As a long suffering fan, please allow me to show you what and how I see the offense headed...
I do not see Miles Austin as being a top-notch receiver. I feel that he is much more a contributor that selectively finds his places to shine. He, by himself, won't highlight this offense.
To totally rely upon both Jason Witten and Roy Williams, I just don't see the Cowboys being able to get them open enough just to dominate. They are good receivers, but I just don't see enough dynamics to yield a top shelf offense. Teams will double up on them, but in the box so as to be also able to defense the Dallas run....as teams did last season with TO and Witten there.
Dallas has a very productive quarterback, so Tony Romo's throwing will dominate much of each and every game. He will be given slightly over half of the plays within which to succeed. Just slightly below half, will be in the hands of the three running backs for the Cowboys.
This will fall back upon just how strong the assembled offensive line is. The line still should be coming into full function in year three of this specific group. They should be able to push their full potential this year.
Many have asked how Dallas would overcome not having a TO type receiver to dominate the landscape. Well, with both Bennett and Witten, the Cowboys are finally, after three years following his departure, able to run a pretty fair double tight end set that Bill Parcells envisioned.
It could well be the foundation of a power running game, and a spring board for more. Having Roy Williams, Miles Austin, Bennett and Witten all on the field does increase a strong compliment for a run game.
Play action now becomes a game break and changer, as both Roy W and Austin can break the deep pattern off with added pressure of a run lingering.
Also, their speed and size works well against current defensive back size...so quick responding slants, seams, and outs will be productive. This also adds to the use of more screens and backs into open areas to create mismatches and big, quick moving gainers as well. This will be a big part of the staple of the offense that presents right now.
Just by adding a three receiver set, odds improve for medium range completions. Put Roy W, Austin, and Crayton on the field all at once, and there better be some intense pass rushing...or one of them will push issues and get open for a big gainer.
Healthy, they are still a good group. Injure one, and we don't know what we have, which was your quandary.
Add one more deep speedster, via the draft...and here, Jerry targeting such a player as Harvin or Haywood-Bey could be enough for this entire section of receivers to turn the corner. Flooding the secondary with the likes of Roy W, Austin, Harvin, Crayton, Felix Jones, and Witten would drive quite a few present defensive coordinators pretty grouchy.
If this isn't the direction by Jerry, then my guess is the team either attempts to shore up the future of the defense in this draft...or looks to long termed solutions to bolster the offensive line.
Since Dallas has shunned the high visibility types of player changes, I don't look for a major price being laid out, and a continual and incremental approach via the draft. Within-round changes being the changes that I look to occur...which means look around where picks are located until at least Day Two.
Jerry is still looking for more gunpowder, and has not been bit by that tendency up until now...move down some, and acquire stronger depth and special team's contributors. Improvements there, makes the team harder to beat as well.
As to the break down of current issues at receiver....
1. It's not getting any better until a player or two are added...whether via the draft, free agency, or from both resources.
2. There are many more indicators of the performances of Austin than a failed period during the lingering of injury. First, we have indicators by the organization that it is putting faith in the receiver. He was replacing Patrick Crayton as the No. 2 receiver prior to his being injured. That is team confidence being shown.
They further endorsed him with the type of contract that he was offered by the organization. Also, the Jets didn't just up and offer him a visit and attempt to work out the details that would include a second round draft pick, if Austin did not pass their player evaluation process as well.
All told, that is some pretty high level endorsements in the NFL. Not only this, but he has performed well in training camps and exhibition games for the past two seasons.
That we as fans can throw up a whole series of projections of a negative vein, doesn't change his demonstrated ability and viable place on the current Dallas roster. It is now his turn to be a contributor on this team.
That he was injured this past season, was unfortunate, but doesn't change how he can still contribute.
3. The Cowboys functioned pretty well, having only Terry Glenn and Patrick Crayton. Despite a level of success, does someone now rush and claim that Roy Williams now isn't on par with a career ending Terry Glenn? Or that Roy Williams with an upgrade to Patrick Crayton is not at least better?
4. The price of doing business in the NFL can not suddenly be ignored. It is always better to gain in the draft and pay less in free agency. Always has been and unless the cap is abolished...always will be.
5. First, the team will 'attempt' to achieve an upgrade in the draft, and gain a long-termed solution at the position. If they are not successful, then a veteran will probably be given consideration. The fact remains, that a team-enhancing receiver will be available at the top parts of round two.
The price to move up and acquire such a roster enhancing person does not break the bank, on either picks or cap. That will be the team's effort....first.
Myself, I'd think that if JERRY really wanted to take a changed direction with him out of this draft...that he would mortgage a little of the 2010 draft and go get him a real showpiece at receiver, while the iron was hot. I would retain most of the rest of this year's picks, and target very durable and strong roster upgrades.
This would end up being a very ferocious camp and upon up the team completely, to directional changes that includes a dominant aggressive team mood...yea, WITH Wade Phillips at the helm. Give Jason Garrett some real motivational juices at creating under that premise, and I think that he will own up to the demands of being creative. He is still a pretty sharp developer at the present.
Time will tell if they will be given the opportunity...
(CC Boy is aCowboyspride.net contributor and author. If you would like to read more of CC...drop by and say hi.)