As a life long Dallas Cowboys fan I have had the opportunity to interact with many other fans. On the front lines as a sports writer/analyst via email from my readers and behind the scenes in the forums and blogs on DallasCowboys.com where I get numerous private messages from other fans. Of late, the most common question I get asked is: why doesn’t Jason Garrett play Cole Beasley? Good question.
The Dallas Cowboys acquired Cole Beasley as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Methodist University. He was a two star recruit coming out of high school as a QB. He turned down an offer from the Air Force to attend there. Upon his arrival at SMU, based on his small stature, (much like former Cowboys great Drew Pearson) they decided to convert him to the wide receiver position.
This was a wise decision, because as a quarterback he was trained to read protections. This is a huge advantage for a wide receiver because knowing how a quarterback thinks and how to find soft spots in the defense is more than half the battle. Beasleys’ athletic ability and mobility really impressed me when I watched the video of him playing quarterback. What impressed me even more was his escape ability. Beasley was a running quarterback. His senior year he Rushed for 1,184 yards and 12 TDs on 157 carries (when was the last time the Cowboys had a 1,000 yard rusher of any kind?) and passed for 1,570 yards and 12 scores. What impressed me the most is just how hard he is to tackle for a smaller player. I included a video below.
As you can see in the above video, this is one very athletic player. Too many times, scouts, general managers and coaches alike focus too much on just athletic ability. Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant have the prototypical size, speed and athletic ability. These are things that a coach feels he can build on, but they are lacking a few things that can’t be taught. The first being football IQ, the second being instincts and the 3rd being heart. These are the traits Cole Beasley has that they are lacking.Dez Bryant was able to get by on his athletic ability alone in college, but like Drew Pearson said, he needs to take it to the next level by learning the offense, routes and spending more time watching film. The only thing Beasley doesn’t have is what the so called experts call prototypical size.
When Drew Pearson came to Dallas as an undrafted rookie, the other coaches wanted to axe him at final cuts because of his size, but Tom Landry saw the traits I see in Beasley and kept him around. Imagine if Landry had used the same stereotypical evaluation process that has taken over the modern NFL? Is Jason Garrett making that same mistake? I believe he is. The constant drops and routes being run wrong etc after spending a few years in the league is a strong indicator to me that Ogletree and Bryant are missing the most important trait: the mental aspect of the game. This not only affects the quarterback, but the team as a whole. How is it that so many fans that I correspond with can see this, but Jason Garrett is oblivious to it? Imagine if Bill Belechick had the same mentality with Wes Welker? I recall the Cowboys making this same mistake with Danny Amendola. My whole point is: If a player continues to make the same mistakes and is still starting every game: where is the accountability?
As a coach, my dad has two rules that never get broken.1. If you give me 100% and show me heart, you will play. You may not start, but you will see game time every week. 2. The best players will start regardless. No ones job is ever secure. The one thing I have noticed about Rob Ryan is he coaches a lot like my dad. He finds a way to use everyone in certain packages. This gives the guys a chance to develop in real game situations. Why is this so important? Just look at the fact that even with all of the injuries on defense, Ryan has had the next guy ready to step up. Can the same thing be said about Garretts’ offense? I think not because even though he kept 6 WR’s on the roster, he continually only uses Dez, Miles and Kevin. What happens if one of them gets injured and the other guys have no game experience? My point exactly.
Troy Aikman said during Sundays game that he can’t think of another player in the NFL who would still be on the field if they were having the negative impact on the team that Dez Bryant is. Kevin Ogletree was non existent in the game and even though Beasley was active, he never got a chance. This is why the Cowboys have been losing and my dad’s team has been winning. There has got to be some sort of accountability and if you can’t get it done, it has to be the next man up. Nice coaches finish last in the NFL. So do stubborn ones who like to progress stop.