Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin has been shut down for several weeks due to a hamstring injury and ineffectiveness, but all signs point towards his return for this week’s big rivalry showdown with the New York Giants. This battle has huge playoff ramifications for the Cowboys, so bringing back their No. 2 receiver is especially important this week. Terrance Williams has cooled off, and Austin will help consistently alleviate pressure off of Dez Bryant, who should have better days on the stat sheet ahead of him.
Austin was able to practice at the start of the Cowboys bye week, and he also made a critical appearance at practice yesterday. Since he practiced on the first day of this week, Austin is definitely on track to be active against the Giants. In fact, ESPN Dallas’s Calvin Watkins tweets that Jerry Jones stated Austin is “ready to play”. Jones added another layer to things by stating that Austin could have even played in last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints, but I think this is hyperbole.
Let’s face it, Austin wasn’t even on the practice field that week, so the Cowboys had no intention of playing him. In retrospect, it would have been best to have him, and, at the time, I think most people would have wanted to have Austin healthy ahead of the clash against a high-powered Saints offense. But Austin didn’t play, and we’ve heard this same, “Oh, he could have played,” routine from the Cowboys with Miles Austin earlier this season. Remember when they stated that Austin could have continued playing against the St. Louis Rams if it were a playoff game? And then he missed the next two games and was shut down for several weeks after not catching a pass in the following two games?
I definitely buy that Miles Austin will play this week, but I also don’t buy that the Cowboys could have played Austin in Week 10 before the bye (they certainly didn’t have any intent on playing him). He could have played from a physical standpoint (as in, he was healthy), but he also “could have played” the week before that, theoretically. No, that’s not how it works. The Cowboys want to play him now because they know they need him due to their own struggles and the importance of their opponent.