Beat Writers Report: Austin in December

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
3:30
PM ET
After the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, we have some thoughts heading into the Lions game.

" Miles Austin isn't healthy due to an irritable hamstring and he's probably just 80 percent. The Cowboys are thinking of sitting Austin for a few weeks because right now he's just a decoy. It would be wise to sit him and give Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley more snaps with the offense. Tony Romo has a trust in each player because as he said, they get open and he'll get them the ball. Romo has proven this over time with his receivers. As for Austin, the Cowboys could make him inactive for a few weeks until he gets healthy and make him a game-day callup for December. He could be the extra push the Cowboys need for a playoff run much like Michael Crabtree could be for San Francisco if he returns from a torn Achilles.

" DeMarcus Ware is scheduled to make $12.2 million in base salary in 2014 with a cap number of $16 million. With the Cowboys projected to be $31 million over the cap, expect Ware's contract to be restructured again. He's not alone. Brandon Carr has a base salary of $7.5 million in 2014 and his cap number will be $12.2 million. The Cowboys will restructure his deal to lower his cap number and move the base salary to signing bonus. This is life in the NFL, teams moving money around to clear cap space. If you remember, the Cowboys were more than $20 million over the cap last season and were able to get under it with a few moves. Same thing will happen this season.

" The Cowboys signed defensive tackle Marvin Austin on Monday afternoon to play both tackle spots. Team officials love Austin's abilities but caution he's prone to take a few plays off. Jerry Jones mentioned Tuesday on his weekly radio show that line coach Rod Marinelli had a long talk with the under-achieving Austin about what's expected of him. The Cowboys use a rotation of line players, with Ware and tackle Jason Hatcher getting the bulk of the snaps. Austin could be asked to rotate more with Nick Hayden, which is the position that lines up on the center. Marinelli keeps hustle stats for his linemen and expects them to run down the field on pass plays to force possible turnovers by stripping ball carriers from behind.

" Tight end Gavin Escobar just isn't strong enough to muscle past defenders. On a crossing route in the first half, Escobar was pushed to the ground by linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Romo threw a pass to where Escobar was supposed to be, but he was late getting there because of the push. In time, Escobar will develop more strength, especially in the offseason program, and getting knocked down by linebackers will decrease.

" It's interesting the two interceptions thrown by Romo weren't considered his fault. Romo threw a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, which was picked off. His third-quarter interception was a result of Romo throwing a pass for Beasley, but with Phillip Tanner in the way, Ryans was able to pick it off. Romo said Tanner ran the wrong way on the route, which is fine, but the quarterback also admitted he shouldn't have thrown the pass.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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