According to all the experts, doom and gloom is on the horizon for the Dallas Cowboys and their miserable defense. However, I believe this defense can actually improve from last year. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is a great defensive mind who will get players in a position to succeed.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton was a prized free agent who should help pressure the opposing quarterbacks. I even believe the trade for middle linebacker Rolando McClain was a great move. With all that being said, there is someone else who I believe will end the season as the most valuable defender for the team.
The forgotten man in all this defensive talk is the man who actually outplayed former defensive end DeMarcus Ware (now of the Denver Broncos) in 2012. That’s right, defensive end Anthony Spencer will be the best defender for Dallas when the 2014 season is done.
In 2012, Spencer was a beast recording 95 tackles and 11.0 sacks. I was ecstatic in 2013 when the team switched from a three man front to a four. I believed Spencer was being misused as a linebacker, often dropping into pass coverage rather than blitzing. Sadly, injury took him away after only a few snaps, and the Purdue product was never able to show his impact when focused solely on rushing the passer.
The Cowboys have had nothing but bad news in recent years with hurt players. That may have changed as Spencer was put on the active 53 man roster, hinting at him returning sooner than expected from the dreaded micro fracture knee surgery. This bit of news got no play in media outlets, but by years end I predict it will be quite the topic.
Spencer recently claimed on the team’s website that the defense will improve dramatically from last year.
“I believe that this defense is going to surprise a lot of people in the things that we’re going to be able to do and that we are going to do. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and being a part of this defense.” – Anthony Spencer
Call me crazy if you want, but I believe him. And if Dallas can get even as much as twelve games out of Spencer he should produce double digit sacks. On top of his ability to pressure the signal callers, Anthony has always been the best run stopper along the defensive line as well for the Boys. The combination of pass rush and run stuffing will be more than enough to get Anthony Spencer labeled as the defender of the year as far as Dallas is concerned.