Tavon Austin can replace Lance Dunbar for the Dallas Cowboys, but he can’t be the savior the team needs to for their passing game.
The offseason retirement of Jason Witten and the decision to release Dez Bryant leaves the Dallas Cowboys short on pass catching talent. The team can’t expect Tavon Austin to be the savior of their receiving corps.
Fortunately, it doesn’t look like Austin is placing that much pressure on himself. The former West Virginia receiver is insistent that he just wants to play as much as possible. Austin claims that getting on the field for his new team is “all that matters.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the Cowboys coaching staff has the same point of view. The team’s executive vice president told reporters that he expects Austin to get between 12 and 24 touches per game. That would be a healthy increase over the 72 total touches Austin got from the Rams last season. Expecting Austin to more than double his workload is likely a mistake by the Cowboys front office.
After all, there’s a reason the Rams were happy to let Austin leave. He only managed a paltry 3.6 yards per reception last season. That’s a pitiful total for a player with his speed. His running average was slightly better, but the simple fact is he only managed 317 yards from scrimmage last season. The Cowboys are going to need significantly more production from their slot receiver this season.
In fairness to Austin, that’s three more yards than Cole Beasley managed to produce for Dallas last season. He finished the year with 36 catches for 314 total yards. Predictably he didn’t get any rushing carries. Don’t be surprised if he finds his way onto the field in the slot for obvious passing downs. He’s a much better route runner than Austin and his chemistry with Prescott should also help him earn more snaps.
Dallas is going to have to get creative on offense to overcome their mediocre receiving corps. Tavon Austin can be a part of their solution, but the team can’t put too much pressure on him to produce. If they count on him to put up big numbers, they’re going to be sorely disappointed.