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Dallas Cowboys’ Miles Austin Is The Key In 2013

In order for the Dallas Cowboys to become a premier offense in 2013, they are going to need production from a former star receiver; Miles Austin. But has Miles Austin’s career peaked already? Will we never again see the Miles Austin we saw in 2009 when he took the league by storm? Both of these are fair questions, but I believe the answer to the first question is “no” for a variety of reasons. 

Will Miles Austin return to stardom in 2013?Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The team was the third ranked passing offense in 2012. Yet, they have a interesting situation developing with their current group of wide receivers. Dez Bryant is the Cowboys clear cut number one wide receiver, but the offenses’ key to success  in 2013 may rely on their former number one receiver Miles Austin.

While the Dallas Cowboys spent a third round pick on Terrance Williams in hopes that he will eventually take over the number two spot, he isn’t ready yet to fight for the job. Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley are nice, productive players, but they are best slotted as third and fourth wide receivers. Miles Austin enters the season as the player opposite of Dez Bryant, but needs to return to form to help the Cowboys return to the playoffs.

In 2009, Miles Austin put together a season that rivaled Dez Bryant’s breakout campaign of 2012. That season, Austin caught 81 balls for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. Heading into the 2010 season, Austin was widely considered a top 15 wide receiver at worst.

Last summer, the tandem of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant was a hotly debated issue. The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver duo Roddy White and Julio Jones expressed their opinion on Dallas’ young playmakers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slV44j6lKs8

Michael Irvin proceeded to ask Roddy White if Miles Austin and Dez Bryant were a better combination than him and Jones. White laughed at the question and responded with the answer, “Are you serious?” That was some serious bulletin board material for Austin and Bryant in 2012.

So I decided to look at how the combination of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant fared last year among some of the league’s best tandems:

WR Tandem

RECs

Yards

TD’s

Targets

DAL Bryant & Austin

158

2,325

18

256

ATL White & Jones

171

2,549

17

272

NYG Nicks & Cruz

139

1,784

13

243

DEN Thomas & Decker

179

2,498

23

264

PIT  Brown & Wallace

130

1,623

13

224

In a down year for Miles Austin, the duo still managed to finish among the league’s best pairs of wide receivers. And do you want to know a scary thought? Assuming both players stay relatively healthy, I believe this is the absolute floor for Miles Austin and Dez Bryant for the 2013 season. Dez Bryant disappointed in the first half of the season, and then proceeded to break out in the team’s final eight games. I wrote a piece about Dez Bryant’s second half of the season when compared to some of the elite wide receivers in the NFL today.

Last year was not Miles Austin’s best year by any means. He was slowed all year due to chronic hamstring issues. It was a very disappointing season for Miles Austin to say the least. He finished the season with 66 receptions for 943 yards and 6 touchdowns. And what is most disappointing is that Austin didn’t register a catch in either Redskins game last season; both of which were critical games to the team’s potential playoff run. But what is encouraging is that we saw glimpses of what Austin can still be. Through the first four games of the season, Austin registered 18 catches to go along with 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. When Miles Austin is healthy, he can still be one of the best number two wide receivers in the league.

Now back to the original point of why Miles Austin may be the difference maker for the 2013 Dallas Cowboys. Let’s remember just why Miles Austin broke out in 2009. When healthy, Austin is one of the premier slot wide receivers in all of football. Although he doesn’t possess the same skill set as a Wes Welker or a Danny Amendola, he is a bigger target and can make plays downfield from the slot position. He can make athletic plays on the ball and creates big separation between him and the defender. Austin has the flexibility to play on the outside as well.

The Dallas Cowboys are counting on Miles Austin to be the playmaker that he was in 2009 again. Teams are going to be focusing on shutting down Dez Bryant this season and Austin needs to make them pay when they roll their coverage to Bryants’ side of the field. Austin has all the physical tools to dominate on both the outside and in the slot thus giving Tony Romo two of the best players at their position in the league. Both starting receivers can win their one-on-one battles on the field in a variety of ways. If Miles Austin can stay healthy (and I know that is a big if), I fully expect him to return as the star wide receiver that he was for the Dallas Cowboys in 2009. If that does indeed happen, I anticipate this offense finishing among the league’s best in 2013.

 

Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Miles Austin, Offense, Wide Reciever

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  • Ronald W. Jones

    Terrance Williams is going to have a better season than ALL of them….just you wait and see…

    • Mike Hertzog

      You’re kidding me right? He’ll be lucky to beat out Dwayne Harris for the #3 WR position. Reports from camp are saying that he is having trouble with his routes and catching the ball. Tape of him in college shows he’s not very explosive once he gets the ball in his hands. Dwayne Harris on the other hand, we all know – is extremely explosive with the ball in his hands. I think T-Will will be the #4 receiver to start the season, and may get some time at the #3 receiver spot towards the end of the season. If Miles goes down with the hammy bug again – then T-Will becomes the #3. Until then, he’ll be participating and trying to get on the field as much as Harris.

      • Richard Storm

        Dude, training camp hasn’t even started, yet. Wait until at least two preseason games have been played before coming up with an opinion. And if Dwayne Harris is the best of the two, we could be in trouble. Sure, he showed flashes at the end of the season, but it was only that…Hopefully, Harris makes a big improvement…

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Dallas is betting on Miles being injury free despite history showing otherwise….another mistake by the Cowboys. I agree with Mike, Dwayne Harris is a much better bet to be the #2 receiver. Nothing against Miles…he just can’t stay healthy and even when he is he runs lazy routes in order to protect himself from injury actually hurting the team. If Miles is the key to a successful 2013….good luck with that!

  • ctcowboy1968

    It would be great if Miles returned to his old injury free form. We can all hope. But it’s not likely. Since the past is an indicator of the future.
    Dez, Harris and an improved running game would be welcome and more likely.

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