Cole Beasley’s route tree has expanded as he seeks bounce-back season

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Cole Beasley led the Cowboys in catches and yards in 2016. Dez Bryant might have been the team’s No. 1 receiver in name that season, but Beasley was Dak Prescott‘s favorite target.

Last season, though, Beasley caught only 36 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns.

“It was very frustrating, man,” Beasley said. “No one wants to have a good year and come back and have the worst year of their career. It was definitely frustrating. A lot of things I had to fight through, but I feel like that season has made me better today because of it.”

Beasley, 29, enters an important season. He is in the final year of a four-year contract, set to become a free agent in March.

He expects a bounce-back season.

“I don’t see why not,” Beasley said. “I’ve been working as hard as ever. I think last season was a good thing for all of us. It added like a hunger to our group. A lot of people pushed us to the side this offseason and they’re sleeping on us, but that gives us a chance to prove a lot of people wrong.”

Beasley’s route tree has expanded. The Cowboys have moved him around this offseason, working him at the X, Y, Z, F, “everywhere pretty much.” It will give Beasley a chance to show he’s more than just a slot receiver.

“I’m excited man,” Beasley said. “I’ve never had this many things I could do and really given a chance to do all these things. I really think it’s just going to open up the stuff I’m good at and help me out in the long run.”

Beasley said he has benefited from the addition of receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

“It just feels like this is the first time I’m being taught how to actually run routes instead of just naturally doing them,” Beasley said. “It’s kind of different. When you get to the NFL it’s like you’re already supposed to know, stuff is assumed.

“But he doesn’t assume anything and he takes it from the basics all the way to the advanced stuff, starting from the bottom.”

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