Dallas Cowboys: Can Cole Beasley regain his old form this season?

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Cole Beasley /

After an extremely disappointing 2017 campaign, can Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Cole Beasley regain his old form this season?

When a football team underachieves, there is plenty of blame that can be thrown around. The 2017 Dallas Cowboys underachieved, going 9-7 and falling short of the lofty expectations set for the team at the beginning of the season.

While no one player is to blame, many did have disappointing 2017 campaigns, and wide receiver Cole Beasley was right near the top of the list. After signing on as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Beasley has maned the role of Dallas’s primary slot receiver for five years now.

In 2016 Beasley was arguably the Cowboys most productive wide receiver. He led the team in receiving yards with 833, in addition to the 75 catches, five touchdowns, and an average of 11.1 yards per catch.

Things were all set up for the SMU product to continue his upward trend in 2017, and possibly emerge as one of the top slot receivers in the NFL. As we now know, things did not go as planned.

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Beasley caught only 36 balls in 2017, for 314 yards, and four touchdowns. His 314 yard total was more than 500 yards less than his receiving yards in 2016. He was outgained in yards by Brice Butler, who received 40 fewer targets than Beasley, at 63 to 23 respectively.

A lot can be made of the struggles that the Dallas wideout went through in 2017, and one big cause for the drop of production could be the coverages Beasley was seeing. With Dallas lacking a true deep threat with the declining skills of Dez Bryant, teams were able to double Beasley inside, and hardly ever show him one on one coverage.

When running back Ezekiel Elliott went out, this gave teams even more of an opportunity to double Beasley and circle him as the one guy who would not beat their defense.

Only standing at 5-8, Beasley is unable to play the X or Z receiver positions on the outside, and when he is constantly getting doubled in the slot, it is hard to find ways to get him the football.

Another answer for the poor season from Beasley could be quarterback play. Dak Prescott and Cole Beasley were never really able to get on the same page in 2017, and it showed in the stats. Prescott only completed 36 of his 63 targets to Beasley for a 57.1% completion percentage, and the two were only able to gain five yards per pass attempt.

These numbers are far down from the 2016 totals when Prescott and Beasley connected on 73 of 96 targets for a 76% completion percentage and averaged 8.2 yards per pass attempt. Dak also did not throw one interception when targeting Beasley in 2016, to three interceptions while targeting him in 2017.

The numbers don’t like, 2017 was an extremely disappointing season for Beasley, but the bigger question is will the additions Dallas made on offense help him bounce back in 2018?

First, one big help will be barring injury having a healthy Elliott for 16 games. That will help the entire offense tremendously not just Beasley. Although having Zeke back will for sure help the true test of if Cole will be able to bounce back may come from the production of his other counterparts on the offense.

If Allen Hurns or Michael Gallup can turn into a dynamic threat on the outside that makes defense’s respect the deep ball and not play them in one on one coverage, this will open up tons of opportunities in the middle of the field for Beasley. If Cole can get one on one coverage, he is extremely hard to stop.

Another factor that could turn things around is if he and Dak Prescott get on the same page. When they were on in 2016, they were hard to beat. If they can regain that form and get in sync and clicking again, look out for this quarterback and receiver duo.

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All in all, Cole Beasley’s 2018 season production may be more about how the pieces around him perform than what he does. If Dak Prescott is playing the way he is capable of, and one of the young wideouts on the outside has a breakout season, look for number 11 to be back to the old Beasley we knew and loved in 2016.