Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crayton should have seen it coming

Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton is upset about not being directly, explicitly told that he had been surpassed on the depth chart by Miles Austin. Crayton struggled while Austin set a franchise record with 250 yards receiving in the Cowboys overtime win at Kansas City. As a result, Austin has been getting more reps with the first team and will be the one to start opposite of Roy Williams, if Williams is healthy.

As for Crayton, he was disappointed that the Cowboys coaches didn't give him the respect of a direct, face-to-face demotion as opposed to simply seeing Austin taking first team reps at practice. Sure, maybe it would be nice for players coach Wade Phillips to hold his hand, wipe away his tears, and give him a shoulder to cry on. And that would definitely be more of Phillips' M.O. to coddle his players than predecessor Bill Parcells.

But this isn't college football. Mike Gundy isn't here to yell at reporter to come after him instead of the players. It's professional football, and Crayton should realize that when a guy has a 10-catch, 250-yard, two touchdown performance, that player is going to get more reps and more time on the field than a guy who has 15 catches and 253 yards through five games.

In a perfect world, the coaches could have made it directly explicitly clear that Crayton was being demoted, but he should have seen it coming. What did he think was going to happen. This isn't a situation of a quarterback being replaced and the offense being overhauled. Back up quarterbacks don't see the field. Third receivers are all over the place contributing, and Crayton will still be able to do that.

He's always been one of the more outspoken Cowboys, something this team does need at times. However, Crayton needs to prove his worth on the field to earn back his starting job. If he plays well enough and Austin struggles, what's the problem with #2 receiver by committee. Then again, the Cowboys still need more from their #1 who still might not play against Atlanta on Sunday.

Crayton should have seen it coming. Then again, he should have held onto the ball on Kansas City too.

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