Bryant or Austin: Who ya got?


My good friends over at ESPNDallas.com have a Hot Button debate today about the team's star wide receivers. The question is simple: Who will have a better year? Miles Austin or Dez Bryant? Tim MacMahon picks Bryant, Calvin Watkins picks Austin, and each makes his case. Here's Tim on Dez:

With the help of head coach Jason Garrett, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson and quarterback Tony Romo, Bryant made great strides last season with his knowledge of the Cowboys' offense and ability to apply it while bullets are flying. Example A: Bryant's savvy sight adjustment on his 26-yard catch that set up the winning field goal in overtime of the road win against the Washington Redskins.

If Bryant keeps preparing properly, his third season should end in the Pro Bowl. And he will become the most productive weapon in the Cowboys' passing game.

And here's Calvin on Miles:

The Cowboys miss Austin when he's out. They miss his calm presence in the huddle and on the field. This isn't about Bryant's knowledge of the game, because he knows what's happening out there. Austin is just a better player. He's more accomplished and dependable than Bryant.

So when the 2012 season begins, while it's important to watch Bryant's development, enjoy Austin and watch a talented and powerful receiver at work.

I agree with the basic premise that we've seen Austin perform at a top-wideout level and are still just assuming Bryant will. But that said, I side with Tim on this issue, because I agree with him that Austin will never be better than he was in 2009, and Bryant has the potential to be the very best wide receiver in the league. I also agree with Tim's point that Bryant, for all of the criticism that's been leveled at him, has actually played very well for a first- and second-year player. Bryant's third year in the league should be a breakout, and I think it's going to be pretty exciting to watch.

Now, about that defense ...