After making a name for himself with the Dallas Cowboys, Cole Beasley has found a new home with the Buffalo Bills. Beasley was once a feel-good story for the Cowboys, going undrafted in 2012 before he made a name for himself. With a new address, however, Beasley is not holding back criticism of the only team he has played for up until this point.
Speaking with The Athletic, Beasley believes that he was undervalued and underappreciated in Dallas, and he highlighted some of the biggest reasons he felt that way.
The Jerry Jones show
Like fellow sports owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones has a reputation for wanting to be a part of his team’s on-field narrative. His name is practically as synonymous with the Cowboys brand as any player, and he even keeps himself on as the team’s general manager despite years-long calls for him to give it to somebody more qualified.
That wore on Beasley, who implied that the Cowboys operated more like a brand than a football team:
“I’m just glad to be here where it’s 100 percent about ball and not a show or a brand. It’s purer here. I’m proud to be part of something like that.”
Beasley believes that if football is not the number one focus of a team, everything else will crumble.
Beasley also called out the Cowboys for not realizing his strengths and utilizing them for the betterment of the team:
“They didn’t value the slot position like they do [in Buffalo]. That’s a big reason why I left. I want to be utilized to my strengths and have more opportunities to play football.”
After all that he had been through getting into the NFL as an undrafted player, the last thing he wanted to do was be stifled by mismanagement.
Beasley never started more than six games in a season in Dallas, but he provided consistent production when he played. He wants to be more than a system slot receiver, and he believes that he has the talent to do so even entering his 30s.
Beasley had 672 receiving yards and three touchdowns last year, and 833 yards and five TDs in 2016, so with more opportunity there is a good chance he could be more productive.
“I was in the same spot all the time.”
Part of Beasley’s problem with his role with the Cowboys was that he believed that the schemes were too predictable, a common criticism of the Jason Garrett era. With a predictable offense, it is difficult for an offense to succeed, as the defense will constantly be one step ahead of them during the onset of every play:
“I felt like it was easy for me to be taken away. Really, in that offense, all you had to do was bracket me because I went beyond five yards rarely,” Beasley said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And when I did, it was from the same formation; I was in the same spot all the time.”
With a revamped Buffalo offense and a fresh start, Beasley is hoping that his toolset can be used as more than just a repetitive piece of a predictable offense, but a slot receiver who can stifle those who are on the field to stop him.
Ezekiel Elliott next?
Budding Dallas Cowboys superstar Ezekiel Elliott has quickly risen to be one of the greatest young talents in the league and a focal point of the Cowboys’ offense. He has more than 4,000 yards, including over 100 per game, en-route to 34 touchdowns for his career. Despite this dominance, the Cowboys have hinted that Elliot could have a smaller workload this year.
While the results of this are yet to be seen, it will be a fascinating thing to look at that could lend merit to Beasley’s words if it backfires. Going against the young talent in any way could only make the offense more predictable.
What’s next for Beasley?
Beasley is likely entering his final long-term contract at his age, but he’s in a great situation. With a Bills team that is looking to use him for his strengths, he could have a production uptick that stretches over the life of his new deal. After his candid thoughts, it is up to Beasley to prove himself correct.