One of the major disappointments of this season for the Cowboys has been the health of Miles Austin. As a breakout receiver in 2009, Austin compiled more than 1300 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. This season, Austin's production and health have been subpar.
Heading into the season, the Cowboys looked thin at the wide receiver position. Outside of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, the Cowboys had nothing but unproven players at the position. It almost seemed as if they were tempting fate with injuries. If Bryant and/or Austin were to get injured, there was no player to fill in with any significant experience whatsoever. It almost seemed irresponsible.
This prompted me to pick up the phone and call Gil Brandt. For those of you not familiar with Brandt, he was a longtime scout and executive for the Dallas Cowboys from the early 60's until the late 80's. Gil Brandt belongs in the Hall of Fame, because he was directly responsible for filling the talent that accounted for five Super Bowl appearances, two Super Bowl wins, and twenty consecutive winning seasons. Gil Brandt is one of the hosts of Sirius/XM's NFL Radio talk channel. I was particularly interested to talk to Gil about this issue because he still has ties to Dallas and often stays in touch with many inside the organization.
So I decided to call in. This was late August and I wanted Gil's opinion about why they were neglecting this position. Gil Brandt responded that the wide receiver position was one of the easiest to fill when rounding out the roster. He reminded me that it's not like trying to find another quarterback, defensive end, or left tackle. Brandt also reminded me that he knew of a few veterans on the street who were unsigned and would be capable of playing on short notice.
Who was Laurent Robinson? He was a 3rd round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. After several years toiling in Atlanta, Robinson was traded to St. Louis, where the combination of injuries and instability at the quarterback position left him unproductive. He was waived by St. Louis in 2010 and not claimed by any other organization.
On September 7th, the Cowboys signed Laurent Robinson, but released him a week later after he injured his hamstring in his first practice as a Cowboy. With injuries to Bryant and Austin shortly after the Cowboys started the season, Robinson was signed again another week later on September 20th. Since then, Robinson has had 59 targets, accruing 38 receptions for 554 yards and 7 touchdowns. His production has been comparable to Austin's, and he has developed chemistry with Tony Romo, making several clutch touchdown
receptions over the past few weeks.
Austin will be out of shape and rusty when he returns. There is no reason for Jason Garrett to rush Austin back into the lineup full-time and interrupt the production between Romo and Robinson. Having a healthy Austin available down the stretch and into the playoffs is very beneficial to the Cowboys chances later in the year. For now, Garrett needs to ease him back in and not risk losing him to another hamstring injury this year. The cliché that "you can't lose your job to injury" is never true in the NFL. Ask Felix Jones.
This football article provided by Cowboys Daily.