We’re only in the second week of the offseason and we’ve already had to deal with public comments from a Cowboys wide receiver. Fortunately, well not really, we’re rather well-versed in how to handle it all.
It’s true that Cole Beasley spoke his mind, and later clarified it, this week. In his words, the Dallas Cowboys front office are the ones who dictate where targets go which is something that Stephen Jones shot down when asked.
As mentioned, the Cowboys have a bit of experience when it comes to their receivers voicing their opinions to the world. Considering how often this subject is covered you’d have thought it would be on Weezer’s new album full of them. Walk with me down the last year, if you will.
Brice Butler questioned why he wasn’t used more (January, 2018)
Rewind all the way back to last offseason’s beginning. Things were terrible as the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs and we were watching the Eagles march to an eventual Super Bowl title. It was in the middle of all that when Brice Butler, an impending free agent, went on FS1’s Undisputed and called into question why he wasn’t used more.
Question: Why, in your view, did you not play more?
Butler: I think in this league, when you think about the business aspect, you’ve got to follow the money trail. Both of our starters made money. Terrance [Williams] just got paid last year. So there were times where I was like, I’m making plays, aren’t we trying to win games? Why am I not on the field? But that’s the only thing that I can really think of.
Butler’s point wasn’t exactly irrational. He was simply being honest about the “follow the money” philosophy that exists in the NFL. It wasn’t incorrect but it wasn’t exactly the greatest idea to go on television to say it to the world.
Ryan Switzer found his role in Dallas confusing (May, 2018)
Dallas traded then second-year wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the Oakland Raiders during the draft, a confusing move considering Cole Beasley was entering a contract year with the team. The Cowboys did also trade for Tavon Austin, but confusing nonetheless.
In an interview with 247 Sports where he discussed the trade, Switzer expanded on the role he was asked to fill in Dallas. It was... interesting for a wide receiver.
The more I think on it, I think that they had a different plan for me than what I was capable of doing. I don’t know. Looking back I had two or three rushes in the NFL before receptions and I was taking reps at running back at times. I don’t know if they were trying to use me as like a scat-back or what. There was a lot of talk about my high school days and being a RB and I don’t think I ever fit that mold as a change-of-pace back or someone with slide sweeps and carries. I don’t know if that’s the plan they had for me [because] it was never spoken, but when I try to piece these things together -- that’s kind of what I’m thinking.
Switzer’s comments were the least aggressive of all we’re talking about here but they were still born of some doubt. He has an excellent point that he, a wide receiver, had several rushing attempts in the NFL before he recorded a reception.
Dez Bryant does... he said... a lot of things happened (July, 2018)
One of the bigger events of last offseason was indisputably the Cowboys releasing Dez Bryant. Thanks to signing on with the New Orleans Saints late in the season and a horribly-timed injury, he didn’t play at all in 2018.
Before all of that went down though, Dez went on a diatribe for the ages when the Cowboys were in Oxnard (this wasn’t the first Dez outburst just the most infamous). He called Sean Lee a snake, insinuated that Travis Frederick was partly behind the move to release him, and said that “everybody lined up in the same spot for 17 weeks” in a mocking manner.
Maybe this was when the crack in the dam of Scott Linehan’s offense started to spread. Who knows.
Allen Hurns criticizes a play call from the Houston loss (October, 2018)
One of the lower points of this past season for the Cowboys was their road loss against the Houston Texans. It was the first time in 16 years that they lost to their in-state little brother.
The performance was not a very good one for the offense, nor for boldness in overtime but we’ve moved on, and this was something that Allen Hurns (in his first season with the team) felt necessary to vocalize.
There’s a lot of second-guessing going on with the team actually, and some of it is even coming from inside the locker room. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Allen Hurns believes the play that Scott Linehan dialed up on Dak Prescott’s second interception of the night (Deonte Thompson was the intended target) was the worst that you could dial up against that kind of coverage.
Allen Hurns is a pretty mild-mannered wide receiver so the fact that he spoke up, and so very intentionally on the record, perked ears. Hurns defended his comments that week when he spoke to the local media which shows how much conviction he had in his thoughts. The crack was spreading.
Amari Cooper vents frustrations to Dak Prescott mid-game en route to a 75-yard touchdown
While Allen Hurns had his first full season with the Cowboys in 2018 the same cannot be said for Amari Cooper. Dallas traded for Cooper in late October and as a result the Pro Bowler played only nine games with the team.
Perhaps the biggest of those games was the home contest against the Eagles. Dallas knew that a win over Philly would all but cement them as NFC East winners and the game was quite tight as it even went to overtime. One of the day’s more momentous moments came when Cooper scored a 75-yard touchdown, but what was interesting was what we found out about the play after the fact.
It’s interesting because I actually had another stop route on that play and they were, if you were watching, really sitting on those stop routes. And I was like, this is ridiculous. So when I broke the huddle I was kind of mad and I was like, Dak come on. And he was just like, just run it bro. And I guess he thought about it again and he kind of signaled a go route and I was elated when he did that. And I took off, caught the ball, and scored.
To be crystal clear here, Cooper wasn’t speaking in any sort of disrespectful manner. His frustrations were something that he clearly felt but didn’t let overrule him as he followed Dak Prescott’s instructions to “just run it.” Dak ultimately changed the play himself, a credit to his ability to trust his receiver, and the amazing play happened.
Counting what Cole Beasley said this week these are six different instances since January of 2018 where a Cowboys receiver has publicly disclosed an issue of some sort that they had with the team’s offense. It was not a shock that Scott Linehan was fired, but this is not exactly a great tradition to have so many instances of happening.
The most interesting detail here is that it isn’t just old guard receivers like Bryant or Beasley that were the ones making comments. Even Hurns and Cooper felt the need to publicly acknowledge what they thought when their spots on the team were more green.
That says a lot.