Evaluating Dallas Cowboy Rob Ryan's Defense: The Front 5

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He is getting paid to be more than the situational player he was this season.

Kenyon Coleman(7/29/2011: Signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract.) – When I think of Coleman’s performance this season, I think of one word: ‘serviceable”. He is an average player, but he is playing for a relatively small price. He played fairly well in the running game, but was a non-factor as a pass rusher. As the season wore on, he was replaced by Sean Lissemore more and more. In September and early October, Lissemore was being subbed-in on less than 10% of the snaps, by the end of November, he was playing around 25% of the snaps. Expect Lissemore to push more playing time next season.  Coleman turns 33 in April, so he will likely need to be replaced when his contract expires at the end of the 2012 season.

If the Cowboys draft a DE in the first 2 or 3 rounds, either Coleman or Hatcher could very well lose his job as a starter.

Marcus Spears (July, 2011: Signed a five-year, $19.2 million contract. $3.5 million signing bonus.) He lost his starting role to Hatcher. In some ways, Spears plays very similar to Coleman. He is fairly effective against the run, but he gets no pressure as a pash-rusher. He makes a lot more money than any of the other linemen except Ratliff.  He is 28, so he should have a few years left in the tank.

Sean Lissemore (July, 2010: Signed a four-year, $1.839 million contract; $48,600 signing bonus.) & Josh Brent (July/2010: Signed a four-year, $1.838 million contract; $47,500 signing bonus.) Both of these players were ‘projects'(drafted in the 7th round), and both of them are continuing to make significant progress. As was mentioned above, Lissemore played well enough to earn himself more playing time in the second half of the season. Lissemore also flashed signs of being able to get pressure on the QB. Brent’s presence in the middle was missed on running downs when he was injured. If they continue to improve, their respective playing team will increase accordingly, but I don’t think that either is capable of being a full time starter next year.

Clifton Geathers is an exclusive rights free agent. He is a developmental player who did not see a lot of action this season.

On January, 2, 2012, the Cowboys signed Robert Callaway (Defensive Lineman) to a reserve/future contract. He is a 6’5 312 pound DT; he 23 years old.

Click on the link to read about the OLB’s.

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