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Garrett Says Injuries Biggest Factor in Austin’s 2013 Decline
IRVING, Texas – Miles Austin had 10 catches in the first game of the season. He ended up with 14 more in the next 15 games.
His 24 catches for 224 yards is the lowest single-season total for Austin since 2008, before he became a starter and had his breakout season in 2009. That year, Austin became the starter early in the year and had 1320 yards and 11 touchdowns and followed it up with another 1,041-yard season. After an injury-riddled 2011 that included only 579 yards although seven touchdowns, Austin came back last year with 66 catches for 943 yards and six touchdown catches.
But 2013 was different story. Even though he played well in training camp and the first game against the Giants, Austin’s production took a major hit in Week 3 when he suffered yet another hamstring injury.
“I think like some other guys health was an issue for Miles,” Garrett said. “And he has been dealing with these hamstrings throughout his career and dealt with them again this year at different times. When Miles has been healthy he has been a good productive player for us.”
It forced him out for two games and then Austin returned against Washington and Philadelphia in October although he never had a catch. Austin then missed three more games before returning for the final six.
However, Austin never had more than two catches in any of the final six. What made things worse, two late-game picks against the Packers and Eagles were passes thrown to Austin over the middle.
Garrett said he liked the way Austin played Sunday night against the Eagles.
“He played a very good game with the opportunities he got and how he played in general, running routes and making when he got chances and blocking,” Garrett said of Austin. “You could see he was healthy. He played with some quickness and explosiveness. It really helped our football team.”
The question now is: Has Austin played his last game with the Cowboys?
Austin still has four years remaining on his contract and is scheduled to count $8.24 million on the cap. If the Cowboys cut Austin before June 1, he’ll count $7.85 in cap space, meaning it would save only about $400,000.
The Cowboys could designate Austin as a June 1 cut, and split his $7.85 million in dead money over two seasons.