About five years ago during the spring of 2013, the Cowboys announced Derek Dooley as the team’s new wide receivers coach.
About four years and 360 days ago I had a conversation with this sweet couple wearing Tennessee gear (where Dooley had just been fired as head coach) while waiting for a table at a restaurant. I mentioned that I was a Cowboys fan, said that Dooley was joining the team somewhat proudly, and got put on blast by Grandma and Grandpa.
“You can have him,” the woman said as she got up (they’d gotten there first and got a booth, salt in my wounds). For what it’s worth, it wasn’t the woman in this video.
According to Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley, Dooley, the wide receivers coach, didn’t teach his receivers how to run routes. I’m not an expert or anything, but that seems like it would be important.
Cole Beasley a big fan of new Cowboys WR coach Sanjay Lal: It feels like the first time we’re actually being taught how to run routes instead of just naturally doing— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) June 12, 2018
Cole Beasley has been with the Cowboys since 2012, so he’s been a part of the entire Dooley era. Terrance Williams joined the team Dooley’s first year, and his growth (or lack of it) is somewhat of an individual indictment on how Dooley failed to teach the Cowboys receivers.
Our own Connor Livesay recently talked about Sanjay Lal’s already-happening impact on the wideouts, and the comments throughout all wondered the same thing: how could the Cowboys continue to employ someone who apparently did not teach route running as their wide receivers coach?
What was Derek Dooley doing over the last five years then?
Dooley had become a bit of a punch line near the end of his time in Dallas. The memories are mostly ones at his expense, I present exhibits A and B to the jury:
Behold the timeless lameness of Derek Dooley. pic.twitter.com/7h5ansNXNC— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) November 9, 2015
Much of the receiving room’s shortcomings lately have been isolated to Dez Bryant, but it’s worth noting the Cowboys basically purged themselves of anything Dooley touched in it this offseason. Dez is gone, Brice Butler wasn’t retained, Ryan Switzer was traded, Dooley himself obviously has been moved on from, it’s like getting rid of an ex.
Dallas kept the aforementioned Cole Beasley around, but that makes sense considering he’s their most proficient route-runner (perhaps why he craves intellect in this art). Sanjay Lal even acknowledged this himself just a few weeks ago.
On the Doomsday Podcast, Sanjay Lal said that Cole Beasley, Lance Lenoir & Allen Hurns (specifically on punch and pivot routes) are the best route-runners on the #Cowboys.— John Owning (@JohnOwning) May 31, 2018
Sure, Terrance Williams is also still hanging around (for now), but it’s generally agreed upon that this is more because of the dollars and cents of the issue. It literally costs more to move on from Terrance than it does to keep him.
Cole Beasley’s comments only corroborate what many have felt for a long time
If you watched Amazon’s “All or Nothing” profiling the 2017 Cowboys, you saw Dooley interacting with Dez firsthand. It wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses, in fact it was a bit uncomfortable at times. Our fearless leader Dave Halprin summarized it well.
Dez Bryant dominated the receivers room, and his relationship with coach Derek Dooley wasn’t always smooth. There are a couple of conversations where Bryant and Dooley are clearly not on the same page, and there is also a conversation where Dooley tells Bryant his outbursts can feel aggressive, and scare people who don’t know him. There were also shots of Bryant yelling during the game, and people on the sidelines trying to ignore it. You got the feeling that All of Nothing had plenty of more footage of Bryant at odds with people but chose not to totally focus on that.
Blame for the instances between Bryant and Dooley should be shared, and maybe that’s why both of them are gone. The Cowboys, and Jason Garrett, clearly wanted a different point of leadership at that position which is why so much of it is different.
Perhaps Dooley was made to look better than he actually was over these last five seasons because of what players like Tony Romo, Dez, Terrance, and Cole were able to accomplish offensively. Beasley himself notes that Dooley expected them to rely on natural talent, maybe that was enough to carry them to the point that it did before Dooley’s time in Dallas ended.
Whatever the case, Dooley is aware of how he’s perceived by football fans. It seems like he hasn’t changed and that he’s planning on bringing some of his “successes” in Dallas with him to his new job as the offensive coordinator at Mizzou.
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Derek Dooley plopped a 500-page ring-bound playbook on his desk for emphasis.
”You want to see the dumbest thing I can do?” Missouri’s new offensive coordinator asked. “It’s to say, ‘Here’s what we’re running, boys.’ “
The playbook contains the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive install from one of the five years Dooley coached receivers in Big D (2013-17).
How do you go back in time almost five years to tell someone they’re right? Asking for a friend.