Austin earned pay by saving Cowboys last season

It’s difficult for any player to live up to a six-year, $54 million contract, but in a sense, Miles Austin already has earned his pay.

Austin saved the Cowboys’ passing game last season — and their entire season, really — by stepping his game up when WRs Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton took steps in the other direction.

When I look at Austin’s game, he excelled because he runs great routes, his quickness allows for separation coming out of breaks, and his explosive burst helps him create yards after the catch. I’m sorry to say, but Williams and Crayton were sorely lacking in those all-important areas of skill.

Austin’s individual improvement had a large impact, allowing the entire Dallas offense to play at a higher level. Once he proved he could repeatedly beat single coverage, defenses began rolling coverage his way — allowing TE Jason Witten to come open more often. As the passing game flourished, the Cowboys began to use the running game to exploit defensive alignments that had fewer defenders close to the line of scrimmage.

It’s clear to see that Austin became the straw that stirred the drink in Big D during the 2009 season. Now that he’s cashing big checks and dating a Kardashian, let’s see if the kid from Monmouth College can keep his eye on the ball.

— Solomon Wilcots

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