Found September 12, 2013 on Know Your Dallas Cowboys: The Blog:
Cowboys_austin_miles_53a0
I am trying a new feature during mid-week. It’s called What-If Wednesday. We will review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on receiver Miles Austin. What if Miles Austin never had his breakout performance against the Chiefs in 2009? In real life… Between 2006 and week 4 of the 2009 season, Austin had a total of 23 receptions for 435 yards and 4 TDs. His biggest play as a professional was a kickoff return for a touchdown in the 2006 playoffs when the Cowboys faced the Seahawks (better known for Tony Romo’s fumble while holding a field-goal attempt). Although Austin showed some big-play potential, he was never a major weapon. He caught a 42-yard touchdown pass in the season-opener in 2009 but failed to catch a pass two weeks later against the Carolina Panthers. He got more opportunities to see the field when the 2-2 Cowboys visited the 0-4 Chiefs in week 5 of the 2009 season because of an injury to Roy Williams. The game was nearly a disaster for Dallas, as the Chiefs took a 13-3 lead in the second half. However, Austin caught touchdown passes of 59 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter and in overtime, giving the Cowboys a 26-20 win. After the bye week in 2009, the Cowboys faced the Falcons, Seahawks, and Eagles. In real life, Austin scored four combined touchdowns in those three games, including the game-winner against the Eagles, and those three wins improved the team’s record to 6-2. The Cowboys wound up with an 11-5 record and won the NFC East. The team beat the Eagles in the playoffs for the Cowboys’ first playoff win since 1996. What if Austin had not had a breakout game against the Chiefs? At the time the Chiefs had taken a 13-3 lead, Austin had caught four passes for 71 yards. Until that point, he had never caught more than three passes in a single game. Without his performance in the fourth quarter and in overtime against the Chiefs, the Cowboys would have had to mount a comeback with Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. It’s fair to say that the Cowboys likely would have lost and dropped to 2-3. 1. Jerry Jones fires Wade Phillips in 2009 and appoints Jason Garrett as interim head coach. The bye was the next week after the Chiefs game, and the chances that Jerry Jones would have fired Wade Phillips immediately were substantial. Nobody had forgotten that the Cowboys had missed the playoffs in 2008, and calls for Phillips’ head were loud and clear. Of course, Jason Garrett was still considered a solid candidate to become a head coach, so what ended up happening in 2010 likely would have happened in 2009. 2. The Cowboys miss the 2009 playoffs. Without Austin, the Cowboys likely lose one or more of the three games against the Falcons, Seahawks, and Eagles. The Cowboys lost three of their next five after beating the Eagles in the actual season, so the chances that Dallas would finish at 11-5 would have dropped precipitously. And as it turns out, any record below 11-5 in the NFC in 2009 would have eliminated the Cowboys from the playoffs. 3. The Cowboys still take Dez Bryant in the 2010 Draft. The Cowboys would have had a greater need at receiver in 2010 without Austin as a clear-cut starter. Even with a higher pick, though, the Cowboys would not have had great options in the 2010 draft. The team might have taken Demaryius Thomas (taken at #22 by the Broncos), but there is a better chance the Cowboys still would have taken Dez Bryant. 4. The Cowboys retain Patrick Crayton in 2010. The Cowboys would had few options if they wanted to pursue a receiver in free agency in 2010. Three of the free agents were former Cowboys in Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant, and Joey Galloway, and none of them were coming back. The other free-agent names—Derrick Mason, Nate Burleson, Kevin Walter, Arnez Battle, Marty Booker, Chris Chambers, Muhsin Muhammad— were no better. With Austin as nothing more than a fourth or fifth receiver, the Cowboys would have Roy Williams and Dez Bryant as the starters. Patrick Crayton would be far less expendable, so the chances that the Cowboys would have kept him would have been much greater. 5. Without Austin, the Cowboys would have an even longer playoff drought. Although injuries slowed Austin in 2011 and 2012, he was a major factor in the team turning the 2009 season around and winning the franchise’s first playoff game since 2009. Without Austin, the Cowboys would have likely missed the playoffs in 2009 and would probably have same success (that is, lack of success) since 2010. In other words, without Austin’s breakout performance, this team could be suffering through a five-year playoff drought, and the gap between playoff wins could be 16 years. 6. Jason Garrett would not still be the coach in 2013. If the Cowboys’ last playoff game were indeed the 2007 loss to the Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs, it is very difficult to believe that Jason Garrett would survive as head coach between 2009 and 2013. In fact, if the Cowboys had the same fortunes in 2010 without Austin as they had with him, Jones probably would have fired Garrett then and started over. Related articles Four years ago in KC, Cowboys receiver Miles Austin became a household name Jason Garrett: Miles Austin back to what we’ve seen in the past Tony Romo: ‘Miles Austin is invaluable’ Is Miles Austin Still Key to Dallas Cowboys’ Passing Attack?
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Anthony Spencer, Brian Waters might play this week

Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer practiced for the first time in a long time on Wednesday after undergoing knee surgery this summer. Dallas owner Jerry Jones announced on his radio show that Spencer and newly acquired offensive lineman Brian Waters could play this week against the Chiefs. “We don’t want to bring Spencer along any faster than we have to,” Jones said, via...

Anthony Spencer getting ready to play on Sunday

Even though Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer didn’t practice on Thursday he still expects to play this week against the Chiefs. “This is the first week I’ve gone straight through without swelling,” Spencer said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Spencer was asked if he’ll be playing on Sunday, “I’m getting ready to play.” Even if Spencer plays this week,  I...

Romo says ribs should be fine for Sunday

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo practiced in pads for the first time Wednesday since bruising his ribs Sunday and said pronounced himself fit enough to play this weekend. "I felt fine, just normal soreness and stuff going through," Romo said. "I assume by the weekend they'll be fine, good to go." Romo was sandwiched between two pass rushers...

Dez Bryant finally getting the right kind of attention

Dez Bryant showed signs of becoming a superstar in the second half of the 2012 season. And that's why he received the bulk of the Giants' attention during the Cowboys' 36-31 win Sunday. Bryant only caught four passes for 22 yards, but his presence paved the way for big games from Jason Witten and Miles Austin. In fact, Witten became Romo's primary option in the red...

Cowboys injury updates: Dez Bryant, Anthony Spencer

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant practiced today, but defensive end Anthony Spencer did not, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. Bryant is dealing with a mildly sprained foot, while Spencer continues to recover from the knee surgery he underwent at the end of July.Bryant was a full participant during yesterday's practice session, but head coach Jason Garrett admitted...

Giants Player Accused Of Faking Injury Vs Cowboys Suffered Season Ending Injury

  This is so sad. Giants LB Dan Connor was one of the two players accused of faking an injury after he went down on two consecutive plays on Sunday night versus the Cowboys. Jerry Jones and Tony Romo even went so far as to call the players out afterwards for their actions saying: “I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that,” Cowboys owner and general...

Recent 1-0 starts by the Dallas Cowboys

It would seem that an opening-game win for an NFL team would be significant. For the Dallas Cowboys, a fan could point to a huge 45-35 win over the New York Giants in 2007 as a catalyst for a 13-3 season. A win during Kickoff Weekend is usually good for the Cowboys. Conversely, a fan could look at the team’s disappointing loss to the Redskins to open the 2010 season as a major...

Romo playing through rib problem again for Cowboys

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer Tony Romo played through broken ribs to help keep the season afloat for Dallas in 2011. His injury isn't as serious this time, which means the task doesn't appear as daunting for the Cowboys quarterback. Romo has bruised ribs after he was crunched between two defenders late in the first half of a 36-31 win over the...

Dez Bryant Fully Practicing

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (sprained left foot) was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice but coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Bryant took fewer reps than usual to protect his foot, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.Fantasy Spin:Bryant suffered the foot injury in the fourth quarter Sunday night against the Giants but he appears to be on track...

Cowboys-Chiefs: A test for Travis Frederick

On Fridays, we check for your emails and prepare briefly for the next opponent: So, let's talk about the Chiefs briefly. I readily admit that I would like to spend 2,000 words on the upcoming opponents like I used to, but the way we are doing the blog these days has put far more emphasis on the game behind than the game ahead and most seem to enjoy the Tuesday-Thursday breakdowns...

Cowboys reportedly expect Romo, Bryant and Claiborne to play this week

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder,  the Cowboys expect Tony Romo (ribs), Dez Bryant (foot) and Morris Claiborne (shoulder) to all play this week against the Chiefs. At this point, Cowboys expecting Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Month Claiborne will all start against Chiefs at Arrowhead. All hurt Week 1 — Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) September 11, 2013 Claiborne will wear a harness to...

Grading the Dallas Cowboys Defense After Week 1

(Photo Credit: LM Otero/Associated Press) It’s not often you see a team force 6 turnovers in a single game. It’s even less often that a team forcing 6 turnovers wins by less than a touchdown. That’s exactly what happened to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The Cowboys forced and recovered three fumbles, and intercepted Eli Manning three times, yet only won 36-31 when it...

Sits and Starts, Week 2: Kansas City Chiefs to surprise against Dallas Cowboys

Welcome back folks! Here is Week 2 of Rob and Penn‘s “Sits and Starts“! Again, to help you all out, we are going to shy away from the obvious picks. We have posted the detailed set of rules to which we will hold ourselves over on Pro Football Nostradamus (PFN), Robert’s personal website. To sum […]The post Sits and Starts, Week 2: Kansas City Chiefs to surprise against...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.