OXNARD, Calif. - Miles Austin showed up for the first day of training camp on Monday excited and ready to play football. By the end of practice he had a smile on his face and looked like he wasn't ready for the session to be over.
Austin will be relied on to have a productive season that is on-par with some of the NFL's top-tier receivers. Hamstring injuries caused him to sit out six games last season and his offensive chemistry with Tony Romo was sorely missed.
After Monday's practice Austin took a moment to talk about the first week of training camp, the importance of his health and his expectations for the Cowboys' offense.
What do you guys have to work on this week?
Austin: That's really up to coaches, but the first thing you want to do is install. We're trying to build an identity as an offensive team. That comes from playing with passion and emotion. We have to take care of the ball. We have to attack and be relentless. There are all these adjectives that we need to be and we're trying to develop that kind of stuff in the early stages. We still have a long way to go, but right now we have to build that foundation.
What's your goal for this season?
Austin: My goal is to be as productive as I can and help this team as much as I can. I want to help us get to the point where we want to get as a team.
What do you say to some of the young guys coming in?
Austin: That depends on what's going on. I try to learn from them sometimes. I'm not always trying to tell them something. If I see something I can help them with I'm going to let them know. But if there's something that doesn't feel right for me I might ask them about it so that I can add something new to my repertoire. We(the team's veterans) are learning and teaching at the same time, but we're all trying to lead by example.
How important is it for you to stay healthy?
Austin: I think it's important for everybody to stay healthy, not just me. That's a tough thing because there are things that you can't really control sometimes, but sometimes you can. We try to be as prepared as we can. We try to run as much as we can, work out as much as we can. But not everything is in your control.
We have a lot of guys that can step up and make plays. It's not just me and Dez. We're going to have five, possibly six receivers. The guys we do have out here make plays.
Do you think the offense will be more balanced this year?
Austin: That's not really for me to say. Hopefully the offense is perfectly balanced. But if it's not that's okay. Whatever it takes to win. If we're running the ball 100% of the time or if we're passing the ball 100% of the time, whatever it takes to win.
Coach says we have to have a coal miner's mentality. We get paid by bringing up the most coal we bring up so whatever brings up the most coal is what we're going to go with.