In part one of this series, I argued that Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo would be even better than in 2011 because a healthy DeMarco Murray and free agent FB Lawrence Vickers would substantially improve the Cowboys rushing attack, thereby allowing Jason Garrett to call a more balanced game, which in turn would make Romo’s job easier. In part two, I argued that two new coaches (Mike Woicik and Bill Callahan), coupled with the youth and inexperience of much of the OL, meant that the OL had to improve in 2012, which will hopefully avoid the need for Romo to play with a broken rib or punctured lung. In part three, I argued that that Jimmy Robinson would improve the unit and find an adequate replacement for Laurent Robinson from the stable of young and inexperienced WR’s already on the Cowboys roster.
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin will both be better in 2012, and that will help Tony Romo be a better QB.
Dez Bryant will improve drastically this season. It is easy to forget that Dez is only 23 years old. He hasn’t had the benefit of a full season of football in years: his final year of college was shortened by a suspension; his rookie campaign in the NFL ended early because of injury, and the 2011 season had the lockout.
There are four general factors working together that suggest Dez Bryant will improve significantly from last year: he’s had another full year to mature, he will have a full offseason with the Cowboys organization, he will continue working with Robinson, and he has Miles Austin as a mentor.
The combination of Miles Austin and Jimmy Robinson is brilliant: Miles is proof that hard work and dedication can make you an elite receiver, and Robinson can teach Dez how to become elite if he is dedicated to doing the hard work. It is difficult to imagine an environment that would be much more conducive to the maturation and development of Dez Bryant than the one created by Austin and Robinson.
Bryant is coming into his third NFL season. The ‘third year’ rule is notorious in Dallas now because of Bill Parcells, so we know from a pretty reliable source that this is the year would should really expect Bryant to demonstrate what kind of player he is going to be.
The 3rd year of an NFL WR’s career is commonly called the ‘breakout year’ in fantasy football circles. There is a lot of statistical evidence that suggests that many perennial Pro-Bowl WR’s didn’t start their dominance until their 3rd or 4th year. The number of WR’s who put up big numbers in their first or second season is very small compared to the ones who started to do it consistently after their 3rd or 4th year. For a detailed look at the first year in which elite receivers started posting impressive stats, click here.
All signs point towards Dez Bryant improving on last year; his improvement will make Tony Romo better.
Miles Austin. He missed a few games last season with nagging hamstring problems. Recent reports confirm that he has been training hard, and he is not experiencing any residual or lingering effects from the injuries.
If he is fully healthy and can stay that way, he makes Tony Romo a better QB. It is no secret that Austin has a ‘chemistry’ with Romo that the other WR’s don’t.
Austin had a phenomenal season at the end of 2009; he was productive and reliable in 2010. He was limited to 43 catches for 579 yards and 7 TD’s last year, but only took the field for 10 games.
Austin is similar to Romo in that they are both young in comparison to the number of their respective starts. Austin has less than 3 full seasons as a starter in the NFL. He turns 28 this summer. He can still get better, and Jimmy Robinson is the perfect coach to help him refine and polish his skills.
There is no evidence regarding Austin’s relationship with Bryant, but it seems obvious that Miles would make an excellent mentor. Austin had to put in a tremendous amount of work and effort into becoming a better football player, he practices and studies hard, and he also knows what it is like to experience instant stardom and wealth. Austin has done a commendable job of taking everything in stride and leading a model lifestyle that exemplifies Jason Garrett’s ideal of the “Right Kind of Guy”.
Miles Austin will be better in 2012 just by being full healthy the entire season. He is also part of the group of people, including coach Robinson, that the Cowboys are choosing to surround Dez Bryant and the other receivers on the roster with. If the young WR’s are smart enough to utilize Austin as a mentor, they should all improve.
Conclusion: Because his WR corps will improve this season, Tony Romo is poised for a career year in 2012. He has one of the best WR coaches in the game to help Austin get even better and supervise the development of Dez Bryant. Robinson will get the young WR’s ready to be a reliable 3rd option, as he has done with so many other NFL teams. Miles Austin is healthier than he has been since 2010, and Dez Bryant is about to drastically improve his game.