Cole Beasley had a career season in Dak Prescott’s first season at the helm of Dallas’ offense. Where has that connection gone?
During the Dallas Cowboys‘ 13-3 2016 regular season, slot receiver Cole Beasley proved to be an integral part of the lone star state’s offense. He finished that season with career-high numbers across the board– 75 receptions, 833 yards, and 5 touchdowns.
This year, however, Beasley has been virtually invisible on offense. Other than a circus catch against the New York Giants in Week One, Beasley hasn’t been much of a factor in Dallas’ passing attack.
Through the first four games of the season, Beasley has been targeted 20 times, and has caught 11 balls for 86 yards and no scores. Conversely, after four games last season, Beasley had 23 receptions on 29 targets and 279 yards receiving.
One reason behind Beasley’s diminishing output could be defenses making a concerted effort to take away the short passing game– something quarterback Dak Prescott excels out. In forcing Prescott out of his comfort zone, and make deeper throws, a lot of the short options that were available last season aren’t necessarily there.
Another factor is simply the running game not being nearly as effective this season compared to last. Through four games, Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for just 277 yards and two scores, and has averaged a meager 3.6 yards per carry.
Play-calling could also be a factor in Beasley’s diminishing offensive output, as the Cowboys offense is seemingly getting more predictable, and coaches are able to adjust as games go on, something that was evident in Sunday’s meltdown against the Rams.
Additionally, Prescott appears to be targeting Dez Bryant much more this season, perhaps to a fault. Much has been noted about the duo’s chemistry or, more accurately, lack of. It’s evident at times that Prescott may be forcing the issue a bit when it comes to getting his number one receiver the ball. This is not only taking away targets for Beasley, but it is somewhat disrupting the regular flow of the offense as a whole.
Hopefully, both Prescott and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan find ways to get Beasley more touches in the offensive flow. If it worked so well last year, there’s no reason to think it won’t yield similar results down the stretch of the 2017 season.