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Is Cole Beasley Becoming the Cowboys’ Wes Welker?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Blog - Thanksgiving Players of the Week

Cole Beasley is the Dallas Cowboys' leading receiver after three games. He has the most targets, catches, and yards. The one thing he hasn't done is find the endzone, but you can say that about every Dallas receiver except for Dez Bryant.

Here is a quick look at the Cowboys' key receiving stats so far in 2016:

TGTS REC YDS TD
C. Beasley 25 20 213 0
D. Bryant 23 11 150 1
J. Witten 20 14 142 0
T. Williams 8 7 122 0

 

It's not hard to see why Beasley has emerged as Dak Prescott's favorite target. They have an 80% completion percentage together, compared to roughly 50% between Dak and Dez.

Not only does Beasley get open but his slippery running leads to extra yards after the catch. Other than a dropped pass in Week One that would've likely resulted in a touchdown, Cole Beasley has provided little to complain about so far this year.

Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsCHI Week 3 ITS Staff Notes And Predictions 1

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The question now is if Beasley's team-leading production is anomalous or the beginning of lasting change. Is he emerging as the team's number-one receiver?

It feels like a time of change with this Cowboys offense. Dak Prescott is making people wonder if Tony Romo will ever get his job back. Ezekiel Elliott has taken over the running back position and will likely hold it for many years to come. Although still an effective player, Jason Witten won't be around much longer.

If Cole Beasley's production sticks then it will put him in a rare class of highly-effective, undersized, white receivers. Two of the best-known examples have come from the New England Patriots; Wes Welker and Julian Edelman.

It won't be the first similarity between the 2016 Cowboys and New England.

The comparison between Prescott and Tom Brady has already been drawn by multiple sources. Stephen Jones commented on the Prescott-Romo situation's similarity to Brady-Drew Bledsoe. Conditioning coach Mike Woicik, who also worked for the Patriots during Brady's tenure, said that Prescott and Brady had similar off-field habits.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Cole Beasley the Next Wes Welker?From 2007-2012, Wes Welker led the Patriots in catches. Those first three years were with Randy Moss on the roster and playing at a high level. Still, Welker was Brady's favorite target.

In 2013, Welker left as a free agent and Julian Edelman took over as Brady's number-one guy. He led them team in catches for two years. Last season he missed seven games but still had the most catches-per-game of any Patriots receiver, including Rob Gronkowski.

For a while it seems like the game was leaving these smaller receivers behind. Calvin Johnson was an extreme example but bigger guys like Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, and Julio Jones felt like the new blueprint for NFL receivers. The success of guys like Welker and Edelman seemed just a funny outlier, unique to the Patriots system.

Things have shifted in recent years. Antonio Brown, at just 5'10", is the best WR in the game. Odell Beckham Jr. is only 5'11" and perhaps the biggest star at his position. Edelman remains the top guy in New England, no matter how unstoppable The Gronk may be.

Obviously, Cole Beasley would be a far more extreme example of this new trend. He is only 5'8" and about as small as an effective football player can be.

For now, though, he is proving that skill is far bigger than size.

Cowboys Headlines - A Cole New World: Beasley Set To Dominate The Bears 2With Dez Bryant likely missing time after a small fracture in his knee, or at least being limited on the field, we will see if Beasley can remain effective without Dez's presence. Will defenses now be able to take Beasley away from Dak Prescott?

If they can't, then it will be hard to deny that Cole Beasley has emerged as more than just an option in this Cowboys offense. We may have to start talking about him in much more respectful terms.

The other test will come if and when Tony Romo returns to the starting lineup. Will Tony look for Beasley the same way that Prescott has, or will he still defer to Jason Witten and Bryant?

Tony's been on the sideline watching as Beasley has been so productive. The ways that Beasley gets open fit well with Romo's playing style. I don't think the chemistry will be very different than what Beasley has now with Prescott.

Though currently on pace to do so, I doubt Beasley hits 100 catches this year. There will be a few quiet weeks that hold him back. Still, the 80-90 range for cacthes seems likely. With Bryant now hurt and Witten declining, Cole Beasley is likely to lead the team this year.

If so, he will join that Wes Welker, Julian Edelman company of receivers who defy the odds in more ways than one.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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2 Comments
  • John Parks

    “… it will put him in a rare class of highly-effective, undersized, white receivers.” I think Beasley is a great player and I love watching him perform, but what does his skin color have to do with anything?

    • http://www.PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

      It’s a factual observation about the rarity of white receivers in the NFL, and especially their having production that rivals the best in the game. It’s not a comment on racial superiority/inferiority, but simply demographics that any casual scan of the NFL roster would show.

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BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year

Mauricio Rodriguez

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David Irving

For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.

Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.

In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.

Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.

The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Jason Witten’s Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

Sean Martin

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Cowboys 2016 Draft Class: Who Will Be The Stand Out In 2017?
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When Dallas Cowboys legend Jason Witten retired from the NFL last month, he left behind an unproven group of tight ends for the Cowboys to field as Witten moves on to the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. This is not a TE group short of potential, although that's nothing new for the laundry list of players that have failed at the position behind the Hall of Fame bound Witten.

Headlining this group of potential heirs to Witten has to be 2016 draft pick Rico Gathers. Not yet given the same opportunities that Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin are receiving through the Cowboys ongoing mini camp, Gathers has been criticized for his commitment to his team.

Looking to make the transition from the basketball court at Baylor to the football field, Gathers' journey began at Witten's soon-to-be home forever. Playing his first organized football game since middle school, Gathers and Witten were teammates in the Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio in 2017.

A game rarely leaving fans with a lasting memories, Gathers immediately flashed potential in the passing game, hauling in three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Gathers would go on to spend the season on IR after a concussion suffered in practice, recovering from it in time to return but never seeing the field.

This leaves Gathers' prospects of putting it all together in year three at a difficult crossroads. It will be hard to question Gathers' commitment moving forward, as the message from his former teammate Jason Witten still lives with him.

Jason Witten's Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

If Witten truly sees a "bright future" for Rico Gathers, who Head Coach Jason Garrett says needs work in the running game, there is no reason the Cowboys can't find a role for him this season. With an entirely unproven group of wide receivers, Gathers could be the reliable mismatch for Dak Prescott to target in the middle of the field.

Prescott was the ninth worst quarterback in the league last season in red zone completion percentage, surely something the 6'6" TE Gathers could help improve.

Gathers may be a long way off from becoming Prescott's version of Witten to Tony Romo, but there is still hope for the 2016 draft pick, according to now football analyst Jason Witten.

Tell us what you think about "Jason Witten’s Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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David Irving to be Present at Dallas Cowboys Minicamp

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

David Irving has been a notable name throughout the offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, for both on the field and off the field headlines. First, his RFA tender had fans and analysts wondering just what the Cowboys would do with him. Many, myself included, thought placing anything lower than a first-round tender on the stud defensive tackle would mean he was collecting sacks for someone else in 2018.

Thankfully, the Dallas Cowboys' gamble paid off and they were able to save some money by only having the second-round tender applied to 2018.

Then came the accusation of domestic violence from his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, catching us off-guard just before OTAs began in May. Which was then retracted not long after the initial report.

After all of that had quieted down, most of the talk revolved around David Irving not being in shape for OTAs. Not having been around for much of the offseason work the last several weeks before OTAs would keep Irving from working out.

He's had a lot going on in his life lately away from the game of football, and understandably so. As a father to a young child, I can see how you'd get distracted from your job when family stuff comes into play that affects the well-being of your child.

On the football side of things, at least, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Today, it's being reported that David Irving will in fact be present for this week's mandatory minicamp.

Brandon George on Twitter

Also, the Cowboys expect DL David Irving to participate in the 3-day mandatory minicamp that begins today at The Star, a source said. The Cowboys could have both Irving and RG Zack Martin back on the practice field if Martin's contract extension gets finalized this morning.

You may be asking yourself, "what's the big deal? Irving isn't Aaron Donald."

Well, you're mostly right.

Perhaps next to Donald, David Irving was the most disruptive interior player in the NFL last season. David Irving had seven sacks in the eight games he played in.

Read that again. Seven sacks in eight games. That would be 14 sacks over the course of the season if that pace were to continue to play out.

Aaron Donald had 11 sacks in 2017.

Pro Football Focus rated David Irving as its third best pass rusher among interior defensive linemen.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Dominant interior defenders.

To go along with Irving's seven sacks in eight games -- every time I read that I'm floored -- he recorded six passes defended. That was good for second in the NFL at the defensive tackle position and was second on the Dallas Cowboys.

Again, in only eight games played.

Even if you were to pace out his tackle numbers over 16 games, they aren't very spectacular -- 26 solo and 18 assisted -- but he'd still finish in the top 30 among defensive tackles.

Only two other players in the NFL had seven or more sacks and six or more pass breakups; New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan and Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Carlos Dunlap. Both of those guys played in all 16 games and, while I hate to keep bringing this up, Irving only played in eight.

He's an elite interior defender who has only gotten better since joining Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys.

If he's able to get his personal life in order -- and that most assuredly comes first -- he's going to be a wrecking ball for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line.

Getting Zack Martin's contract extension completed was probably the most important task of the summer, but getting David Irving back into the practice fold is a close second.

With him and DeMarcus Lawrence coming off a tremendous 2017, the sky is the limit for those two in 2018.

With all the improvement that was made on the defensive side of the ball, I can't help but think of the sign that Greg Hardy paid for several years ago.

"Sacks Comin'."



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