only four of those contests while losing nine and since Miles Austin’s breakout game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 the Cowboys sport a nineteen and nineteen record winning ten of those games when Miles Austin catches a touchdown in game. The Cowboys are also seven and seven when number nineteen has ninety yards or more receiving in a game.

Miles Austin was very solid in seasons 2009 and 2010 but since has began to experience the very same hamstring issues that prevented him from getting on the field consistently early in his career. When Miles Austin plays he is a very solid player but the issue of when will he play or if he’ll be 100% through the entire season bothers us somewhat. It’s hard to argue that Miles Austin doesn’t make the Cowboys better and many of the numbers displayed have a lot to do with one of the worst defenses in Cowboys history being on the field the past two years but nonetheless a picture is painted that regardless of Austin’s game day status the Cowboys do not appear to be better off one way or the other and may not need to depend on Miles Austin for much longer

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant Miles Austin Tony Romo

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