Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley is turning a few heads early in his third training camp. Fellow wide receiver Dez Bryant calls him a “rare talent” in Nick Eatman’s Thursday post over at the team’s official web site. After watching a week of practice, Eatman concludes:
“The Cowboys will most certainly find ways to get Beasley involved. He wins the majority of his 1-on-1 battles no matter where he lines up… He’s won over the confidence of Bryant, who says there isn’t anyone on this team that compares to him.”
That’s not exactly true, according to the team site:
|Beasley, Cole||5'8"||180||25||3 years||Southern Methodist|
|Dunbar, Lance||5'8"||188||24||3 years||North Texas|
Beasley and running back Lance Dunbar are both offensive skill position players from small Texas colleges. Both were undrafted free agents in the rookie class of 2012. Both beat incredible odds to even make an NFL roster, much less stick around for a third year in the league. Both have flashed electric play-making skills. Both are projected as key offensive contributors for the upcoming 2014 campaign. And both are a ridiculous 5’8” tall.
We can attribute the matchup problems posed by Beasley and Dunbar to something much more tangible than intangibles, and much more scientifically elegant than athletic skill: Newtonian Physics.
Sir Isaac Newton’s second law of motion asserts in part that the acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass. Translation: Small mass, quick acceleration. Beasley appears to be lightning quick at accelerating through his routes and decelerating through his breaks because he has far less mass than most anyone trying to cover him. Perhaps this is why head coach Jason Garrett recently termed Beasley’s change of direction as “unique.” NFL-caliber athletes of Beasley’s diminutive stature are hard to find.
At 180 pounds (according to the team site – sure), Newton’s second law of motion suggests it’s scientifically impossible for a 240-pound linebacker to cover Beasley. When the Cowboys run their 11 personnel, featuring one back, one tight end, and three receivers, and the opposing defense is silly enough to stay in their base defense and drop a linebacker over the slot, that 30 percent difference in body mass means Beasley will be open every time.
And if the defense chooses to go “small” and run a nickel package, he can give the cornerbacks just as many fits.
“He’s like that little fly that you can’t catch in a box,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said of Beasley. “He catches the ball really well. He changes directions really well and he’s really smart. He knows how to set up leverages. Cole’s got a really bright future.”
Perhaps this is why the Cowboys had so much success running the ball out of the 11 personnel package in 2013 – the opposing defense went “small” so the big O Line mauled them.
Because if they stuck with their base defense, Beasley would burn them.
Now in his third year, having acclimated himself to the life of an NFL player and gained a deeper understanding of his role in the offense, Beasley may force opposing defenses to pick their poison: Trot out the nickel and get run over by three first-rounder big bodies and a Pro Bowl back, or stay with the base and get torched by a 5’8” undrafted free agent lesson in physics.
As Ron Burgandy once said to Veronica Corningstone, “It’s science.”