Tony Romo isn't worried about the Cowboys' receiving corps, and Miles Austin is why
Romo thinks it's possible the Cowboys have a good receiver lurking somewhere on their roster
Unless you have been living under a rock this offseason, you have undoubtedly heard about the lack of pass-catching talent on the Dallas Cowboys' roster after the offseason departures of Jason Witten (retirement) and Dez Bryant (cap casualty). With their Hall of Fame tight end and No. 1 wideout no longer on the roster, Dak Prescott now has a pass-catching corps that consists of Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, third-round pick Michael Gallup, Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz.
That's not exactly an awe-inspiring group, and while it would be difficult for those guys, regardless of their names, to perform worse than Dallas' pass-catchers did last season -- when the Cowboys had one of the most inefficient group of receivers in the NFL -- that has not stopped people in and around the league from bemoaning the quality of Dak Prescott's weaponry.
One person who is not quite as worried as the rest of the NFL world, however, is the Cowboys' all-time leader in just about every statistical passing category. Tony Romo, who started for the Cowboys for a decade and is now the lead color analyst for CBS broadcasts, appeared on NFL Network earlier this week and discussed why it's not necessarily a problem that it looks like the Cowboys don't have a "true No. 1 receiver" for Prescott to throw to. It all has to do with Miles Austin.
"It depends on what you're defining as a No. 1 receiver," Romo said. "Is it by name alone? Is it by talent? I mean, you don't know that they don't have one. There's always someone that can come up. For me, it was Miles Austin after [Terrell Owens] left, and it was the same discussion then."
Romo noted that the quarterback still has to throw the ball accurately not matter who the pass is directed toward, and that some receivers change the definition of "accurately" because of their skill level. "At the end of the day, if you put the ball in small windows and you're aggressively putting the ball where you want, there's going to be windows," Romo said. "It's just, when you have someone who is super talented, the windows are wider. So, if you have Julio Jones, the windows are wider, so you don't have to be as perfect as a quarterback."
As far as the Cowboys go, Romo said that Prescott has the ability to make the size of the windows somewhat irrelevant. "As Dak continues to improve and gets to the level he feels comfortable at, then I think the windows don't have to be as big," he said. "So, from that perspective, they just need guys to get into their spots and the ball will get there and that's how they're going to do it."
Certainly, all of that would constitute the best-case scenario for the Cowboys in 2018. Prescott was a bit better last season than it appears on the surface (he was fantastic for the first eight games of the year before Tyron Smith got injured and Ezekiel Elliott got suspended; and his receivers did him no favors with drops and tipped balls that led to interceptions), but he certainly has to make improvements in order to take the next step. Dallas isn't exactly putting him in the best possible position to succeed on that front, but perhaps he can overcome his circumstances and transcend the talent around him.
But what would be even better for the Cowboys is if one of the more unheralded receivers on the roster like Hurns or Gallup turns out to have the talent of a No. 1, or close to it. The Cowboys lucked out when Austin turned into a No. 1 for Romo some years back, and it sure would help if they found lightning in a bottle once again for their young QB.
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