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Cowboys Offense Must Involve Cole Beasley

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cole Beasley

The Dallas Cowboys are struggling to get things going. On offense, on defense and on special teams, things are not going as planned. Not even close. After losing their second game of the season - this time against the Los Angeles Rams - the Cowboys have a lot to think about.

On offense, Dak Prescott and company looked alright during the first half. It was the second half when all started to fail.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott says he must improve his accuracy. QB was 9-of-21 for 97 yds w/ a TD and INT in second half.

After halftime, the Cowboys were out-coached, and they were outplayed. Dak missed some throws, and the offense as a whole failed to execute. The Cowboys scored only six points during the second half. The Rams scored 19.

After the first quarter of the 2017 season, the Dallas Cowboys are sitting at 2-2. It's only fair to say that, not even on those two wins, have the Cowboys had a dominant performance. They truly haven't.

I can't help but wonder about a specific player who was very important for this offense's success last year. A player we haven't seen that much this season.

Wide Receiver Cole Beasley.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Cole Beasley Looking At A Lesser Role In 2016?

In 2016, Cole Beasley led this team in receptions. He was one of the most important players for Dak Prescott's development as a rookie and he simply helped the team move the ball. When Dez Bryant was out with an injury, Beasley was the most important receiver of the team.

Let's take a look at Beasley's numbers through four weeks, compared to last season's stats.

  • 2016: 29 targets, 23 receptions, 279 yards.
  • 2017: 20 targets, 11 receptions, 86 yards.

Why hasn't Cole been as involved on this offense as he should be?

I think there are more than a couple of reasons for this. And I also think Scott Linehan should start thinking about how to get 11 more involved as soon as possible.

It's worth mentioning, that opposing defenses have been very cautious regarding the Cowboys' slot WR. He's faced double-teams, as well as triple-teams.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

3rd and 10. Look how ARZ covered Cole Beasley....

But that shouldn't be enough to limit Beasley, and that is probably not the reason he is not being used more by the Scott Linehan's offense.

Ever since the 2016 Cowboys season ended last January, we've been talking about how Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott would develop a chemistry that would take the QB-WR duo to another level.

But it just seems that chemistry isn't there. And at times, it even feels like Dallas is trying to force such thing. Maybe they should change things up a bit.

Last year, Beasley did have a connection going on with Dak Prescott. Why not go back to that? Even though he is being paid more attention by opposing defenses, this offense needs to find the way to make it work.

Scott Linehan should be working on ways to get one of the best slot wide receivers the ball and help this offense get going. He can be that difference maker.

Maybe even try to use him at the same time as Ryan Switzer. He might be a rookie, but with their similar skill sets, they can become a threat for other defenses. These types of receivers are not easy to cover, let alone two of them.

The Cowboys offense has had slow starts, and slow endings, as was the case yesterday. They need to find the way to be effective for 60 minutes.

Cole Beasley might be the answer. If he gets going, the whole offense will get going.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Offense Must Involve Cole Beasley" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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10 Comments
  • nick

    I agree because dak is at his best in the short to intermediate passing game. Why not work to his strengths and get beasley and switzer on the field together on 3rd and short, it only makes sense. They can’t double everyone especially if zeke is in the back field. If witten or t-will or even zeke have to come off the field sometimes on 3rd down then so be it, I’m not saying take them off all at once but change it up a little, switzer and beasley would be very hard to defend. We need to spread these defenses out and get our QB comfortable in critical situations.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I couldn’t agree more with you. And you said it perfectly, “it only makes sense.” Thanks for reading, Nick.

  • Paul McDavid

    The Cowboys need to come up with some plays that include Cole Beasley & Ryan Switzer on the field at the same time! The Cowboys never seem to use the weapons it has on the team, come on the only time Ryan Switzer is on the field is to run that dump jet sweep. Let’s go 4 to 5 WR’s and spread the Defense out and make them go man to man coverage! Believe me someone will get open between Dez, Terrance, Cole , Butler and Ryan! That is if the Offense line will get their heads out of their butts and start pass blocking! How about, leaving a RB in to help pass block, that is a idea! Come on Cowboys! coaches and players! you can do so much better, just execute! and please stop playing so predictable and conservative!!
    GO COWBOYS #1 FAN!!!! P.S. someone tell Zek to put down those 12oz curls, and pick up some real weights! Because he is a step slower than that season, and looks like he wasn’t ready for the season!

    • Derek Johnson

      You know why? They seem scared to take Witten out of certain packages..or any packages period…ive been saying this for years. Witten is not the threat he once was..and having him out there sometimes..makes the Cowboys offense typical and easier to defend..like u said…more Switzer and Beasely in the same packages!

  • dallas1966

    I think the Cowboys offense and defense will be re-tooled after bye week. I truly believe that the Cowboys coaching staff will figure it out, by going to what made Dak successful, last year.

    With the opposition defense playing nine in the box, by selling out to stop the Cowboys running game, expect the Cowboys to counter. When the opposition stop blitzing to force Dak, to beat them from the pocket, expect the Cowboys to counter.
    Scott Linehan is being paid big bucks by Jerry Jones to figure out what is causing the Cowboys offense to be inconsistent, and to fix it, ditto Rod Marinell on the defensive side of the ball.

    This means, that some starters will be put on notice, and changes to be made on personnel, both offense, defense and special teams.

    If those expectations aren’t met, then it will be another disappointed season, and another 21years of Cowboys kool aid with nothing to show, but hype built on the legacy of the teams of Staubach-Dorsett-Pearson, and Aikman-Smith-Irvin, but productive of the Meredith, White, Romo era of miss opportunities to bringing home the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

    How many more years of suffering in the wilderness, which began January 1997, with the loss to the Carolina Panthers, in the playoffs?

  • William Pep Hatcher

    Beasley is not a great WR. He’s not big or fast and we don’t run illegal pick plays enough for him to get open like Welker and Kup. We need a TE and two more dynamic WR’s for this offense to shine. Defenses are way ahead of us talent wise. Cordell Patterson would have been perfect for us and Our dynamic TE is on IR. Next draft WR first rd, DT second rd and LB third.

  • eric jensen

    They should with Beasly & Witten, but go 6-11yrds, this 2-4 yrs doesn’t cut it!! Make their cb&safety go 15-20 yrds,to open up middle of field! LB can’t keep Witten & Beasley! It open up run ,QB runs !! Either fire God damn off coordinator! Give or change ur system, be more creative with off!!

  • Tristan Hays

    I’m a huge Cowboys fan and I’ve always been honest when it comes to the team. The Cowboys are just not very good this year with every aspect of the team. It’s like a completely different team than last year. It’s going to take a few years to be where they need to be.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1419498197/ Darryl Jones

    I think that Dez is demanding more balls thrown to him, this disrupting the offense

  • David Taylor

    I call this the “Diaper Baby Dez” effect. Dez is under the misconception that he has to be thrown the ball a bunch of times per game, even it doesn’t help the team. Time to roll out the script that worked so well….yes and Dez was out injured. I don’t believe that it is an coincidence

Star Blog

Linebacker Group Key to Cowboys’ Defensive Success in 2018

John Williams

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Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?

In 2017, it was evident just how much the Dallas Cowboys were hurt by their lack of linebacker depth. When Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens were injured, especially Lee, the defense struggled. Look to the games against the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams and it's easy to see just how ineffective the defense was without their top two linebackers.

With more and more teams employing RPO and read-option concepts, more is expected of linebackers as they read the quarterback.

With teams like the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans all on the 2018 schedule, the Dallas Cowboys' linebacker corp is going to have their hands full each and every week defending quarterbacks who are really good at utilizing these concepts.

While the edge defenders are instrumental in containing the run concepts in the read-option and RPO, the linebackers are the next line of defense against the run and their discipline in the run-pass action is monumental to defending the passing concept of the RPO.

Jeff Ratcliffe from Pro Football Focus broke down who the best and worst teams using RPOs were in 2017 by quarterback yards per attempt and quarterback yards per carry.

The Philadelphia Eagles ran the most RPOs and, as Ratcliffe described in his article, "For Doug Pederson, no run concept could not have an RPO attached to it."

The Kansas City Chiefs were second in the NFL in the amount of RPOs utilized with quarterback Alex Smith, now with the Washington Redskins, under center. Speaking of the Redskins, with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, they accrued the highest yards per attempt of any team in the NFL when throwing out of an RPO.

So, if you do the math, you can bet that the Washington Redskins will utilize a lot of RPO and read-option concepts in their offensive game plan.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, the Cowboys' week one opponent, ran RPOs the fourth most of any team in the NFL and had 5.5 yards per carry when Cam Newton kept the ball himself. Cam is one of the best running quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Newton is the only quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to rush for double-digit rushing touchdowns twice in his career. Before he did it in 2011, no quarterback had accomplished the feat since Daunte Culpepper in 2002. The Dallas Cowboys and their front seven will have their hands full containing Newton in week one.

Also according to PFF's Ratcliffe, the New York Giants were the fifth best team in 2017 when the quarterback decided to keep the ball and run as they averaged 5.5 yards per carry out of RPOs. That has to be the most shocking element of his post. When you think of Eli Manning, you don't think of a running quarterback.

That just shows you how effective the RPO and read-option can be in the NFL.

With the speed of the game light years faster than it was 20 or 30 years ago, teams are having to use more and more misdirection to gain an edge in the run and pass game.

Another team on the Dallas Cowboys schedule was very effective throwing out of RPOs: the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the AFC Championship Game, they made a lot of headway against the New England Patriots using this concept.

Mike Renner on Twitter

Will be interesting to see how the Pats gameplan for the Eagles RPOs. Jaguars shredded them with same RPO 4 times in first half last week https://t.co/gYJWIPYIjj

In 2017, the Jaguars averaged 8.2 yards per attempt, the fifth best number in the NFL, just 0.3 yards per attempt behind the Philadelphia Eagles, who were fourth in the league when throwing out of RPOs.

This note from Jeff, I found particularly interesting:

"When the quarterback did pull, league-wide last year, the average yards per attempt was 6.52 and there was a 78.8 completion percentage. Once again, easy money."

Jeff Ratcliffe - Pro Football Focus

Most of the NFL is beginning to employ more and more RPO and read-option concepts into their offensive game plans, making the defense's job a lot more challenging. Especially at the linebacker level.

No longer can the linebacker just simply read run or pass based on the way the quarterback drops or turns to hand off, but they have to determine:

  • Is the quarterback giving the ball to the runner?
  • If the quarterback kept it, is he looking to run?
  • If he's going to pass, where's the ball going?

All of that has to be decided within one to two seconds of the play. A linebacker is taught to read and react to the play as quickly as possible, which can create a significant advantage for the offense if the linebacker reads wrong.

The whole point of the read-option and the RPO is to create a lose-lose situation for the defense.

No matter what they do, it's a wrong choice.

If they read pass and drop into coverage, the ball carrier gets an advantage as he begins to go downhill. If the linebacker reads run and begins to attack the line of scrimmage, the QB pulls it and throws it to the spot vacated by the linebacker.

Having linebackers with elite athleticism, range, and coverage ability, like the Dallas Cowboys do in Sean Lee and potentially Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, will help them minimize the damage potential as they face increasing RPO usage.

Even if we talk about standard run and pass play calls, the defense was a much better unit when Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens were in the game. Points per game, rushing yards per game, and passing yards per game were all lower when those two were available. When the team had to rely on Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson as their top two linebackers, they were lit up like a pinball machine.

The Cowboys hope Jaylon Smith can return to the All-American type of player he was with Notre Dame, but if he doesn't, Vander Esch is a good insurance policy for 2019.

The Boise State product is good in the run game, but he excels in the passing game when he drops into coverage.

Having three linebackers that can play the run and pass like these three potentially can will be a huge key to the Dallas Cowboys success on defense in 2018. They will make life a lot easier for the rest of the defense if they are able to maintain play discipline against the read-option and the run-pass option.

Having these three linebackers and their dual-threat ability in the run and pass game will help the Dallas Cowboys be in far less lose-lose situations than they might otherwise be. And for the Dallas Cowboys to achieve the goals the hope to achieve, namely a sixth Lombardi Trophy, these three will be the key to that success.



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Star Blog

Can TE Rico Gathers be More Than a Just Receiving Threat?

Brian Martin

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Rico Gathers, Rams

Rico Gathers is trying to follow in the footsteps of Tony Gonzales, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham as someone who has successfully made the transition from college basketball player to tight end in the NFL. Unfortunately, that transition hasn't gone quite as smoothly as he probably would've hoped.

To date, Gathers really hasn't been able to put a lot on tape. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad with the Dallas Cowboys, but did gain some valuable experience working with Tony Romo. Last year he was just beginning to show what kind of threat he could be in the passing game when he unfortunately sustained a concussion in practice, pretty much ending his season.

As you can imagine, Rico Gathers still has a lot to prove heading into the 2018 season. In no way is his roster spot guaranteed right now. He may still be the most talented and physically gifted TE on the Cowboys roster, but that will only get him so far.

I for one think Gathers can be a tremendous threat in the passing game. I think the flashes we saw in preseason a year ago are exactly the kind of weapon he can turn into for Dak Prescott. He is even working a route running guru, David Robinson, to become even better in the passing game. But, we all know the Cowboys coaching staff demands a lot more from their tight ends.

Rico Gathers, Dalton Schultz

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

In the Cowboys offensive scheme, the tight end is an important position. They have to be able to block in several different areas depending on the formation, especially at the point of attack as an in-line blocker, sometimes being left one on one against a defensive end. That means they have to be assignment sound pre and post snap, with the ability to make the right adjustments in a split second.

For Rico Gathers, this is the area of his game holding him back the most right now. We all know what kind of threat he can be in the passing game, but the Cowboys coaching staff wants someone they can trust to leave on the field down after down. This is where Gathers will have to prove himself the remainder of the offseason.

The Dallas Cowboys knew Rico Gathers was a developmental prospect when they drafted him in the sixth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. They didn't know how long it would take for him to be be able to contribute, but that time may be running out. Year 3 could be his last chance to prove himself in Dallas.

Gathers is a mismatch player in the passing game against smaller defensive backs, but that might not be enough for the Cowboys coaching staff to keep him around. I would personally get him involved in the receiving game, especially with all the new faces Prescott will be throwing to this season, but unfortunately I'm not making those decisions.

Do you think Rico Gathers is more than just a passing game threat?



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Star Blog

Tony Romo Documentary in the Works

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Blog - 5 Most Heartbreaking Losses Of The Tony Romo Era

If you've missed seeing Tony Romo on the field, an upcoming documentary may be the cure. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is reportedly the subject of a film chronicling his football career going all the way back to high school.

"Now or Never" will tell Romo's incredible story, going from undrafted to one of the top passers in the history of the Cowboys' storied franchise. It's being produced by a Texas-based company run by Christian Hanna (no known relation to James).

According to an article from MyRacineCounty.com, Romo's hometown newspaper, the tale of Tony's football career will be told going back to his days at Burlington High School in Wisconsin. It will follow him to Eastern Illinois University, the same QB hotbed that more recently produced Jimmy Garoppolo.

But what most of us will want to relive is Tony's amazing NFL career, which stands out among the most unexpected rises to stardom of any player in league history.

Romo, who was an undrafted free agent signed by the Cowboys in 2003, didn't play in a game for three seasons. He rose the QB depth chart through practice and preseason play, eventually becoming the backup and earning the respect of then-coach Bill Parcells.

 - Tony Romo, #9

Former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo

In Week 7 of 2006, Parcells pulled struggling starter Drew Bledsoe at halftime and went with his intriguing young prospect. Tony's first pass in the NFL was one to forget; an interception.

About a decade later, Romo would retire as the Cowboys' all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. He currently ranks fourth all-time in NFL history for passer rating.

Tony's career never saw the playoff and Super Bowl success of predecessors Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, but he remains a beloved figure in team history. The controversial end to his football career, losing his job to rookie phenom Dak Prescott in 2016, created a major rift among Cowboys fans.

While no longer playing, Romo remains one of the hottest names in football. His charisma and football acumen have him in a featured role with CBS Broadcasting.

From obscurity to "anointing oil" to one of the most discussed names in sports, Tony Romo's story is fascinating. This documentary crew picked a great subject, and we look forward to enjoying their work and revisiting the Romo Era once the film is released.



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