Temporarily Shutting Down Miles Austin Would Benefit Dallas Cowboys Defensively
The feelings of Dallas Cowboys fans toward Miles Austin are not as positive as they once were, to put it lightly. After the former Pro Bowler finished his second game back from his seemingly millionth hamstring injury without a catch, many members of the Dallas faithful began calling for a trade to get Austin out of town. This was encouraged by the strong play of Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, who have collectively been productive and more efficient than Austin has ever been. Does that mean the Cowboys should deal No. 19 before the trade deadline? No. But it does mean something needs to change right now.
Austin is clearly not 100 percent healthy after sitting out two games — both losses to AFC West teams — because he’s been a shell of his former self in the Cowboys’ last two games, which were both wins. Specifically, Austin dropped a pass in the end zone against the Washington Redskins in his first game back, but gingerly trotted back to the huddle afterward.
Let’s reiterate that Austin shouldn’t and isn’t going to be traded. Period. He’s a phenomenal talent who has single-handedly won games for the Cowboys on many occasions. However, he does need to be rested long enough to make sure he’s completely healthy and that his mind is right before he plays again. The strong play of Williams, Beasley and even Dwayne Harris would allow the Cowboys to shut Austin down until their bye in Week 11.
In addition to ensuring Austin’s short- and long-term health, such a move would also give Dallas some roster flexibility over the next three weeks, which would be very beneficial considering the Cowboys’ defensive line is in shambles due to all the injuries. The team is literally signing guys off the street and they’re introducing themselves to each other in the defensive huddle on the field. That wasn’t a problem against a wounded Philadelphia Eagles team in Week 7, but it will be against teams with strong offensive lines, such as the Detroit Lions.
If Austin returns to his usual self following the bye week, the Cowboys’ offense will be more explosive than ever. Regardless, the team will get a good, long hard look at Beasley, Williams and Harris in extended action, which can only benefit the team’s future. And having a hobbled Austin on the field can only hurt things, as we’ve seen in the past when Dez Bryant stayed on the field at less than 100 percent. The Cowboys probably won’t rest Austin for the next three weeks and take advantage of the roster flexibility, but what the Cowboys should do and what they actually do are often two different things.
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