Tavon Austin is where he needs to be to finally realize his full potential, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones couldn’t be happier with the team’s new offensive weapon.
Jones made a surprising comparison when discussing Austin at training camp.
“I like the energy that No. 10 is bringing,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota. “That’s inordinate because just by the nature of how we got him here and his pedigree, for him to bring along that really, it’s Michael Irvin-ish as far as the energy that he brings. I know the guys appreciate him.”
The Playmaker isn’t walking through the door at 52 years old to solve the Cowboys’ wide receiver problems. But Austin is now mentally and physically ready to become a dynamic threat.
The fact that Austin is drawing positive reviews shows how far he has come in a few months. The Los Angeles Rams were ready to release the failed draft pick, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, before finding a trade partner.
Jones’ reference was a nod to Austin’s on-field demeanor and not his skill set. Comparing any current player to a Hall of Famer is always a mistake. Yet, a larger-than-life personality is exactly what the Cowboys need among a nondescript group of skill-position performers.
A take-charge version of Austin is a far cry from the previous incarnation that played for the Rams organization. Calling the receiver’s first five seasons a disappointment is an understatement. The Rams traded up to the eighth overall pick in the notoriously awful 2013 draft and chose the West Virginia product. He’s never managed more than 907 total yards from scrimmage in any season yet signed a $42 million contract extension before the 2016 campaign. In March, the Rams and Austin agreed to void the last three years of his contract, which made him easier to trade.
A month later, the Cowboys flipped a sixth-round pick to the Rams for Austin. He’s been everything the team wanted upon agreeing to the deal.
“He’s a steal,” Dak Prescott said during minicamp, per ESPN.com’s Todd Archer.
The quarterback could already see what Austin brought to the offense as a hybrid runner/receiver. However, Austin’s turnaround in the blue and silver occurred long before he ever put on the team’s uniform.
His misusage within the Rams offense under previous head coach Jeff Fisher from 2013 to 2016 is not a secret. Fisher’s staffs lacked creativity and didn’t continually place Austin in a position to create, which is amazing after they paid a stiff price to draft him. It’s not like his skill set changed from West Virginia to the professional ranks.
This doesn’t excuse the 28-year-old target, who is equally culpable in his disappointing play. Austin never committed himself. Other priorities superseded what happened on the field.
“I didn’t respect the game enough,” Austin acknowledged, per the Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George. “That’s what I’m doing again. I’m getting back to leaving the money and all that stuff alone and coming in and playing the sport that I love.”
Reporters pressed Austin on what he meant about not respecting the game.
“For one, my work ethic,” he said. “My work ethic went out the window. I’m not saying I wasn’t working hard, but it went out the window. I didn’t work as hard as I used to do.”
It didn’t take long for Tavon Austin and the Cowboys to show their true colors and disrespect the red, white and blue on national television, again. Dak “MAGA Seneca Wallace” Prescott got Dallas on the board early with a deep bomb to Austin, who’d burst right past New York’s defense in an absolute blaze of glory.
Austin was traded to the Cowboys from the Rams in the offseason in exchange for a sixth-round pick. The move was hardly objectionable as he didn’t score a receiving touchdown all of last season (he scored once rushing). This season wasn’t off to the greatest start either as he only recorded one rushing yard of total offense Week 1 against the Panthers. This game seems to be going a bit better. Not only has he burned a safety nicknamed “The Jackrabbit,” he also had a throwback performance that allowed some fans to bring up Rams-era Nick Foles.
Cowboys fans will certainly hope the fever of throwback performances becomes contagious, and gets Dak Prescott to back to his Offensive Rookie of the Year heights.
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Tavon Austin’s fresh start with the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t much different than the stale final season the versatile receiver endured with the Los Angeles Rams.
The difference is that Austin has a chance to change the feeling — against his former team, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Cowboys traded for Austin during the draft, but he missed nine games after injuring a groin. While he was out just one game last season under first-year Rams coach Sean McVay, Austin was hampered by wrist and hamstring issues while simply getting buried on the depth chart.
He’s trying not to view Saturday night’s game in LA as a matchup of a team that wanted him against a team that didn’t .
“You’re always going to feel disrespected because you’re getting traded,” Austin said. “If you get traded, evidently you’re not doing something right. Or you ain’t getting it done, or they don’t believe in you. I felt disrespected, but at the end of the day it’s the business side.
“(McVay) talked to me on the phone about it and told me he was going to give me a chance to go somewhere else and finish my career. And that was good enough for me.”
Austin had the first long play of the season for the Cowboys, a 64-yard touchdown catch from Dak Prescott in a Week 2 win over the New York Giants before getting injured four weeks later. He returned in time for the regular-season finale at New York, setting up a strong showing in the 24-22 wild-card win over Seattle.
An 80-yard punt return for a touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty that didn’t make any difference in Austin breaking free. He added a 51-yard return early in the fourth quarter to set up a drive that ended with Prescott throwing an interception in the end zone.
The Cowboys haven’t had much of a threat in the return game without Austin, and haven’t been able to utilize many gadget plays on offense without the hybrid receiver/runner.
The eighth overall pick in 2013 when the Rams were still in St. Louis, Austin had five disappointing seasons, including the franchise’s first two after moving back to LA. The former West Virginia player heard the “bust” talk, but tried to ignore it. He’s still trying to ignore it.
“Every game is emotional,” Austin said. “Not really a difference between games. It’s just the fact that I played over there for so long. I’m all right. I’m not going to make it a Tavon against the Rams thing.”
It wasn’t so much the Rams wanting to dump Austin as it was simply not having a spot for him two years after he signed a four-year, $42 million extension.
The 28-year-old Austin was a good fit for Dallas because offensive coordinator Scott Linehan likes gadget guys. Linehan just never got to use him much.
“Tavon has the unique ability of making big plays with not playing every game,” Linehan said recently. “He’s going to feel like a guy with fresh legs on the field.”
And Austin has a fresh outlook, even after another stale season marked by an injury that led to career lows in games and catches.
“You always want to show out. That’s the point,” Austin said. “We’ll see when we get over there. Hopefully I do, but if I don’t, hopefully we just get the win.”
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed receiver Tavon Austin to a one-year deal, according to 105.3 The Fan’s Mike Fisher.
It’s unknown how much Austin will earn.
105.3 The Fan reported last week that Austin had been working out at The Star with Cowboys trainers.
With the departure of Cole Beasley, Austin could see more opportunities in the slot along with Allen Hurns.
Austin had 8 receptions for 180 yards in seven games played with Dallas last season. He suffered a gruesome groin injury that cost him half the season.
The Cowboys also reportedly signed defensive end Christian Covington to a one-year deal on Thursday.