You know it’s the offseason when every little thing said gets blown into something major, especially with the Dallas Cowboys. At a time when the NFL news cycle is slow, talking about a player can have a big-time ripple effect; see Austin, Tavon.
Last week Stephen Jones mentioned that Dallas’ newest jack of all trades, Tavon Austin, would get 12-24 touches a game. This got way too many Twitter GM’s going. The reaction went one of two ways, it was either crazy for Jones to say, which was the common theme, or some felt Jones overreached because he was excited over his new weapon. My vote was clearly for the latter.
Despite it all, here’s what too many are missing, it doesn’t matter right now. Not a single bit. People rarely pay attention to what the Joneses have to say, but for some reason, everyone wants to chime in on this conversation about Austin. This is where you want to draw the line in the sand and want to start questioning Stephen Jones’ sanity.
Forgive me for not overeating like so many, but the reality is it doesn’t matter what anyone says about Austin’s role right now. We won’t know their plans for the speedster until training camp, and even then we should assume their whole strategy won’t be revealed. Acquiring Austin seemed like it was in the team’s plans this offseason, so they certainly have an idea of how they want to use him. Whether it’s seven, 12 or even 20 times a game, they want to get the ball in his hands.
That’s what means something right now, the Cowboys identified a role they would like for a player to have, they identified that type of guy and went out and secured him. You don’t do that unless you have a very specific way you envision utilizing him. We’ll find out what that means down the road, there’s no need to take anything said about him now too seriously.
The important thing is that Tavon Austin is a weapon. He’s an explosive player in the return game and a terror with the ball in his hands in open space. Anytime he touches it, no matter which time in the game, Austin is a threat to score. He may never live up to the hype as the eight overall selection in the 2013 draft, but he’ll have a role in this Dallas offense.
Part of the beauty with Tavon is that he won’t necessarily need to touch the ball to have an effect on the game. Austin’s presence and speed can open up things for everyone around him, which could lead to big plays all over the field. He may not touch the ball 24 times a game, but if Austin can make a few plays every week, he will have served his purpose.
The Dallas Cowboys have a plan for Tavon Austin and all that matters is what happens when the games start. No one should be paying attention to what anyone says about how many times he’ll touch the ball until we can see their strategy for ourselves.
Judging by words is silly, let’s see what happens when the real tests begin, games. Until then, talk is cheap.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi