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Is Cole Beasley Looking At A Lesser Role In 2016?

I hate to keep bringing up the 2015 season, but it is the last reference point that we have to judge the production of the Dallas Cowboys and their players. In all honesty, I would like to wipe it from memory in hopes of forgetting all about the disastrous season last year, but since that’s not possible we just have to take comfort in the fact that a new season kicks off in the not so distant future. There has been one area of the Cowboys offense that has continued to haunt me ever since Dez Bryant went down with an injury early in the 2015 season against the division rival New York Giants. I knew then that the Cowboys wide receivers would struggle without Bryant in the lineup. There really isn’t another receiver on the roster that could step up and become that #1 WR, but there was one player that I thought might be able to take on a larger role.

Brian Martin

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

I hate to keep bringing up the 2015 season, but it is the last reference point that we have to judge the production of the Dallas Cowboys and their players.

In all honesty, I would like to wipe it from memory in hopes of forgetting all about the disastrous season last year, but since that's not possible we just have to take comfort in the fact that a new season kicks off in the not so distant future.

There has been one area of the Cowboys offense that has continued to haunt me ever since Dez Bryant went down with an injury early in the 2015 season against the division rival New York Giants.

I knew then that the Cowboys wide receivers would struggle without Bryant in the lineup. There really isn't another receiver on the roster that could step up and become that #1 WR, but there was one player that I thought might be able to take on a larger role.

A lot of people were hoping that Terrance Williams would hopefully step up and lessen the blow in Bryant''s absence, but the player I was expecting to see more from was Cole Beasley.

After nearly walking away from the game as a rookie, Beasley has really established himself as a player to look for in clutch situations.

I really thought that after Bryant went down with injury early in 2015, Beasley would be the player that quarterback Tony Romo would look to more often.

Of course, Romo himself ended up getting injured and forced the Cowboys into playing a number of backup QB's the rest of the season. That could possibly have had something to do with the production of the receivers.

Still, Beasley managed to have the best season of his career in 2015 and if you take a look at his statistics since his rookie year, you will notice he has improved each year.

Receptions Yards TD
2012 15 128 0
2013 39 368 2
2014 37 420 4
2015 52 536 5

Despite the fact that Beasley continues to be more involved in the offense each year, there is reason to believe he could be looking at a lesser role in 2016.

Let me try to explain why this may happen…

Reason #1-The return of Dez Bryant

Cowboys Headlines - Is Cole Beasley Looking At A Lesser Role In 2016? 1

(AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

I know what you're probably thinking. Why would the return of Bryant have any effect on Beasley's role?

Well, it's not just the return of Bryant, but also the emergence of Brice Butler.

I have a feeling that Butler will have a much larger role in the offense in 2016, which might actually help Bryant because they could play him more out of the slot to keep him away from the opposing defenses best cornerback.

If this is the case, then Terrance Williams and Brice Butler will more than likely be the two outside receivers with Bryant playing out of the slot, where Beasley has found a home for himself.

We all know that Bryant will be the number one target once he is back on the field, and I truly believe that Butler could possibly this year's breakout player. That leaves Beasley looking for targets wherever he can find them.

Reason #2- A dominant running game

Cowboys Headlines - Is Cole Beasley Looking At A Lesser Role In 2016? 2We all know that the Cowboys are going to return to the 2014 blueprint and place an emphasis on running the football.

They didn't invest the #4 overall draft pick on running back Ezekiel Elliott to put more emphasis on the passing game. They drafted him to become The Butcher and get all the meat off the bone.

If you've forgotten, Joseph Randle said last year that DeMarco Murray left a lot of the meat on the bone after the 2014 season, but Randle never even came close. Elliott however, will get every scrap of meat off the bone with the precision of a butcher, hence the nickname.

The Butcher, Ezekiel Elliott, will more than likely be the engine that powers the offense, so I'm thinking that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will probably want wide receivers on the field that can help block for Elliott down the field. That might lead Beasley watching from the sidelines a little more.

Due to Beasley size (5'8", 180), he is never going to be considered a physically imposing player and he might be one of the last wide receivers on the Cowboys roster that you would want blocking for your bell cow running back. I'm not saying he can't do it, but I do think that there are better options on the roster.

All in all, there is really no way of telling for sure if Cole Beasley's role in the offense will increase or decrease in 2016, but there are reasons to believe we could be seeing less of the diminutive wide receiver.

Where do you stand on Cole Beasley's role in 2016?

Feel free to use the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter @bmart0204 so we can discuss this topic further.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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7 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    The “emergence” of Brice Butler??? Because he is 6-3 and 215 and fast everybody automatically assumes he is going to be good. Lets not forget that he could not make it in Oakland when they were starving for receivers. And he had all of 12 catches last year and 8 of them came in the last two games. He was hamstring most of the season. Im on record saying there is more style than substance with Butler and folks should temper their expectations until he actually does something.

    • Mark Douglas

      Oakland actually has a deeper WR corp than Dallas. Butler could no longer crack the top 4 in Oakland yet he is widely considered a good candidate to unseat Williams as the #2.
      Don’t sleep on him.

    • Mark Douglas

      The most prominent factor that will likely lead to a drop in Beasley’s production is the emergence of Lucky Whitehead who can play the slot and now go outside due to his offseason work in the weight room which has packed on 15 lbs.
      Whitehead is much faster and reliable with the ball in his hands. ( no turnovers)

      • Brian Martin

        I don’t see Whitehead as an outside receiver. I think if he challenges anybody for a more involved role on offense it will be Lance Dunbar. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan started using Whitehead similar to the way he was using Dunbar towards the end of the 2015 season. I think we might see that continue if Dunbar can’t return fully healthy at the beginning of the season.

    • Brian Martin

      Butler had some encouraging moments in 2015, but wasn’t really able to fully display the type of receiver I think he can become because he battled with a reoccurring hamstring injury. I don’t disagree that we should probably temper our expectations, but I think given the opportunity he will provide a skill set that isn’t currently on the Cowboys roster at receiver.

  • http://PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

    One offsetting factor could be Jason Witten’s slow decline. Beasley seems a good candidate to get more of those short-range, underneath catches as Witten’s ability to get open wanes.

    • Brian Martin

      I think I can agree with that assessment. Witten has probably slowed down just a little, but he seems to make up for it with his veteran saviness. I think Beasley’s role will mostly depend on Butler’s contribution though.

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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.

One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.

Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.

This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.

Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.

Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.

Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.

It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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