IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Wide receiver Patrick Crayton #84 of the Dallas Cowboys walks to the field before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Texas Stadium on November 23, 2008 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With the possibility of a statement game rapidly approaching in the form of the Atlanta Falcons, everyone in Dallas and their mother know that Miles Austin will get the start on Sunday. Austin knows it. The coaches know it. The drunkard at any number of area sports bars knows it. Even, apparently, does Patrick Crayton himself, the man who is being demoted.
Crayton is unhappy; not because of the demotion in and of itself, but rather, the way the demotion is being handled--namely, with tireless circumlocution, and all the nerve of Scooby Doo.
"As you know, we haven't made a declaration, starter or non-starter here, we haven't done that," said owner Jerry Jones at a press conference Wednesday. "We have said that Austin will get the kind of playing time he got last week. Our staff just isn't comfortable with [declaring a starter] and consequently, I'm not. There's no need to...We just don't have to, so I'm going along with that."
Hm. The four-year-old Nuremberg defense. We won't declare a starter because we don't have to--which is true. The team doesn't have to be honorable in their machinations, nor do they have to give a player the basic respect of explaining their decisions. It would just go a long way if they did, particularly in this case, which represents one of the worst kept secrets in the league.
It's as easy as "We've decided to shift the lineup;" and/ or "We're planning on using the three-receiver set more often."
Crayton's demotion is wholly understandable (even a good coaching move), given his performance in Kansas City
as opposed to that of Austin, who broke Dallas's franchise record for receiving yards in a game with 250; however, given Dallas's treatment of the situation since, his disillusionment is equally understandable.
"[Wade Phillips] said it to you guys without saying it. If he tells you you're going to play as many plays as you played the week before, that means you're starting," Crayton said in the DMN Cowboys Blog
, referring to Phillips' assertion that Austin would see as many plays in Atlanta as he did in Kansas City, in his first career start.
"I would have loved it," he continued. "It would have been real stand-up. That's not what happened...Nothing was explained to me. I had the dropped pass and I had the muffed punt. Maybe that was it... This thing is not about fair. That's what you come to realize. Life is not fair.
"You've just got to roll with the punches."