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Training Camp and Preseason are Crucial for Tavon Austin

Matthew Lenix



Training Camp and Preseason are Crucial for Tavon Austin

Your best ability is availability in sports. While he may be extremely dynamic once the ball is in his hands, too often Tavon Austin is seen rehabbing or getting treatment, not an ideal situation for any franchise that's dishing out millions for your services.

When the Dallas Cowboys acquired Austin last April, the thinking was he'd be another weapon with the potential to put up six points at any given time with his speed and athleticism, but in October those thoughts would be put on hold. He suffered a groin injury that forced him to miss nine games, thus making it very difficult for him to ever get any kind of timing with Dak Prescott. He only managed to put up 8 receptions for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. This isn't new territory for Tavon by any means, considering in 2017 he missed time with hamstring and wrist injuries, as well as suffering a mild concussion.

The Cowboys having a pretty deep roster of playmakers on offense is also something that's working against Tavon. The addition of Amari Cooper changed life dramatically for Dallas in 2018, as they won seven of the final eight games after his arrival. This gave Dak Prescott the true number one receiver he's longed for since his rookie campaign. Michael Gallup showed flashes not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well that he's ready to be the that stable second option. Randall Cobb is a seasoned veteran with eleven games of playoff experience under his belt, and seemingly ready to provide a steady presence in the slot with the departure of Cole Beasley. Tony Pollard being drafted in the 4th round might have been the biggest blow to Austin's future in Dallas. Not only does Pollard possess the same skill set as Austin, but he does those things at an even higher level, and with no major injury history in his past, he could keep Tavon on the sidelines.

There is one glimmer of hope for Austin and that's the possibility of being the team's primary punt returner. Although rookie Tony Pollard tied an NCAA record with seven kick return touchdowns he didn't fare so well returning punts. This could be because of a lack of opportunities considering he only had two in his entire college career for a total of eleven yards. Nonetheless, he didn't prove that was a big part of his skill set during his days at Memphis. Austin, however, has shown in the past he can take one to the house at any given moment. He returned a punt 79 yards for what would've been a touchdown against the Seahawks in last years playoffs, but unfortunately, it was called back because of a penalty. This area may be his best chance to keep a spot on the roster.

So what's the role for Tavon in 2019? Are there enough footballs to go around? Can his body hold up for an entire season? Just a few glaring questions that would suggest Austin's time in Dallas could be short-lived, but there's always a chance that's not the case. Pressure can at times bust pipes, but it can also pour gasoline on that fire inside an athletes belly and turn back the clock, showing what gave them their reputation in the first place. With a crowded receiver room and an unlucky injury history, the odds are stacked against him, but Tavon still has a chance to turn what looks like his final days into a new beginning.


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Cowboys K Brett Maher’s 63-Yard Field Goal Sets New NFL Record

Jess Haynie



Brett Maher

After hitting a 63-yard field goal last night in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Kicker Brett Maher now owns the NFL record for most field goal made at 60 yards or longer. It was the third 60-plus FG of his career and second so far this season.

Maher hit a 62-yarder last week in Dallas' loss to the New York Jets. That kick tied him with Sebastian Janikowski and Greg Zuerlein for having two career field goals of 60 or more.

Now Brett stands alone in that category. Last night's kick also was just one yard shy of Matt Prater's record for the NFL's longest field goal; Maher hit from 64 yards in 2013.

If Brett Maher ever gets a chance to kick in Denver, he may have a great shot at breaking Prater's record as well. According to NBC's data from last night, Maher's kick would have been good from 66 yards out.

It was a good night overall for the Cowboys kicker. Maher had two other makes from 26 and 29 yards.

Despite his heroics at times, Brett Maher has been one of the least accurate kickers in the NFL the last two years. Even after last night Brett is hitting just 71.4% of his field goals so far in 2019; that ties him for 25th in the league.

The most puzzling aspect of all with Maher is how much he struggles with shorter range kicks. You almost have more confidence in him kicking from 60 yards out than attempting an extra point.

Few kickers could survive that kind of performance and uncertainty, but few can do what Maher can with his long range ability. It's a risk/reward situation that the Cowboys are continuing to work with.

For today, at least, Maher and his team are basking in the glory of a great game. Let's hope both can keep up the positive momentum.

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Cowboys Get Good News on Vander Esch, Quinn Injuries After Eagles Game

Jess Haynie



Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch off to a Fast Start 1

The Dallas Cowboys got a big win last night over the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was concern that they also suffered some big injuries. But good news; despite their leaving the game and not returning, both LB Leighton Vander Esch and DE Robert Quinn appear to have avoided any significant issues.

Vander Esch suffered a neck stinger in the second quarter and did not come back. It appears he was held out as a precautionary measure, and the Cowboys' 21-7 lead at that point may have contributed to the decision.

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch just told me he's good. First neck stinger. Disputes "history" of neck issues reports. Told me he would have continued playing but "wasn't up to me

Quinn's rib injury also occurred before halftime and ended his night. The veteran picked up his obligatory sack before going out, and it sounds like he should be fine for Dallas' next game.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @GMFB: The #Cowboys got a few injury scares, but LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and LB Robert Quinn (rib) are expected to be OK.

These defensive standouts join a host of Cowboys starters who are going to benefit greatly from the team's bye week.

Dallas went into the game with injury concerns to WRs Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, OTs Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, and CBs Byron Jones and Anthony Brown. Of those, Brown was the only one who did not play last night.

Still, all of these players need a week to rest and be ready for the long haul of the regular season.

The Cowboys will get back to work in Week 9 with a road trip to New York, facing the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Thankfully, it looks like Leighton Vander Esch and Robert Quinn will both be ready to play in two weeks.

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Dallas Cowboys Optimistic that Amari Cooper Returns Sunday

John Williams



Report: Amari Cooper has MRI on Right Ankle

It doesn't take a deep look at the Dallas Cowboys offense over the last year and not see the significant impact that Amari Cooper has had. He's been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over the last calendar year and has opened up so much for the Cowboys offense both with his impact as a pass catcher and for the attention he draws from opposing defenses. In Cooper's last 15 regular-season games with the Dallas Cowboys, he's caught 86 passes on 121 targets for 1,240, and 11 touchdowns. He's been everything the Cowboys front office could have hoped for when they made the trade with the Oakland Raiders after week seven of the 2018 season.

Amari Cooper has been dealing with foot issues since training camp and then went out on the first offensive series against the New York Jets with a thigh contusion. His absence was definitely felt as the offense struggled to find any rhythm in the first half of their week six loss.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

Though he hasn't practiced this week there is some optimism that Cooper could potentially practice on Friday and play in this pivotal week seven matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. A contusion is basically a bone bruise, which is painful and can inhibit movement and flexibility. The most important thing to judge when determining if Cooper will be able to play or not is the level of inflammation that still persists in this leg. If the inflammation is better and he has better movement and flexibility in the leg, then he should be able to go.

Amari Cooper had a field day against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 14 of the 2018 season when he caught 10 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Even in the week 10 contest, Cooper caught six passes for 75 yards. He's had a ton of success against the Eagles and with them still having injury issues in the secondary, there's a possibility for him to have another big game this week if he's able to play.

It's an encouraging sign that he's going to try practice today given the concern during the game in the days just after the week six contest. We'll have to keep an eye on how Friday goes and the pregame reports, but if all goes well, the Cowboys offense will be in much better shape with Cooper back on the field.

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