Cowboys 1-on-1 Laughs With Cole Beasley
In a year when the Dallas Cowboys had the league's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, the leader in touchdown catches in Dez Bryant, and an NFL MVP candidate in Tony Romo, it's easy to overlook some of the other guys on the team. One such player is Cole Beasley, who coach Jason Garrett described as "The Paper Boy" because of his diminutive stature. However, regardless of his size, Beasley had a major impact on the team's offensive success this season.
Beasley had somewhat of a breakout year in 2014. His 37 catches were actually two fewer than his 2013 total, but he averaged two more yards per reception this season (11.4) and doubled his career touchdown total (four). The area he had the biggest contribution in was on third down. Beasley has become one of Tony Romo's most reliable and consistent third-down targets, which is saying something when you consider the fact that he plays with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
"It's definitely good when your quarterback has that kind of trust in you", Beasley told me in an exclusive interview for CowboysHQ. "I just have to do what they ask of me when my number is called. I don't want to just be a third-down guy. I want to be a first- and second-down guy too, and the only way to get more opportunities is to come through when your number is called."
The chemistry that Cole Beasley has with his quarterback is obvious, but that's not the only reason he respects Tony Romo.
"He's always played through injuries," Beasley said. "He's a tough guy. That's how you want the leader of your football team to be. You want him to have your back and to be out there no matter what, and that's what Tony does. When he fights for the team like that, it leads other guys to fight the same way. DeMarco and some other guys played through injuries this year, following Tony's example."
As close as Cole Beasley and Tony Romo are, there are a few other guys on the team that Cole says he's even closer to - his fellow wide receivers. Many wide receivers have the reputation of being divas or having big egos. However, that's not at all the case with this group, according to Beasley.
"We're one of the most tight knit groups I've ever been a part of," Beasley said. "We're really close. We all pull for each other. Whenever I score a touchdown, T-Dub (Terrance Williams) would tell me how happy he was for me. We're all real team guys. We don't care who's eating as long as one of us is."
All three of these wide receivers definitely had some opportunities to "eat" this season. Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant combined for 28 touchdowns in 2014, which is tied with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams of the Packers for the most among any WR trio in the NFL. The production of these three guys played a big part in the Cowboys returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 - and the first time in Cole Beasley's young career.
"It felt good to finally get to experience playoffs," Beasley said. "You're going against the best of the best. It was a whole new thing for me. In college (at SMU) we played in some bowl games, but I had never been a part of anything like that. It was a very fun year for me."
While 2014 was definitely a nice step in the right direction for this team, Cole admitted that it wasn't all "fun" for him.
"After the Packers game, it was disappointing because that wasn't how we wanted to end our season," Cole said with frustration still in his voice. "I still feel like we should have advanced beyond that game. We had the talent to do so but we had some bad breaks and didn't have some plays go our way. The Packers are a good team too but we can't make the mistakes that we did."
Speaking of the Packers game, I had to ask about "the catch" to see what Beasley's opinion was on the controversial call..
"Based on the NFL rules and how they are, it wasn't a catch," Cole said. "But in my opinion it was definitely a catch. He caught it, took three steps and reached for the goalline. I think everyone knows it was a catch. Dez firmly believes it was a catch but at the same time, he knows it doesn't come down to one play. It definitely hurt and it would've put us in a good position, but games are never decided on one play. If we would've taken advantage of some things earlier in the game we may not have even been in that position."
After a successful season for No. 11, he is now a restricted free agent, which has some fans concerned that he might not remain a Cowboy in 2015. (See KD Drummond's piece on how this process works). Cole had a message for those fans that might help calm their nerves.
"You don't see too many restricted free agents go anywhere else, so I'm pretty confident I'll be a Cowboy next year," Cole said. "I'm just waiting to see what happens after the combine, which is usually when they do all that stuff."
Since he was confident he'll continue to wear a star on his helmet in 2015 and beyond, I asked what he thinks it'll take for this team to take the next step and get back to the Super Bowl.
"Shoot, I thought we could've won it this year!'' Beasley said. "Our playoff games could've gone either way. The Super Bowl could've gone either way. A lot of it is just luck and getting some breaks. All we can control is getting better individually which will make us better collectively."
Unfortunately, Cowboys fans will have to wait another seven months before they can see Cole Beasley and the Cowboys take the field for the 2015 regular season. While the wait might be unbearable for the fans, Cole is actually looking forward to it.
"We travel so much during the season so it's nice to finally get to go home and spend time with my son. It's been a lot of fun for me. He's my first kid so I'm learning a lot. It's been a fun experience. I had a dad but I never know what that end felt like. It makes you look back and kinda regret being a jerk to (my dad) sometimes," Cole laughed.
Hopefully, more laughs are in store for Beasley and the Cowboys once they get contractually hooked up for 2015.
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