IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.
With 11 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on one of the offense's more intriguing weapons:
11) What are the 2013 expectations for Cole Beasley?
With all the talented players clamoring for a chance to make it in the NFL – the thousands of guys just begging for a chance – it hardly seems like a good idea for an undrafted free agent to quit a football team.
That's exactly how Cole Beasley's 2012 season started, and it ended with the rookie playing 10 games and catching 15 balls for the Cowboys. Not only did Dallas fight to bring Beasley back to training camp after his sudden exit, the Cowboys got him onto the field enough for the SMU product to produce 128 yards.
It says a lot about a player – particularly an undrafted player – for a team to go to those lengths to keep him. Which raises the above question: with Beasley back in the fold after a year of seasoning, what can he hope to contribute to the Cowboy's offense?
Beasley was considered a safe bet to make the 53-man roster this time last year, which has to give him a leg up in the competition going into training camp this time around. The competition hasn't gotten any easier, though. The expectation is for third-round pick Terrance Williams to make an immediate impact, which puts as many as four receivers on top of the depth chart – Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris and Williams. [embedded_ad]
Beasley didn't get a lot of opportunity as a rookie, but he made the most out of his largest chunks of playing time. When Miles Austin went down with a hip injury during the Thanksgiving loss to the Redskins, Beasley stepped up to the tune of seven receptions for 68 yards. That afternoon blew the rest of his 2012 production out of the water, but it showed a glimpse of why the Cowboys have held on to the former Mustang.
The Cowboys probably have room on the final roster for five wide receivers – and four of those spots look filled. But the interest the team has shown in Beasley, combined with his modest production in limited action, seem to make him one of the contenders for that final spot.
Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 11:
- The number 11 has served the Cowboys well in the NFL draft. Both Michael Irvin and DeMarcus Ware – inarguably two of the franchise's greatest players – were drafted 11th overall in 1988 and 2005, respectively.
- Longtime Cowboys defensive back Everson Walls set the team's rookie record for interceptions in 1981, when he nabbed 11 picks as an undrafted free agent. That number falls three short of the NFL record 14, set by "Night Train" Lane in 1952.
- The Cowboys' record for consecutive wins during the regular season is 11, which the team set in 1968-69. The streak started with a 44-24 win against the Redskins on Nov. 17, 1968, and it wasn't snapped until a 42-10 loss to the Browns on Nov. 2, 1969.
- Irvin compiled 11 100-yard receiving efforts during the Cowboys' 1995 Super Bowl season – the team record for 100-yard games in one season.
- Terrell Owens put together 11 100-yard games during his three-year stint in Dallas. That's good enough for ninth all-time.
- On Dec. 26, 1970, the Cowboys played out a disgustingly ugly 5-0 win against the Lions on a 35-degree day in the Cotton Bowl. The two teams combined to complete 11 passes, which is the franchise record for lowest number of passes completed by two teams in a game.
- Laurent Robinson played just one season for the Cowboys – 2011. Fittingly enough, during the '11 season, he led the team with 11 receiving touchdowns.
- Mr. Cowboy himself, Bob Lilly, is the all-time Cowboys leader in Pro Bowl selections with 11.