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.
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
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
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.