Cowboys Optimistic Austin Can Still Return To Form


IRVING, Texas -  Miles Austin had 10 catches in the first game of the season back on Sept. 8 against the Giants.

In the 12 games played since that season opener, Austin has nine.

Four of those catches have occurred in the last three games after he missed three straight games and five of seven because of a nagging hamstring injury. In fact, Austin has dealt with hamstring issues for most of his career, but particularly in the last three seasons.

So how does Austin get on track? Coach Jason Garrett said it's pretty simple.

"Just get him going, give him some opportunities," Garrett said. "He has to make the plays on the other end of it. We have a lot of different weapons. I think the opportunities for everybody were a little more limited than what they typically are. But when he gets his chances, take advantage of them. You know, he's been a real good player for us. We think he's more and more healthy as the season has gone on and we'll give him some chances to go forward."

Speaking of chances, the Cowboys' receivers didn't get many in the last game.

Tony Romo threw a season-low 20 passes on Monday night, with Austin catching just two passes on four targets.

No receiver was targeted more than three times and no player on the team had more than two catches.

The two catches were actually the most in a game for Austin since Week 3 against the Rams. It was that game when he initially suffered the hamstring injury that kept him out for five games and limited for two others.

Austin had one catch each against the Giants and Raiders, for 17 and 18 yards respectively.

The question on everyone's minds this time of year, but especially with Austin, is how healthy he really is. [embedded_ad]

"You'd be hard-pressed to say any player right now in the NFL is 100 percent," Garrett said of Austin. "You're always working through some things. But he's certainly been back for a few weeks now and seems to be over the injury. He looks quick and fast and explosive to me when he's playing, as close to 100 percent as you can be at this point."

In the seven games Austin was either out or limited, rookie Terrance Williams started and caught 24 passes and five touchdowns.

But lately, Williams has tailed off as well, catching just six passes for 69 yards in the last three games.

For Williams, it's considered a rookie wall, but Garrett still sounds optimistic about Austin's chances of contributing this year. "He's been dealing with the injury. If you remember in the first game of the season he had 10 catches," Garrett said. "I think he showed what he's capable of doing. He had a real good training camp and a real good start to the season, but then he's been coming back off this hamstring. We think he's getting better and better every week. He's showing some of that explosiveness we've seen before."

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