Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Tavon Austin: “Green Means Go” for Cowboys Newest Play Maker

Sean Martin

Published

on

Tavon Austin, Cowboys Best Playmaker Not Named Ezekiel Elliott?

The news of the Dallas Cowboys trading for Tavon Austin at the NFL Draft was overshadowed at the time by everything else going on around AT&T Stadium. Leaving the draft with Austin in the fold and Ryan Switzer departed for the Raiders though, Austin has been constantly discussed as a possible replacement to Switzer and then some.

The Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan envision a big role for Austin, but can't pigeonhole this production into one spot on the depth chart. Cowboys Nation has heard so far this offseason that Austin is a running back (further crowding a talented backfield), wide receiver, and at points just a "play maker".

For as much play making ability as the Cowboys have at running back with Ezekiel Elliott, they lack proven ability at wide receiver. Austin caught just 13 balls last season in Sean McVay's LA Rams offense, but added 59 carries for 270 yards.

Six of these carries and 48 rushing yards for Austin came against the Cowboys in a week four win for the Rams. Austin broke down a reverse play from this game for his new team's website, which you can watch with Staff Writer Nick Eatman right here.

As Austin describes his mentality in carrying the ball, he says "green means go," referring to his talent in the open field. This should be music to the ears of everyone inside The Star.

Tavon Austin: "Green Means Go" for Cowboys Newest Play Maker

An explosive play for an offense is a rush of at least 10 yards or completion of at least 20. The Cowboys had just 93 such plays a year ago, on pace with a similarly injury-plagued campaign in 2015. The Cowboys had well over 100 such plays in both playoff years of 2014 and 2016.

Sure, retired Tight End Jason Witten leaves behind just three such plays and free agent Wide Receiver Dez Bryant ten, but being led to believe that this is a better Cowboys offense without both centerpieces is a tall order.

The Cowboys commitment to becoming more dynamic and (*sigh*) "Dak-friendly" is much easier to believe when framed around Tavon Austin. While he won't be the only Cowboys receiver running around in Oxnard trying to make this team, he's one of the only ones that's done it before.

Where potential is the trait to look for in big plays from rookies Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, we've seen Tavon Austin in open space -- or as he puts it, green grass. With Zeke Elliott being the only other player the Cowboys can truly say the same about, I have no choice but to believe they'll have a good use for Austin.

This is a player they were willing to give up assets for, and one that an offensive coordinator still feeling pressure from last year's debacle wanted here as part of the solution. The answer to how the Cowboys put Austin in position to make big plays for them is one that can only be answered through training camp and the preseason.

As we anxiously await both events coming on the NFL calendar later this month, the Cowboys will also be relying on other players to both meet and exceed expectations to make this revamped offense work.

When the dust from a fierce competition at RB and WR settles for the Cowboys, Tavon Austin will have earned his roster spot as a reliable option for Prescott to turn to -- whether this is in handing him the ball, faking it to him, or targeting Austin in the passing game.

Tell us what you think about "Tavon Austin: “Green Means Go” for Cowboys Newest Play Maker" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
1 Comment
  • Joe Conti

    Guess you dont know who hurns is or never seen how linehan played whitehead when he was in Dallas

Player News

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin

Published

on

Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.

These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.

Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.

This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.

Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.

The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.

It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.

Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.

As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.

For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys OT La’el Collins Could Become Major Bargain

Jess Haynie

Published

on

La'el Collins

When you talk Cowboys offensive line, you always think of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin first. Right Tackle La'el Collins still has to prove he belongs in the same sentence with his elite teammates. If he does that in 2018, Collins could become one of the best bargains on the roster.

Making the move from left guard to right tackle last year, Collins improved with time and was playing his best football at the end of the year. This was despite ongoing back issues that had him on the injury report most weeks.

La'el started all 16 games at right tackle and did enough that the Cowboys committed to keeping him there in 2018, even despite a big hole back at left guard. They are hoping consistency and stability will allow Collins to really blossom this season, building on the strong progress shown last year.

For 2018, Collins has a $5.76 million cap hit. According to Spotrac, that makes him the 13th-most expensive right tackle in the NFL this year.

That middle-of-the-pack expense is consistent with where La'el currently rates among NFL right tackles. Bleacher Report ranked Collins as the 16th-best RT in football last year.

But that ranking was based on the season as a whole. If La'el plays all of 2018 the way he was playing towards the end of last year, he will have emerged as one of the better right tackles in the game.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

If Collins develops as we hope, that salary suddenly becomes a major bargain. The most expensive right tackles in the NFL are making $7-$9 million this season.

But this can go a couple of ways. With his 2019 cap hit rising to $7.9 million, La'el needs to next step forward.

If Collins were to struggle this year, it could make him a potential cap casualty next offseason. Dallas can save $6.5 million in cap space if Collins is released or traded in 2019.

Dallas could elect to give Connor Williams, their second-round pick this year, a look at right tackle next season. It's the position he played in college.

They could also consider veteran backup Cameron Fleming, who will still be just 26-year-old. Fleming has two Super Bowl rings and several starts, including in the postseason, from his time with the Patriots.

While we think of La'el Collins as a first-round talent, it's important to remember that he was ultimately an undrafted free agent. Dallas did not have to invest anything to acquire him, and ultimately that makes it easier to let him go.

Naturally, we prefer the other side of this coin. If Collins builds on 2017, he will join the upper echelon of right tackles in the league. And if the Cowboys' offensive line isn't already the best in the NFL, that would only cement them as the best unit in football.

If La'el makes the leap, it could mean huge things for the Cowboys' offense and team success this year.



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

How Cowboys Could Benefit From Randy Gregory’s Suspension

Brian Martin

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - Randy Gregory Withdraws Suspension Appeal, Cannot Return Until Week 15

Randy Gregory is back! His suspension is officially over and he will be able to join the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California when training camp gets underway less than a week from now.

Speculation has already started as to what this could mean for the Dallas Cowboys defense this season, and shockingly expectations are rather high for a player who hasn't stepped foot on the field in over a year. But, that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to focus on Gregory's mess of a contract, because it is rather interesting.

Randy Gregory was signed to a four-year contract after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Gregory's rookie deal was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2018 season, but his multiple suspensions have now changed that expiration date.

You see, Gregory has only played in a total of 14 games in his career, 12 as a rookie and two in Year 2. His third year in the NFL was completely wiped out due to his year-long suspension. If you were to add that all up, it equates to just one accured season in the NFL. Remember that, because it could have a huge impact on his contract down the road.

Randy Gregory

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory

What all of this means is that the Cowboys can pretty much stretch out Gregory's contract now that they are three years in on the deal and have only gotten one accured season out of the agreement. That basically means they can push his contract back a year, meaning his 2017 salary ($731,813) gets pushed back to 2018, his 2018 salary ($955,217) gets pushed to 2019. That would essentially make him a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) in 2020.

Or does it?

Depending on how the Dallas Cowboys handled paying Randy Gregory during his suspension could actually make him an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (EFA). This is a similar situation in which David Irving found himself in after the 2017 season. The Cowboys placed a second-round tender on him in order to secure his services for another season, albeit at a $2.91 million price tag.

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys pretty much hold all the cards when it comes to Randy Gregory's contract situation. It's all a little confusing, but that's what makes it such a unique and interesting situation.

Of course, the Cowboys could decide to extend Gregory early if he completely dominates upon his return this season. It's highly doubtful though considering his past suspensions, but still technically a possibility. If it does happen, you can go ahead and ignore everything I've written previously.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending