COMMENTARY | At one point in time, Dallas Cowboys wide-receiver Miles Austin was quarterback Tony Romo’s favorite target. Those days weren’t that long ago, but they appear to be nothing more than a distant memory now. The 29-year-old Austin has been hampered and troubled by hamstring problems since the 2011 season. Austin hasn’t looked much like the player he once was a few seasons back, and like other players who have suffered from chronic injuries, he is beginning to look like a shell of his former self.
As of late, Miles Austin isn’t being talked about much for being the Pro Bowl receiver he was in 2009 and 2010. He honestly hasn’t looked much like that player at all. These days Austin is primarily garnering attention for the six games he missed in 2011, along with arguably being passed up on the offensive depth chart by Dez Bryant. Austin’s lack of production in the past few seasons have many questioning whether or not his days in Dallas could be numbered after this season.
Austin’s 2013 season thus far hasn’t been a good indication for making a statement as to why he should remain in Dallas. After a strong week 1 against the New York Giants where Austin recorded 10 receptions for 72 yards, Austin has caught only 5 passes in total since then. To make matters worse for Austin, a hamstring injury forced him out early in week 3 against the Rams. That same hamstring issue lead to Austin missing the Cowboys loss to the San Diego Chargers in week 4.
Austin’s status for the Cowboys crucial game this weekend against the AFC leading Denver Broncos is in question also. Though Austin’s hamstring injury in week 3 wasn’t deemed as being serious, Austin has missed several practices leading up to the Broncos game. Miles Austin signed a seven year deal in 2010 to remain with the Cowboys. That deal — along with Austin’s consistent play back then appeared to secure his future with the team. However, potential salary cap issues will force the Cowboys to make some tough decisions at the end of this season.
Miles Austin can still a very good number 2 receiver for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, his inconsistent performances the past couple of seasons, coupled with his nagging hamstring problems, may have put him on the chopping block following this season. Austin doesn’t necessarily need the numbers he posted from 2009 when he caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards to remain a Cowboy. However, he needs to remain healthy and complement Dez Bryant for the majority of this season.
Whether or not Mile Austin will be able to turn his 2013 season around is still in question. The season is still early, so Austin has time left to prove himself. I think he’s on thin ice though, and will need to do some serious convincing to prove he’s still capable of staying healthy and playing at a high level.