Cole Beasley didn’t sugarcoat his 2017 season, calling it the worst of his career.
The Dallas Cowboys’ diminutive receiver saw his production cut in half in just about every department from 2016 – his receiving yards (833 yards to 314); his receptions (75 to 36); his receptions per game (4.7 to 2.4); and his targets (98 to 63).
"It was very frustrating, man," Beasley said after the team’s first minicamp practice on Tuesday.
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"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, who is entering the final year of a four-year contract, sees no reason he can’t rebound in 2018. He still possesses the same skill set that made him a threat in 2016.
And Beasley is being utilized more this offseason as the Cowboys implement more of a "Dak-friendly" offensive game plan. That means lining up at more positions than just the slot.
Beasley lined up on the outside at times Tuesday, and said he expects his route tree to grow more this season under new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.
All of that has Beasley confident he’ll return to form at age 29.
"I don't see why not," he 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 went on to praise his work early on with Lal.
“I like him a lot, man," Beasley said. "I think he adds a lot to the table. He's the most technical receiver coach I've ever had. There's so many things we talk about I've never even heard of."
“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."
The technical stuff is already becoming ingrained in Beasley’s head. He knows what he does right and wrong now before Lal even tells him.
Lal is also trying to get his receivers to play more "violently" off the line of scrimmage. That’s something Beasley acknowledged he has to improve upon going into his seventh season.
“I've been real patient at the line a lot in my career,” Beasley said. “And now there are things that I need to do to have change-ups, if you will, and different ways to come off the ball and attack.
"I was a little passive last year waiting to see what, I got so many different looks I was waiting to see what they were going to do before I started my route and I wasn't as good of a route runner because of it. Just firing off the ball and playing fast is what I'm focusing on."