Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys' Scott Linehan calls 'web-back' Tavon Austin a 'receiver first'

Michael Gallup not superstitious about No. 13

Dallas Cowboys third round pick Michael Gallup is not superstitious about the number 13 at rookie minicamp Friday at the Star in Frisco.
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Dallas Cowboys third round pick Michael Gallup is not superstitious about the number 13 at rookie minicamp Friday at the Star in Frisco.

Tavon Austin has been described as a "web back" for the Dallas Cowboys. But offensive coordinator Scott Linehan spoke more about how he envisions utilizing Austin in the offense next season.

"We can use him for a lot of things. He’s a receiver first," Linehan said from the Cowboys’ rookie minicamp on Saturday.

"He’s really, in a lot of ways, some of his skill set is as an outside receiver, which is really unique. But he can move around [to the] slot. He can certainly have carries as well as catches from those positions.

"He can move into the backfield at times. He’s done that his whole career. He can move into the backfield and hopefully get a matchup where he can run a route that’s typically run by a running back."

The Cowboys acquired Austin for a sixth-round pick in the draft. He never lived up to being the eighth overall pick in 2013, but had his moments.

Austin had five receiving and four rushing touchdowns in 2015. But he’s battled injuries in recent years, including a fractured wrist and a hamstring injury in 2017.

But Austin is healthy and ready to go, and the Cowboys view him as an important offensive weapon going into next season.

"The goal as you play him is to have him in there for meaningful plays and he could be the No. 1 target or he might be the guy that all eyes are on that you’re really doing something else," Linehan said. "It’s going to be fun to see that. He’s been doing some really good things while he’s been in the league. We had a vision for him coming out in the draft, I remember years ago in Detroit. It’s going to be exciting having him on our team."

Austin is just one of several additions to a Cowboys offense that has been centered on becoming more "Dak-friendly" throughout the offseason. In other words, designing plays and bringing in personnel that fit what quarterback Dak Prescott does better.

Along with Austin, the Cowboys have focused on adding receivers known for their route running abilities such as Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup.

"When you play well and you execute and do the things that you’re supposed to do, that's a quarterback friendly offense, right?" Linehan said. "So I think it’s a fun narrative term or whatever, but I think 'Dak-friendly,' 'Cooper [Rush]-friendly,' 'Mike White-friendly,' all quarterbacks is an offense that executes and does its job when we call upon them."

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