Dallas Cowboys: Wes Welker

Five questions with: Cole Beasley

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
IRVING, Texas – With the players entering the downtime of the offseason, we offer up a Five Questions segment.

Today's subject is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley.

Beasley has developed into one of the Cowboys' top threats from the slot. He caught 39 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns last season. This offseason wide receivers coach Derek Dooley said Beasley has expanded his route tree, but he will mostly continue to work the slot as one of Tony Romo's security blankets.

What is your first football memory?

Beasley: It would probably be my first year playing football I was a lineman. I came to the team late and they didn't know where to play me so they just threw me on the line. I played my first game ever as a right tackle. I was in third grade, so I guess I was 8. They moved me to receiver the next game.

If you could play any other position, what would it be?

Beasley: Quarterback. You have the ball in your hands at all times.

If you were commissioner for a day, what rule would you change?

Beasley: NFL rule? That's a good question. I don't know, man. I mean to me the rules are for the offense. They kind of favor the offense, so I'll say the rule that you can't dunk on the goal post. How about that?

Who is the non-Cowboy you respect the most in football?

Beasley: Wes Welker, that one is easy. He opened the door for people like me. I guess me and him we're people that make everybody feel like they can play. I know that's how it was for me. I didn't really think that way because I understood it takes a lot more than just talent. A lot of people think they can do what we do, but he was the first guy who really did it undersized that wasn't just blazing like a Tim Dwight or someone like that. It would be Wes for me.

If you weren't playing football, what would you be doing?

Beasley: Playing basketball. Hahaha. Somewhere. Anywhere they would let me go. If not that, then coaching.

Cole Beasley playing big role for Cowboys

October, 25, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- For good reason Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson have dominated the headlines leading into Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.

They are two of the best receivers in the NFL. They can do things athletically that few in the game can do. They are vital to their team’s success.

But for the Cowboys there’s another receiver that will play a large role Sunday and he is nothing like Bryant or Johnson. It’s not Terrance Williams, either, although the Cowboys rookie receiver has become a large part of Tony Romo’s success.

[+] EnlargeCole Beasley
AP Photo/James D. SmithDallas WR Cole Beasley has produced 10 first-down catches in his past four games.
It’s Cole Beasley, who is nine inches shorter and 56 pounds lighter than Johnson and six inches and 42 pounds lighter than Bryant.

In his past four games Beasley has caught 17 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Ten of those catches have produced a first down.

Romo is “never really going to come to you and say, ‘I have confidence in you,’ or anything like that, but it’ll show in his play,” Beasley said. “If he’s looking for you out there to throw the ball to you, then he has confidence you’re going to be open and be where you’re supposed to be. Really just being with him and making plays when he throws the ball to you, that’s going to be for any quarterback. They’re not going to have confidence in you if they throw the ball and you drop it and you’re running the wrong route and it gets picked. You just have to be reliable and that’s what quarterback friendly is.”

As the Cowboys wait for Miles Austin’s hamstring to improve, Beasley’s role has increased. At 5-foot-8, and listed at 180 pounds, he has found a role in a big man’s game.

“Football players find a way to play no matter what,” Romo said. “Yes, he would’ve been able to play [in the NFL 10 years ago]. It’s different ways going about winning and losing and moving the ball. You just have to take advantage of different people’s skills and we are doing that.”

Bryant and Johnson have the obvious physical skills with their speed and strength. Beasley’s skill is his quickness and feel. The Cowboys use him in space the way San Diego uses running back Danny Woodhead or even how the Lions use Reggie Bush.

They create mismatches for the defense.

“He gives you the dimension of quickness and agility and the guy can change direction in the slot and do multiple things,” offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. “You can isolate him on different guys and different locations, so I think that’s a real advantage to have a guy like him, kind of Wes Welker-ish in a sense. He gives us that dimension. He gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of his route tree and the things he can do to get open.”

Beasley also knows what he isn’t. He knows he can be compromised by his size, so space becomes his friend.

“Teams are going to adjust, I think, eventually,” Beasley said. “I mean right now they’re just kind of doing the same things and letting me work. So until they adjust we’re going to take advantage of what they give us. But they’ll adjust and when they do we’ll go somewhere else, I’m sure. That’s what good teams do. These are good coaches and they’ll see it, and right now I’m just doing what I’m told.”

Lack of dime defense hurting Cowboys?

October, 10, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- One of the reasons cited when the Dallas Cowboys decided to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last season was that he tried to do too much. In addition to a scheme switch, the Cowboys wanted a more simplistic approach and went to Monte Kiffin.

But are they too simple?

The Cowboys are one of a few teams that do not employ a dime defense -- six defensive backs -- and perhaps it’s hurt them the last two games in which San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Denver’s Peyton Manning threw for more than 400 yards. Athletic tight ends have hurt the Cowboys the past two games with Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas going off for more than 100 yards receiving. The Broncos’ spread look also created some favorable matchups on linebackers. On a second-and-17 play in the fourth quarter of the Denver loss, Ernie Sims was matched up on Wes Welker, who came up with a 16-yard catch.

The Washington Redskins will spread the field with three receivers, which means a nickel defense, but have not had huge production from their tight ends and backs so far.

“Just philosophically, we’re in the nickel world a little bit more with this defensive system,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ve used dime in the past, and that’s something we can look at. Really, what you want to do is evaluate why you think things aren’t as successful as you want them to be and make the appropriate changes, make targeted changes that you think are going to help you get better. We certainly had discussions about that. We just want to make sure any changes we do make to shore up our secondary and our pass defense are changes for the right reasons. We’ll keep evaluating that as the week goes on.”

Cole Beasley does fair Welker imitation

October, 8, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The comparisons never stop. Every small, white wide receiver will be compared to Denver Broncos wide out Wes Welker.

Danny Amendola heard it when he was with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. Cole Beasley has heard it since he got to the Cowboys last year.

Beasley got to meet Welker for the first time after Sunday’s 51-48 loss to the Broncos.

“That was pretty sweet,” Beasley said. “He was a guy I always watched growing up when I realized I was going to play receiver. It was pretty cool meeting him. I thanked him for opening the door for guys like me.”

Beasley had a Welker-like game, catching four passes for 47 yards, including the first touchdown of his career, a 4-yarder in the fourth quarter that gave the Cowboys a 48-41 lead. Beasley looked Welker-like with his work in the slot.

Beasley has eight catches for 70 yards in the last three games and with the Cowboys using more empty-package looks he could be featured more, especially as Miles Austin recovers from a hamstring strain.

“I think Tony has faith in what I can do and he has since last year,” Beasley said. “You just keep getting better with each game and practice. I think we have some great weapons on this team. It creates opportunities for everyone to get involved. Tony did a great job (Sunday) of getting the ball to different people. I just have to take advantage of the opportunity when my number is called.”

DeMarcus Ware and the pass rush

October, 7, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys compiled 13 sacks through the first three weeks of the season but just two in the next two games which has raised concerns about the pass rush.

In those last two games, quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning get rid of the ball quickly which frustrates defensive linemen who are a second or two from getting to the quarterback.

The box score of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos did not credit any Cowboys' player with a quarterback hurry. However, Manning was knocked down several times and DeMarcus Ware forced a hurry during an interception.

"It's frustrating when we're not being able to make plays at the right time especially on third down," Ware told ESPNDallas on Monday. "I think they were 9-13 on third down plays. You got to be more effective at that time."

What is also troubling is the secondary play. The defensive backs and linebackers at times, are struggling to combat quick throws underneath and down the field.

Calling blitzes also helps the defense but even that is off. The Cowboys like to send cornerback Orlando Scandrick on a blitz off the edge, but he was needed to cover slot receiver Wes Welker more in coverage on Sunday. So the Cowboys rushed four and sometimes five at Manning. He still maintained his pocket presence. He completed 33 of 42 passes for 414 yards and four touchdowns.

"We just haven't been fundamentally sound," linebacker Sean Lee said. "It's on us as players to make more plays and we haven't made enough plays and we haven't been able to get off the field. We haven't executed enough and it's squarely on us as players to find a way to get better."

Added Ware: "It's always a team effort that's how it is. We're talking from a defensive standpoint. If the offense scores 48 points, we got to be able to win the game."

Upon Further Review: Cowboys Week 5

October, 7, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the Dallas Cowboys' 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos:

[+] EnlargeCole Beasley
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCole Beasley scored the first touchdown of his career and finished with four receptions for 47 yards.
Empty it out: The Cowboys broke out their empty package against the Broncos and had great success. Unoffically, quarterback Tony Romo completed 10 of 13 passes for 235 yards when the Cowboys left the quarterback alone in the backfield. Only one of Romo’s four sacks came in an empty look. That was one of the bigger changes the Cowboys used to attack the Broncos and Romo made it work. Romo’s 79-yard throw to receiver Dez Bryant came out of an empty look, but Bryant’s fumble came when the Cowboys motioned to an empty look. Romo’s shortest completions in the 01 or 02 package were a pair of 10-yarders.

Finding the weakness: As head coach Jason Garrett says, every defense has a weakness and the opponents have found the Cowboys’ in their 4-3 scheme. San Diego completed 20 passes for 238 yards to running backs and tight ends. The Broncos completed 18 passes for 221 yards. They have given up back-to-back 100-yard games to tight ends in Antonio Gates (136) and Julius Thomas (121). With Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, Chicago’s Martellus Bennett and Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley left on the docket, the Cowboys better figure out how to defend the tight end better.

Playing to its level: The Cowboys are realizing just how valuable defensive end Anthony Spencer is to this defense. Perhaps nose tackle Jay Ratliff too. With Spencer out for the year and Ratliff on the physically unable to perform list for at least one more game and possibly a lot longer, the Cowboys' defensive line is getting exposed. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher are the only players in the roles that were set before the season started. The rest of the line was hardly expected to make the roster. For as well as defensive end George Selvie and defensive tackle Nick Hayden have played at times, they were still out of work this summer and not on a team last season respectively. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli was lauded for his work the first three games, but in the past two games the Cowboys have one sack.

Filling a role: It’s too easy to compare receiver Cole Beasley to Wes Welker. The Cowboys have found a role for Beasley in the slot. Beasley caught four passes for 47 yards and had his first touchdown, a 4-yarder in the fourth quarter. He looked positively Welker-like on his 23-yard catch, working the middle of the field with his quickness on the defensive back. He will be limited as an outside receiver, but his effectiveness underneath and the trust Romo has in him will make Beasley a factor on the offense, especially if the Cowboys continue to roll out their aforementioned empty package.

Scandrick excited for Welker challenge

October, 3, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Orlando Scandrick had a Post-it note on the cover of his iPad, asking the Dallas Cowboys video department to put the Oct. 16, 2011 game against the New England Patriots on there.

That’s the last time Scandrick went against Wes Welker. He will see Welker again Sunday at AT&T Stadium but this time in a Denver Broncos' uniform.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for me,” Scandrick said. “I think I competed and battled the whole way that game. I look forward to these kinds of games and these kinds of challenges.”

Welker entered the 2011 game with 45 catches for 740 yards and five touchdowns. He caught a touchdown in the Patriots 20-16 win, but was held to six catches for 45 yards. He had only three games that season with fewer yards.

“I think what you want on your football team are competitive guys,” coach Jason Garret said. “You want guys to embrace challenges. Covering Wes Welker is one of the great challenges for a DB or inside nickel back in the NFL. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. He is an unbelievable target for a quarterback who consistently gets himself open. He is quarterback-friendly. A guy like Scandrick, who comes where he comes from and has a little of that chip on his shoulder that we like, you embrace this kind of opportunity.”

Welker has 26 catches for 266 yards and six touchdowns in Denver’s 4-0 start.

Scandrick is not the type to back down.

“You’ve got to trust yourself,” Scandrick said. “You have to have an aura about yourself, you now? I just feel like I carry an aura about myself. I’m harder on myself than anybody else and you’ve just to take something and whatever motivates you and continue to ride it.”
PHOENIX -- Here are a few thoughts about the Cowboys as we enter the final day of the NFL owners meetings.

Derek Dooley impresses: While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is impressed with his new defensive coaches, he praised new receivers coach Derek Dooley in his chat with reporters Tuesday. Jones said he loves the ideas Dooley brings and says he has a fresh set of eyes for the offense.

"I like the fact Dooley is coming in here with college ideas, been around a lot of that fast-moving college game," Jones said of Dooley, who was fired after three seasons as the head coach of the University of Tennessee. "Jason (Garrett) has a lot of respect for him. He’ll end up having a lot of input in our passing game."

Slot receivers catching Jones' eye: Jones was asked if he regretted letting Danny Amendola go in 2008 when the Cowboys cut the slot receiver and re-signed him to the practice squad. Amendola eventually ended up with the St. Louis Rams and last week signed a five-year, $31 million deal with the New England Patriots to replace Wes Welker.

"No, I just see Welker. I regret Welker," Jones joked.

Jones, however, did praise young receiver Cole Beasley, who is built like Amendola and Welker and has the potential to become a good slot receiver. "Beasley's got some of that," Jones said. "You know Amendola and you know Welker, and he's neither of those two, but he can really create some problems for those guys over on defense. (Tony) Romo thinks a lot of him. He's got a shot for us."

Training camp dates: The Cowboys are still in the process of finalizing the training camp schedule. The veteran minicamp is tentatively scheduled for June 11-13. Training camp would start July 20 in Oxnard, Calif. After three preseason games, the Cowboys would return to Valley Ranch possibly on August 17 or 18, depending on the date of the third preseason game.

Safety working out for Cowboys: University of Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro tweeted he's going to work out for the Cowboys on Wednesday. Vaccaro is projected as the best safety in the draft and, with the Cowboys selecting No. 18 overall, there's a good chance he might be around. The Cowboys currently have Barry Church and Matt Johnson as their starting safeties, but the team is open to bringing in a veteran or drafting a safety. Jones said the Cowboys are not drafting for need, but for best player available.

Paying a franchise quarterback: The Cowboys are in the process of sealing a deal with Romo. Team officials won't go into specifics about how much it would cost, but you could assume Romo's new contract will average between $15 million to $18 million a season. It's a steep price at one position. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, who signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a six-year deal for $120 million. "I’d say it’s a good problem to have," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It’s the problem everybody wants to have. When you’ve got the young quarterback and you just drafted them and he’s playing well ... When you look at some of the teams that have the young quarterbacks, their cap situation is really good because they’ve got a player for a couple years that’s not going to be making top dollar. But you get to the fifth year of that contract and now it’s time for some of those things to change. We’re very willing to do what we need to do. It’s the nature of the league to have a quarterback like Joe Flacco."

Cole Beasley should be used more

March, 16, 2013
In the early days of free agency we've seen slot receivers become a hot topic.

Wes Welker left the New England Patriots and signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos.

The Patriots found his replacement before Welker got his new deal when they signed Danny Amendola from St. Louis.

The Cowboys haven't really had a typical No. 3 slot receiver with the body type of Welker and Amendola.

Patrick Crayton, Kevin Ogletree, Laurent Robinson and Dwayne Harris were No. 3 receivers who played in the slot, but didn't have that small frame.

Last year, the Cowboys found one in Cole Beasley, a player who fits Welker's and Amendola's body type. Beasley is 5-foot-8, 177 pounds. In his rookie season, Beasley finished with 15 catches for 128 yards with no touchdowns. He made a bulk of his catches out of the slot and going forward the Cowboys should use him more often from this area.

New England utilized Welker for several years from the slot to beat teams in the middle of the field. His speed allowed him to get past defenders for yards after catch.

Maybe Beasley can be used in the same fashion in 2013.

Dez Bryant and Miles Austin can stretch defenses deep with their speed and Jason Witten can also command the middle of the field. What about Beasley? If defenses take Bryant and Austin out of the game with their coverages, which has happened, Beasley is a player who should get some run.

There have been teams who have used short receivers from the slot to make plays in different areas of the field and the Cowboys have Beasley who might fit that role.
Done with Day 2 of free agency and on to Day 3. We have some observations.

Randy Galloway and Matt Mosley discuss the latest free-agency moves going on around the NFL.

Listen Listen
Dez Bryant looks at Mike Wallace's contract: Wide receiver Mike Wallace left the Pittsburgh Steelers and singed a five-year $60 million deal with $30 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins. Wallace is just 26 years old and becomes the third-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. What does it all mean? Well, the Cowboys have an emerging young talent in Dez Bryant, who is 24, and coming off his first 1,000 yard season. Bryant is signed through 2014, and who knows what the market will look like then given the money Wallace got this week. Bryant needs to stay out of trouble, which he's done so far this offseason, and if he continues to produce, a big money contract awaits him. Should the Cowboys let Bryant get to the final year of his contract? Or do the Cowboys make sure after the 2013 season, he gets an extension?

Cowboys send three to Alabama: Coach Jason Garrett didn't attend Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday, however, two scouts and Tom Ciskowski, the director of college and pro scouting, watched the talent. Former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus, who works for the Dallas Cowboys web site offers these thoughts on Alabama's Pro Day here. Jeff Reynolds of NFL Draft Scout send in this report of what went down. Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN's NFL Draft expert, has the Cowboys taking guard Chance Warmack with the No. 18th overall pick next month.

Remember when Danny Amendola was a Cowboy?: It seems like years ago, but it was just 2008 when wide receiver Danny Amendola was in Cowboys training camp trying to make the roster. Amendola was trying to make the 53-man roster that had Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton, Terry Glenn, Sam Hurd, Terrell Owens and Isaiah Stanback on the roster as well. Amendola didn't make the roster, he was cut that summer, but later added to the practice squad, but in 2009 he played in 14 games for the St. Louis Rams after being signed from the Eagles practice squad. Wednesday, Amendola signed a five-year deal worth $31 million with $10 million guaranteed with the New England Patriots. He's come a long way from trying to surpass Austin and Hurd, who were then at the bottom of the receiving depth chart. Amendola has been injury prone of late, but is an excellent receiver in the slot, and because he's younger than Wes Welker, it's probably one of the reasons he's with the Pats. ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss gives his take on the Patriots signing.

Overtime: S Gerald Sensabaugh is getting interest from Arizona and Tennessee. He visited the Titans on Wednesday. ... No word yet on CB Mike Jenkins visits. ... The Cowboys saw Bennett twice last year with the Giants and they'll see him again when they visit Solider Field. The Cowboys, however, won't see Percy Harvin when they host Minnesota. Harvin is now with Seattle.

Opposing voice: Brandon Marshall

September, 29, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Last week the Cowboys defense faced a big-play threat in wide receiver Vincent Jackson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Monday night, it will be Brandon Marshall who leads the Bears. He has 16 catches for 214 yards and one touchdown. Since 2007, Marshall has compiled 490 catches in 79 games, tied for the third most in the league behind New England's Wes Welker and Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne.

This season, Marshall's connection with quarterback Jay Cutler has struggled at times.

"It hasn't been difficult at all," Marshall responds. "We just need to make more plays and right now we're sitting at 2-1, not a bad position to be in. This is a big week for us and it's going to be tough, we're going against a No. 1 defense. If our offense can get rolling against a No. 1 defense, I think that will give us a lot of confidence, but I think it's going to be really tough going against that Ryan D."

The Cowboys have two corners who can handle Marshall in Brandon Carr and Mike Jenkins. Marshall faced Carr twice a year when they both played in the AFC West. Jenkins took on Marshall when the Cowboys visited during his time with the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. Jenkins was injured when Miami played Dallas last season, but he played against Marshall at times in 2009 when he played for Denver.

One of the more visible plays from the 2011 season is former Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman hanging onto the back of Marshall during a touchdown reception.

In the last two games against the Cowboys' defense, Marshall has nine catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

The issue of who covers him Monday night could vary depending on who defensive coordinator Rob Ryan starts at corner. In the Week 3 victory over Tampa Bay, Carr played free safety and Jenkins took over at cornerback. Ryan hasn't said who takes on Marshall this week, but Carr's shutdown corner skills makes him an early favorite.

"I know a lot about Brandon Carr and I really respect his game," Marshall said. "He does a lot of things at the line of scrimmage, really strong. I've been watching a lot of film on our matchups and I want to approach the game a little differently. (Morris) Claiborne, a rookie corner, respect what he's doing so far. I'm sure there are some things he will clean up out there. I think (Dallas) has a really good No. 1 pick down there."
IRVING, Texas – Cole Beasley played it cool when asked about the spectacular catch he made over cornerback Teddy Williams on a deep ball Thursday.

“That’s just what you have to do in this league,” Beasley said. “(Kyle) Orton put it on the money. That’s all I can say about that one.”

We’ll say a little bit more.

It was the kind of catch that indicates that Beasley, an itty-bitty undrafted receiver out of SMU, might be more than just the stereotypical, short, white slot guy. He lined up outside, got open deep against a former NCAA sprint champion and made a twisting, leaping grab of a pass that was thrown above his outside shoulder.

“If you know how to run routes, you can beat anybody if the quarterback is as good as Kyle Orton,” said Beasley, who has tried to model his game after Wes Welker and Steve Smith. “He just puts it there. I mean quarterbacks in this league make it to where you’re open almost any time. You just have to make the play. Coaches want to see you make plays when you’re covered or not covered. So you got to do it.”

Beasley, who is listed at 5-foot-8, 177 pounds, is in the mix with the rest of the unproven receivers in camp who are competing for the No. 3 job and probably a couple of other roster spots.

He has caught the coaches’ eyes since rookie minicamp by consistently getting open and catching the ball. He’s shown over and over again that he’s capable of making the solid plays that keep the chains moving.

Beasley offered a glimpse of the spectacular Thursday.

SMU's Cole Beasley catches eyes

June, 15, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- It’s become a tired cliché to compare every short, white, undrafted slot receiver to Wes Welker. It’s also unrealistic.

[+] EnlargeCole Beasley
AP Photo/Butch DillCole Beasley caught 173 passes for 2,100 yards in his last two seasons at SMU.
Maybe we should call Cole Beasley the next Danny Amendola.

“He falls into that family of receivers,” Garrett said of Beasley.

Amendola caught eyes during the Cowboys’ 2008 training camp and spent a chunk of that season on the Dallas practice squad before the Eagles signed him to their 53-man roster. He signed with St. Louis that offseason and has been in the Rams’ receiver rotation when healthy since, catching 85 passes in 2010.

Beasley, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound SMU product, has looked like a slot receiver with a chance to stick this spring and summer. He’s a quick, pesky little fella with sure hands and a knack for getting open, especially on short and intermediate routes, although he capped minicamp by getting behind a safety to make a play on a post route.

Coach Jason Garrett describes Beasley, who caught 173 passes for 2,100 yards his last two seasons at SMU, as a slot receiver who has a “good feel” for playing inside. That’s to be expected from a coach’s son who was a quarterback for his dad’s team at nearby Little Elm High and played for passing guru June Jones in college.

“You’re never going to keep them because he’s big, he’s strong, fast, jumps through the roof, all that kind of stuff,” Garrett said. “The way he stays in this league is every day he catches five balls. Every day he beats a guy you don’t think he can beat. And he does it today, tomorrow and the next day, the next day, the next day. There are a lot of guys who made their way in this league that way, and he’s going to be one of those guys.”
IRVING, Texas -- The comparisons started from the moment fifth-round pick Danny Coale was drafted.

Wes Welker of the New England Patriots is a speedy receiver who does damage from the slot. In four of his five seasons in New England, Welker has gained at least 1,000 receiving yards. Last year, Welker caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns.

"It’s nice to be mentioned in the same sentence as him, but at the same time he’s Wes Welker for a reason," said Coale, who finished his career at Virginia Tech second in receptions and receiving yards. "He's been there and he's done it and I haven’t. I'm nowhere near that level of play. I hope some day I can have a sliver of success as he's had. He's an incredible player and I admire his style of play. The way he plays the position, he's someone I try to be like."

Coale will compete with Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris, Kevin Ogletree and Raymond Radway for three roster spots at wideout behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.

Cowboys NFL scouting combine primer

February, 22, 2012
The annual NFL scouting combine starts today and Cowboys officials arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Here's a primer on what might or should happen for the Dallas Cowboys the next few days.

The Cowboys will talk to a quarterback: Last year the Cowboys spoke with then-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. It didn't mean the Cowboys were going to draft him, Newton went No. 1 overall, but it was more about the team doing their due diligence. This year don't be surprised to see the Cowboys speak with Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, considered the top quarterbacks in the draft. The Cowboys still believe in Tony Romo, yet have to think about the future. Cowboys could draft a quarterback in the later rounds and speaking to Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State is a possibility. Cowboys officials believe Weeden is a good fit, bur are concerned about his age, turns 29 in October.

Taking on the free agents: The biggest free agents the Cowboys must address from their own roster are Anthony Spencer, Mat McBriar, Abram Elam and Laurent Robinson. The Cowboys could franchise Spencer, which costs a projected $8.8 million, but nothing has been decided. Spencer's agent, Roosevelt Barnes doesn't have any meetings scheduled with the Cowboys. Robinson developed into a talented and reliable receiver. But Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson and Marques Colston will command more money and attention from teams. Elam doesn't have an agent and it's uncertain if the Cowboys will bring him back. McBriar is expected to recover from leg surgery and the team most likely will give him a new contract.

What's up with the salary cap? Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones praised his son, team executive vice president Stephen Jones, with taking care of the finances in terms of releasing several veterans, restructuring contracts to clear up $12.5 million. That number could increase to as much as $20 million with more veteran departures such as Terence Newman, Kenyon Coleman and Kyle Kosier. Cowboys might talk to the agents of several players asking to restructure deals to clear up space on the cap.

Who the Cowboys target at No. 14: Everybody. The Cowboys will begin the process of meeting players individually in Indy, schedule more meetings at Valley Ranch and of course prepare to visit Pro Days. If the Cowboys visit Stanford for the its Pro Day, it doesn't mean they want Luck. Guard David DeCastro is projected as the best interior linemen in the draft. If Jason Garrett visits Stanford's Pro Day, it could mean DeCastro is targeted. Garrett went to one Pro Day last spring, Tyron Smith's at USC.

Here's five other players the Cowboys might pick with the 14th overall pick: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, OLB; Mark Barron, Alabama, S; Melvin Ingram, South Carolina, DE; Dontari Poe, Memphis, NT; Cordy Glenn, Georgia, G.