Monday, October 12, 2009
Updated: October 13, 3:27 AM ET
Receiver makes big splash in first start
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- Coach Wade Phillips made it clear that Miles Austin wouldn't spend much time on the sideline when the Dallas Cowboys' offense was on the field.
Phillips would not declare Monday that Austin has earned a starting job with his franchise-record 250-yard performance against the Chiefs. However, Phillips said that Austin would play more than 50 snaps per game.
"We're going to get him on the field," Phillips said. "His run after the catch is so strong that if you get him the football, he's liable to make a big play. He obviously showed he could do that. We've got to get him in the game. He's got to get his touches.
"That's just the bottom line. Give him a chance to do it again."
Phillips declined to say whether Austin's increased playing time would come at the expense of Roy Williams or Patrick Crayton. Austin got his first career start Sunday in place of Williams, who stayed in Dallas to nurse three injured ribs, but he's capable of playing all the receiver positions in the Cowboys' offense.
Austin avoided questions about becoming a starter, saying that it wasn't his decision to make.
"I just wanted to show people that I'm ready to play," said Austin, who broke Hall of Famer Bob Hayes' 43-year-old team record for receiving yardage in a game.
The Cowboys have long believed that Austin, a fourth-year undrafted player from Monmouth University, had the size (6 feet 3, 214 pounds) and speed to be a dynamic threat. They're optimistic that Sunday's show was a breakout performance for a receiver who entered the game with 23 catches for 435 yards in his career.
Austin had more yards in Sunday's overtime win -- capped by his second long touchdown catch of the game -- than either Crayton (243) and Williams (214) have this season.
"You can tell he's an explosive player," quarterback Tony Romo said Sunday. "He did a phenomenal job. Obviously, we've got to find a way to utilize some of his skills."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.