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Miles Austin's explosiveness is back, 'Boys coach says

The name stays the same, but the game changes.

Skills deteriorate with age; injuries hamper a player's speed, cutting ability and range of motion. NFL players battle a constant ebb and flow throughout their careers.

For Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, hamstring injuries have led to more ebbs than flows the past few years.

We've noticed in preseason action, though, that Austin finally is moving better than he has since his breakout 2009 season. Coach Jason Garrett agrees.

"We were all very proud of how Miles played last year because he wasn't himself," Garrett said, via ESPNDallas.com. "He had a very productive year for us playing opposite Dez (Bryant) and opposite (Jason Witten) in our passing game, and did a lot of good things for us, but he seems like he's back to what we've seen in the past. He has quickness. He has explosiveness."

That renewed explosiveness should help Austin reverse a trend that has seen his yards-after-catch averages drop in four successive seasons. Perhaps a more telling statistic comes via Pro Football Focus: Tony Romo's 2012 passer rating on throws to Austin was 87.0 versus a gaudy 123.2 figure on throws in Bryant's direction.

No NFL player was more impressive than Bryant in August. If he and Witten continue to draw extra defensive attention, both Romo and Austin are set up for their best seasons since 2009.

And if the tattered offensive line holds together, Romo's attack could be among the league's highest-scoring in 2013.

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