Austin On Dallas: Will The Cowboys Finally Consider Adding Veteran Receiver Depth?


Only those present at the scene as it occurred know what actually went down in the Bryant household prior to the recent 9-1-1 call.  And nobody knows what this means in regards to Dez Bryant’s availability for the early part of the season.  Oddly enough, there may just be a silver lining found within this dark cloud Dez has now hung over the Dallas Cowboys during the waning days of the inactive period.  Jerry Jones and company might actually wake up to the fact that the team has a real need to add a quality veteran wide receiver as insurance.

Even before this latest Bryant fiasco, the void was present, just not as glaring as it has now been unveiled.  The Cowboys had already hung their hat on two players with availability question marks throughout their careers. Miles Austin has notoriously iffy hamstrings that have cost him more than a few games since he took over a starting role.

Dez Bryant has yet to prove he is durable enough to sustain a full season injury free.  Not to mention Bryant has once again shown his penchant for immature decisions and the short fuse he displays on and off the field.

By not signing any real veteran insurance in case of availability concerns once Laurent Robinson departed, the Cowboys put many delicate eggs in an unstable basket hoping it would hold up over the course of 16 games.  Wishful thinking in lieu of the recent history with these players is not a sound decision for a team looking to compete in the playoffs.

Behind the starters as insurance the Cowboys have a player in Kevin Ogletree who has yet to show he can be an effective replacement in a starting role, much less a quality third option.  And beyond that is a handful of very green players with limited to no NFL game experience.  To date, there is not one back-up who has any quality proven performance against solid NFL corners.

So what were to happen if Miles went down with an injury or Dez became unavailable for any number of reasons he could conjure?   Well the Cowboys might have to stare that demon in the face much sooner than expected.  As much as Cowboy fans detest the current embarrassing situation the team has been forced into, it may have uncovered a real deficiency that finally is appropriately addressed. Moreso, it may have unearthed this dilemma with ample time to make corrections instead of once an immediate emergency situation occurs during the season.

Are the Cowboys really content with starting Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, and an unproven wide receiver in New York?  This may or may not be the scenario, but it has now become much more plausible.  Even if this event had not occurred, Dez or Miles could have easily sustained a training camp injury forcing them to miss the opener.  Which would have left Dallas in the same predicament as they may now be facing.

The reality has now been uncovered in a very unfortunate, damaging manner.  Even if the situation clears itself up with no penalties, the hangover and negative vibes entering camp are unavoidable.  It’s obvious the Cowboys currently do not have the necessary depth at the position to match up with a defense as formidable as the New York Giants in Week One if either starter is missing.  And I’m confident most agree the first game of the year against a division rival boiling with bad blood is a critical game to begin on a high note.

I truly hope Jerry Jones and Cowboys management now see the fragile nature of the decision to deny veteran insurance at the position.  At the very least I assume they will absorb this new information and re-evaluate what is left on the market, while also keeping their eyes peeled for released players who can bolster the receiving corps.

Regardless of what actually happened this week in the Bryant home and how all this turns out for the erratic receiver, the situation should be a wake-up call for Cowboys management and force them to seriously consider a worst-case scenario.  Even a short suspension puts the Cowboy’s season in danger with the highly competitive schedule they will face in 2012.  A loss at Seattle in Week Two or dropping a Week Three home game to the Buccaneers is not a luxury this team can readily afford.

The true facts of the Bryant situation are unclear at the moment and the future consequences are uncertain, but regardless of the outcome it’s time for the Cowboys to realize the need to cover their bets and take some precaution against being severely short-handed for any game on the schedule.  The only sure way to turn this awful negative into a positive is to make progress by adding quality veteran help to the mix.