Meetings memo: Keeping Miles Austin healthy

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
9:00
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PHOENIX -- Final thoughts from the NFL owners meetings:

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ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Jerry Jones' comments at the owners meetings, who should call plays for the Cowboys, Tony Romo's possible contract extension and Anthony Spencer's future.

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Miles Austin and his health: Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin just missed getting 1,000 yards in 2012, finishing with 943 yards and six touchdowns. Austin had 13 pass plays of 20 yards or more but didn't have a catch in both games against the Washington Redskins. More importantly, he battled hamstring injuries the entire season. Coach Jason Garrett said 2013 is critical because Austin needs to stay healthy for an entire season. "We've tried to look at that a lot of different ways," Garrett said. Austin's ability to make plays from the slot and stretch defenses downfield with his speed was missed in 2012.

Flavor of the month? Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin compared the read option, run by Washington and San Francisco, as the "flavor of the month." So how does Garrett feel about it, considering he sees the Redskins twice a season in the NFC East? "I know it was very effective for them and some other teams," Garrett said. "I do know this about the National Football League: People study what other teams are doing and they work very hard. Defensive coaches work very hard to stop some of those new trends. I think we saw that with the Wildcat. That was really a very popular, effective offensive tool a few years ago. You don’t see teams doing it quite as much."

Play-calling issues: Garrett hasn't said who will call the offensive plays for the Cowboys this upcoming season ... and they're not the only team with that issue. New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, the offensive guru out of the University of Oregon, hasn't decided if he'll do it or if it'll be offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

"We’re so far away from that," Kelly said. "We’re still just putting our offense together, and how we’re calling it, what we think we want to do, we’ll kind of finalize that. And I think a lot of that is overblown, too, because offensive football is all situational. When you script our third down during the week, when you get to third-and-3 at the 6, these are the four plays that we’re running. As long as you can read off a sheet, anybody can call a play."

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