Next I am going to move on to Anthony Spencer. he started the pre season injured then ended up on Injured Reserve, playing in only 1 game. This is a guy who in 2012 was our Defensive MVP. To say I had a lot of high hopes for Anthony would be an understatement. Two years in a row he got the Franchise Tag. One of the two years he earned it. Last year was not that year. As much as it pains me to say it, and I hate blaming injuries, he too gets an F. He can redeem himself this year by signing a cap friendly contract and doing the job he was paid to do last year.
Next comes the guy who was our Defensive MVP in 2013, Jason Hatcher. He had his best season in his Free Agent year. There will be a lot of discussion on whether to Franchise him, let him go, bring him back and at what cost? I would love to see him come back. I would prefer it be a reasonable contract, not some outlandish price tag given his age, but that isn’t the real world. He has every right to expect a decent salary after the year he had in 2013. Quite frankly he is the only guy on Defense who was a difference maker. I am going to give him an A-. No one else will be as high as that.
The guy who we all feel should always be above that is DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys all time sacks leader. A probable first ballot Hall of Famer some day. Ware still got pressure on the Quarterback as good as anyone in the NFL, but he didn’t get all the way to him like he has always been capable of doing. Multiple injuries were mostly to blame and he missed time for the first time in his career. I sort of expect him to be an automatic candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He wasn’t even lingering in the shadows of that last year. He is without a doubt one of my all time favorite players in Cowboys History, but he gets a C from me. 6 sacks. It just isn’t good enough in any sense of the word. Yeah, he pressured the QB. But when you look at expectations versus production, it is a gap. He was average at best. That is the best I can give him.
Tyrone Crawford was supposed to be an integral part of our Defensive Line. So was Josh Brent. One got injured and the other got drunk. Rest in peace, Jerry Brown. Suddenly an area of potential strength was suspect. Brent retired, Crawford kicked the walking habit, and hamstrings popped. One of the loudest may have been Ben Bass’. He was versatile. A guy who could fill in across the 4 positions. Not from his couch though. All of which left Cowboys fans rending their clothes and shrieking. The dream line with 2 good productive backups became a revolving door.