Can the Dallas Cowboys count on Miles Austin and Dez Bryant in 2012?
Are the Cowboys wide receivers going to shake out to be more promise than long-term production? From the way things look, their top two options Dez Bryant and Miles Austin could be serving up heavy doses of heartache.
Going into his third year, the super-talented Bryant is not sitting in a good place with owners Jerry Jones.
The accusations that he assaulted his mom to the degree that she was upset enough to make a 911 call are the latest in a string of embarrassing situations that envelope him.
He and his mother did the press conference thing and tried to take it back but that 911 call that she made will last forever.
As that situation works itself out, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been very open and honest about his feelings.
“The reason I hadn’t talked to him is because I’m so pissed that I’m not ready to talk to him,” Jones told ESPN at the start of training camp when he refused to talk to Bryant. “When I get all my stuff together, I’ll talk to him.”
“If he goes away from football now, you won’t see him anymore,” Jones told USA Today. “He couldn’t go away for a year or two and come back. He probably won’t ever be able to obtain an opportunity like this again, if it slips away.”
Those statements are not ringing endorsements from an owner that has put up with a lot of stuff from a lot of troubled players.
“That has been the chief limiting thing with us sitting here with a player that is very obviously a major difference maker in us winning games; has been his injuries,” Jones said. “Now, is that going to continue? We hope not. He has had a big offseason relative to his strength and conditioning. He is the best shape he has ever been. “
That is part two to Bryant’s problem. Since he’s walked into the NFL, he’s only shown flashes of his potential thanks to bruises, ankle issues and other maladies.
None of that will matter this year if he doesn’t get his head on straight. Because now Bryant has to fight through whatever it is he has to fight through to get it right.
It doesn’t matter how deep a bruise is, this has to be the year that he gets it done.
This has to be the year that the pressure of being a highly visible NFL star does not get to him to the point of where his behavior becomes anti-social.
From what we have seen, is it really expected that Dez Bryant can change *snap* like that?
If not, the Cowboys as a team will be worse off for it.
Speaking of injuries, last season Austin began what could be a permanent bout with reoccurring hamstring issues.
He flat out missed half of the 2011 season thanks to the issue and after tweaking it again last week will miss Monday’s pre-season action.
It looks like an issue yet Austin is claiming that it is not that serious.
“It’s up to whomever to be concerned,” Austin told the team’s website. “Anybody who wants to be concerned can be concerned. I can’t focus on who’s concerned or who’s not concerned. I need to focus on getting back.”
In 2011, Austin chalked the problems up to an overall lack of conditioning as a result of the lockout which was taken at face value.
Now that he’s had a full plate of activities to eat from, what’s the problem?
“Well, I know how hard I work, first off,” Austin said. “And also, I have trust in God, so you shouldn’t be concerned. So, yeah, I’m not concerned.”
It could be coincidence but if it’s not, there will be no Laurent Robinson available to pick up the pieces for Austin and Bryant’s various mishaps.
His 58 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns kept the Cowboys offense on track along with the emergence of DeMarco Murray.
Now that he’s fishing down in Jacksonville, the third link on the Cowboys’ receiver chain is Kevin Ogletree.
Ogletree has amassed only 25 receptions (zero touchdowns) in three years of production.
The question becomes does Ogletree have Robinson’s breakout ability if and when something goes wrong with Austin or Bryant?
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett seems to think so.
“Kevin’s an experienced player,” said Garrett. “He’s always been a guy who has tried to get better as a player. He’s very talented. One of Kevin’s real strengths is that he can play both outside and inside. He has the ability, the speed and the size to play outside, but he also has the feel as a route runner to play inside.”
Are these words of endorsement enough to make team management and most importantly the team’s fans enough to feel safe?
I doubt it, but as the receivers go so does QB Tony Romo goes and if there is continued instability at that position, should the blame leave Romo’s shoulders and head elsewhere?