Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Humble Austin doesn't believe he has 'made it' yet

By Eric Edholm
Tired of diva receivers? Want a breath of fresh air?

Chat up Cowboys WR Miles Austin, as I did for about 15 minutes yesterday right before he was about to "mess around," he said, on his DJ turntables at his house.

Austin, who made a collosal jump from his past three seasons to this one, in which he made the Sports Illustrated cover and earned a Pro Bowl invitation recently, remains quiet about his success and not willing to spout off about his own accomplishments.

"I never feel like I have arrived or anything like that," he said. "I don’t think I will ever feel like that. It’s just not a feeling I have. I am trying to do my best and — don’t get me wrong, I feel like I am good … I think. But that being said, I would never overly hype myself up. I am not thinking about that type of stuff. I am just trying to work hard."

He said the newfound fame around football-crazy Dallas hasn't been too big an adjustment.

"You have to roll with it," Austin said. "It’s cool. It’s nothing I can’t handle. I am still doing the same, basic things I have been doing. Now if I go out, more people will ask for my autograph or something. Or ask for a picture or something. Other than that, I am doing the same things."

That would be off the field, of course. On it, he has been doing things we never knew he was capable of. Sure, he gave us brief flashes before. But never like his breakout game, the 250-yard, two-TD game to almost singlehandedly beat the Chiefs.

But for me personally, I really felt like the game he broke out was on Thanksgiving against the Raiders. It was a short week, the Cowboys were facing a fast secondary, and Austin drew Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Now for those who have been caught up in all the Charles Woodson and Darrelle Revis hooplah (and don't get me wrong, it's pretty well deserved), it is Asomugha whom many general managers and coaches would pick of the three of them to build around. He's about as good as they come in the NFL.

On the Cowboys' first series, Austin was split to QB Tony Romo's left and he made a sharp in cut, beating Asomugha's press coverage off the line. The ball was there and Austin caught it perfectly in stride, running downfield for a 49-yard gain against maybe the best corner in the game. For perspective, Asomugha allowed fewer than 300 receiving yards against him and 120 yards after the catch for the whole season. Austin's 49-yard catch-and-run was the longest play he allowed all season.

When I asked Austin about it, saying I thought the route was "textbook," he remembered the play vividly and critiqued it candidly.

"It was an in-route," he said. "I thought it was a pretty nice route. I could have come out a little flatter out of it. I am not a perfectionist, but you can always do things better I always think."

Ladies and gentlemen, the anti-diva receiver! They do exist!

As for this weekend's game against a troubled Vikings secondary, Austin was diplomatic and deferential about the matchup.

"They’re aggressive. They move to the ball quickly. They are aggressive, fast corners that we need to worry about getting off press (coverage against). We have to definitely watch then in the run game, too, because they’ll come up and make plays. Obviously, their D-line, we know about their big guys. Their whole team, linebackers and everybody, they have a complete team — offensively, defensively and on special teams."

And for those of you who might be wondering about head coach Wade Phillips and whether he's any different this week following the biggest win of his career, Austin said, in essence, cha' right.

"No, not at all. I think Coach is always … he’s the same coach to me. He tells you how it is. He cares about all the players. He cares about all the coaches. He really has a respect for everybody in the whole organization."

Although Austin might be spreading the love for his teammates, I get the feeling he will see a lot of passes thrown his way on Sunday. Not from anything Austin said but just from my own guess of what might go down. And while you might see the excitable Austin celebrate a big catch or touchdown, expect him to give praise elsewhere after the game.