Entering the NFC Divisional Round in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Rams probably isn’t the best time to increase or decrease a certain players playing time, but I believe Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Tavon Austin may be the exception.
Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting Tavon Austin’s return to the field since injuring his groin muscle earlier this year in Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His game breaking ability was on a hiatus of sorts, but returned to full force last Saturday night in the Cowboys Wild Card victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Everybody knows that when Tavon Austin can get the ball in space he is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He nearly did that twice against the Seahawks on punt returns, even though he doesn’t look like he’s 100% all the way back from that nagging groin injury.
You may have forgotten, although I don’t know how you could, but Austin returned one of his punt returns to the house for a touchdown and another one for an impressive 51 yards. Unfortunately his TD was negated by a questionable holding penalty that had absolutely zero impact on the play. Regardless, it’s still evidence of what he can do when he can get the ball with room to run.
You may be starting to see where I’m going with this. I really like that the Dallas Cowboys chose to go with Tavon Austin as their punt returner over Cole Beasley, but I can’t help but want more. That is why I believe they should expand #10’s role even more and get him involved on offense this week against his former team, the Los Angeles Rams.
Tavon Austin is just so special in the way that he can change the game with his rare speed and elusiveness in the open field. That’s why the Rams drafted him eighth overall in 2013 and why the Cowboys traded for him in the offseason. Unfortunately, no one has really been able to figure out how to tap into all that talent so far in his NFL career.
Austin definitely isn’t your prototypical receiver or running back. He just doesn’t have the size at 5’9″, 174 pounds. That’s why he’s been used mostly as a “gimmick” player for the most of his professional career. It’s not a bad role to play, but it’s a role with limited opportunities.
I may be alone here, but I believe the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should increase Austin’s opportunities this week in the Divisional Round. I’d still keep him as the primary return man, but I’d also get him more involved on the offensive side of the ball, especially with Cole Beasley’s ankle injury.
If it was me, I’d line him up in the slot and scheme ways to get him the ball with space to run. I really believe he can be a difference maker if he was just given the opportunity. Hopefully it’ll happen this week.