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Roster Rundown: Austin’s Solid Year Overshadowed By Bryant
(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver Miles Austin.)
Name: Miles Austin
Position: Wide receiver
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 217
Experience: 7 seasons
Key stat: Austin caught 66 passes for 943 yards in 14 games last season. He didn’t catch a pass in either of the two Redskins games, leaving both games early due to injury.
Contract Status: Signed through 2016.
2012 Impact: There are times as scouts where you feel like you really have a good handle on a player and you completely understand his game. There was a side of me that thought I understood what Miles Austin was as a player. You see the route running, the quickness out of the slot and the snatch catches across the middle. You are taught to grade those plays and if the player can do them once, he should be able to do
In 2012, you did see these plays but he always left me wanting more. In my mind there is no doubt of the talent and ability but there always seems to be something missing. You see the brilliances opening night against the Giants than the game that means the most to the season against the Redskins he goes quietly in the night. This is where Miles Austin fools me because I see the flashes and it continues to give me hope but the production is just not there. In the last two seasons Austin has been outshined by Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson when he was the team’s proclaimed lead receiver. I mentioned how he started the season against the Giants and he was able to carry that through Week 4 of the season scoring in three of the four games but if you look at his last 12 games he only had three touchdowns and other than the Pittsburgh game if you look at the number of targets to receptions, he was below par.
When you study Austin’s game, the balls that are thrown inside to him, he is able to make plays on but when the ball goes down the field he tends to have a problem tracking it and I am not going to blame him on the interception against the Redskins because I thought it was a poorly thrown pass. When he can square up and get his eyes and hands in position, he tends to be a much better receiver.
Where He Fits: We all understand where this club is cap situation wise but with that being said, I see Austin still on the roster in 2013 but as far as extending him out to help with the cap, I don’t see that happening. I believe they will allow Austin to play out this deal and see where it takes them. With the development of Bryant, Austin will be placed in the role that he is probably better suited for and that is the second dog in the sled. He was able to put those injury questions behind him for at least one season so hopefully that will not be hanging over his head when camp opens in Oxnard. Austin can still make plays whether that is out of the slot or on the outside and it will be interesting to how he takes to new receivers coach Derek Dooley after working with Jimmy Robinson and Ray Sherman the last several years.
Nick Eatman: While Austin’s name has been mentioned occasionally in terms of saving money, I don’t see it being a good idea to let him go. When healthy, he can be highly productive. Last year was a rather quiet 943 receiving yards and six touchdowns. But there are some things about his game that are just annoying. The hamstring injuries were one of them but that seemed to calm down some last year. There were a couple of times when it appeared he could’ve helped his quarterback out but fighting for the ball more. To me, he’s not a true No. 1 receiver but still good enough to keep because of the big-play potential.