Connect with us

Player News

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

Published

on

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Advertisement
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.

Player News

WR Brice Butler Ruled Out for Raiders Game, Won’t Face Former Team

Sean Martin

Published

on

Linehan: "Butler Has Had a Good Camp", But Will He Stay?

Still dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of last week’s win at the Giants, Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler will be out for his second straight game as he will miss the Cowboys’ prime time match up against his former Raiders squad.

Expected by some to have a breakout season in his third with the Cowboys, Butler has caught just 13 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns on this 2017 season – his last under contract with the team.

SportsDay Cowboys on Twitter

Just in: WR Brice Butler has been downgraded from questionable to out vs. Raiders. He will not be traveling with the team to Oakland.

Butler’s absence in Oakland will take one more offensive threat away from the Cowboys in their final game of this season without RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Rookie WR Noah Brown, who has already exceeded expectations as a seventh round pick, should expect to see more snaps with Brice Butler out tomorrow night.

Tell us what you think about “WR Brice Butler Ruled Out for Raiders Game, Won’t Face Former Team” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Player News

WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players’ Tribune

Sean Martin

Published

on

WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players' Tribune

“Gold Jack Witt” carries a presence with him around the Dallas Cowboys, a 14 year veteran that has been a model of consistency on the field and a role model for so many off of it. Jason Witten spoke with the media and fans to the Players’ Tribune recently, discussing everything from his early career to plans for life after America’s Team.

The Players’ Tribune on Twitter

Vet tight end @JasonWitten joins @Citibank to reflect on his career with the @DallasCowboys as he prepares for the next stage of his life. For now, it’s all about pursuing the Lombardi Trophy. https://t.co/OKQk3KWT55

“It seemed like you had the USA, America, and then Texas” – Jason Witten on being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys back in 2003.

The 2012 winner of the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award (which Cowboys C Travis Frederick is nominated for this season), Witten also discussed his ‘Jason Witten Collegiate Man Of The Year Award‘ – an honor that will be given out at the college level for the first time at the end of this season.

This Witten award will be granted to a player, “who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field”.

Also from Jason Witten’s own website, we learn that, “the award honors the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten”.

As you hear at the end of the video, Witten’s current focus remains clear-cut. Bringing an elusive sixth championship to Dallas is still a goal he is chasing strong, as the Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives following a 13-3 season a year ago.

If in need of a lesson on how to handle adversity and always look forward, the Cowboys won’t have to look much further than their tight end #82 though.

Tell us what you think about “WATCH: Jason Witten Talks Career With Cowboys At Players’ Tribune” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Player News

Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sean's Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat

The Cowboys have just one more game to get through without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Alfred Morris and Rod Smith deserve a ton of credit for the way they’ve been able to fill in out of the backfield for Zeke Elliott. Throughout the time Elliott has missed though, the Cowboys have lacked the explosive plays on offense that he can provide – until Rod Smith was given an opportunity last week at the Giants.

Smith complimented Morris exceptionally well, running with quickness and power to prove his case for more of a role on offense behind Elliott moving forward. It was the Ohio State product’s consecutive touchdowns of 81 yards through the air and 15 yards on the ground that sealed the game for the Cowboys in week 14.

Here is a closer look at Rod Smith’s performance from last week in this latest Sean’s Scout.

Smith3 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

The Cowboys offensive line was dominant as always against a tough New York defensive front, and this first play is a great look at their execution in space and on the move. Rod Smith’s decisiveness when hitting the hole with speed and balance was the first thing I noticed on the game tape.

The best thing Smith does on this play comes at the second level, where running backs can truly make a difference in Dallas. As RG Zack Martin rides his man out of the play entirely, he gets in front of Smith who is seeing the play develop straight ahead. With his long strides, Smith is able to smoothly get through traffic and continue accelerating up field through arm tackles for a big gain.

Smith2 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

These same traits are seen with Rod Smith as a pass catcher – something he does effortlessly to also help fill the void left by Elliott. Watch how quickly Smith commits to his angle up the field after catching this dump pass from Dak Prescott, attacking a defender that has the angle on him after the catch.

Rod subtly leans to the right just enough to make the defender hesitate long enough to allow his burst to evade him and gain extra yards falling forward.

Smith4 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

Smith essentially does the same thing without the ball in his hands here, on his 81 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Setting up the safety out of the slot to be beat across his face, Smith separates from him at the stem and then does a great job getting depth on his route into the vacated middle of the field. With blockers to help him reach the end zone, Smith turns this busted coverage by the Giants into the game’s biggest play.

Smith1 – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

 

This last play I chose to show is probably the least well-blocked attempt for Smith out of the ones in this Sean’s Scout, but there is still a lot to like about what Rod does here with the ball in his hands.

The Giants might be a two-win football team, but they still have marquee players up front, particularly DE Olivier Vernon. Smith does well here to keep his feet moving as he cuts this play to the backside. Vernon does well to limit the potential gain on this play by staying away from the block of Jason Witten, as Smith is taken down by Darian Thompson.

The numbers the Giants had to commit to stopping the run was still a huge reason why Prescott had a career day throwing the football, and Rod Smith’s readiness to step in at RB was a deciding factor in getting Dallas to 7-6.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Proving to be one of the Dallas Cowboys most valuable players, considering his cost (under contract through 2018), and ability to contribute on special teams and offense, Rod Smith is the perfect RB3 for this team.

Smith is not elite in any one area, and is not a prototypical RB from a physical standpoint, but his contributions as a runner, pass catcher, and blocker could remain critical to the Cowboys’ hopes of reaching the playoffs behind this offense – even when Ezekiel Elliott is back in the fold.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: RB Rod Smith Proving Valuable Offensive Threat” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Advertisement
Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending