Cowboys’ upcoming decision to franchise Anthony Spencer shows a lack of creativity in player personnel

After a few weeks of speculation on whether the Cowboys would slap Anthony Spencer with the franchise tag or not, it appears as though they’re finally ready to pull the trigger

The move makes almost no sense whatsoever, for a multitude of reasons:

1) Anthony Spencer is a below average starting 3-4 OLB

Of the 11 “true 3-4 teams” in the NFL, we’ll identify the starting OLB’s.  First, the players that typically play on the left side, the same side you’ll find Spencer:

Player Team Tackles Sacks FF INT
Connor Barwin Texans 47 11.5 1 0
LaMarr Woodley Steelers 39 9 0 1
Ryan Kerrigan Redskins 63 7.5 4 1
Ahmad Brooks 49ers 49 7 1 0
Jason Taylor Dolphins 18 7 1 1
Anthony Spencer Cowboys 66 6 4 0
Clay Matthews Packers 50 6 3 3
Justin Houston Chiefs 56 5.5 1 0
Shaun Phillips Chargers 42 3.5 0 2
Jamaal Westerman Jets 32 3.5 2 0
Clark Haggans Cardinals 46 3 1 0

I count 6 players I’d clearly rather have playing for me over Spencer:

  1. LaMarr Woodley – In the 3 years prior to the one listed above, Woodley had 10, 13.5, and 11.5 sacks.  No-brainer.
  2. Clay Matthews – Down year statistically for Matthews last year, but I think we can all agree this is a no-brainer as well.
  3. Shaun Phillips – Another guy with a down year statistically in 2011, but his body of work is far more accomplished than Spencer’s.  In the 5 years prior to this last one (when he became a full-time starter), he has averaged a little over 9 sacks per season.  Spencer’s career high is 6.
  4. Connor Barwin – Missed almost all of 2010, came back in 2011 (his 2nd full year in the league) with a vengeance.  11.5 sacks.
  5. Ryan Kerrigan – Kerrigan had a better season his rookie year than Spencer has had in any of his 5 years in the league.
  6. Justin Houston – Last 5 games with K.C. last year in his rookie season: 24 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF.  Give me the promising 23 year old over Spencer, please.

I count 4 examples where Spencer is the better option:

  1. Jason Taylor – He retired.
  2. Clark Haggans – Marginal starter, and 35 years old.
  3. Ahmad Brooks – Brooks hasn’t even started for most of his career (same number of seasons played as Spencer), and he has only 1.5 fewer sacks.  Still, I’ll take Spencer.
  4. Jamaal Westerman – I’ll be honest.  I barely recognize the name.

An now the guys that play the right side:

Player Team Tackles Sacks FF INT
DeMarcus Ware Cowboys 58 19.5 2 0
Aldon Smith 49ers 37 14 2 0
Tamba Hali Chiefs 66 12 4 0
Antwan Barnes Chargers 41 11 2 0
James Harrison Steelers 59 9 2 0
Brian Orakpo Redskins 59 9 3 0
Cameron Wake Dolphins 42 8.5 0 0
Sam Acho Cardinals 40 7 4 0
Brooks Reed Texans 45 6 0 0
Mario Williams Texans 11 5 1 0
Calvin Pace Jets 72 4.5 3 1
Erik Waldon Packers 60 3 2 0

I count 10 players from 9 teams I’d clearly rather have playing for me over Spencer:

  1. DeMarcus Ware – Obviously.
  2. Aldon Smith – Obviously.
  3. Tamba Hali – Obviously.
  4. James Harrison – Obviously.
  5. Brian Orakpo – Obviously.
  6. Cameron Wake – Obviously.
  7. Mario Williams – Obviously.
  8. Brooks Reed – Started when Williams was lost for the season after Week 5.  Matched Spencer’s career high in sack totals, and added 3.5 more in the playoffs.  Give me the young kid.
  9. Sam Acho – Acho did all of his damage in 11 games, after Joey Porter was lost for the season.  Impressive numbers for the rookie.
  10. Calvin Pace – Tough call here, but I’ll take Pace’s body of work over Spencer’s, although I don’t like that he’s 31 years old.

I count 2 examples where Spencer is the better option:

  1. Antwan Barnes – Big numbers in 2011, but no production in his career otherwise.  I’d be wary of him being a one-year wonder.
  2. Erik Walden – Not a terrible player, but the Packers are probably comfortable just letting him walk.

Including Spencer, we’ve identified 23 OLB’s from 11 teams that play in a true 3-4.  You may disagree with a player here or there, but I’d have Spencer ranked 17th among that group in terms of “What player would I rather have?”  By definition, I would consider Spencer a “below average starter.”

2) $8.8 million is a lot of money

We already know that, of course, but let’s put that number in perspective:

  • If the Cowboys franchise tag Anthony Spencer, he’ll be the third highest paid player on the team.  Third!  The only players with a higher cap number would be Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware.
  • Early cap projections have the salary cap at somewhere in the ballpark of $120 million.  On a team of 53 players, Anthony Spencer would be eating up 7.3% of your cap for the 2012 season.
  • Take that $120 million number, divide it by 53 players, and you’re looking at an average of $2.26 million per player.  Spencer would be making almost 4 times more than the average.

3) Victor Butler has outperformed Anthony Spencer in the opportunities he has gotten

Do with these numbers what you will. I want to be careful not to make the claim that Victor Butler is the better player (I think both players have their strengths and weaknesses), or that he’s even starting material, but here’s a quick comparison of Anthony Spencer and his backup over the last 3 seasons:

Anthony Spencer Snaps Tackles Sacks FF
2011 939 66 6 4
2010 952 63 5 2
2009 1113 79 8 2
Total 3004 208 19 8
Victor Butler Snaps Tackles Sacks FF
2011 233 23 3 0
2010 158 24 2 1
2009 123 17 3 1
Total 514 *64 8 2
Comparison Snaps Tackles Sacks FF
Butler projected over 3004 snaps 3004 *374 46.8 11.7
Spencer in 3004 snaps 3004 *208 19 8

*The tackle numbers for each player include any tackles made on special teams, which do not count as snaps. Obviously, Butler would have more of those, and thus, the tackle projections could be slightly skewed.

I’ve seen the argument made that Victor Butler has gotten the overwhelming majority of his snaps as a pass rush specialist.  Not so.  According to Pro Football Focus, Butler rushed the passer on just 53.7% of his snaps since he’s been in the league.  On the others, he was either playing the run or dropping back in coverage.

I’ve also seen the argument that Anthony Spencer is much bigger than Victor Butler, and Butler will get run over in the run game.  While playing the run be very well be a weakness for Butler, the point that he’s considerably smaller than Spencer simply isn’t true.  Spencer is listed at 6’3, 257.  Butler is listed at 6’2, 249.  That’s a difference of 1 inch and 8 pounds.

4) If your scouting department is doing their job, you can find immediate contributors at OLB in the draft

Not in love with Victor Butler?  OK, I can certainly understand that.  In the 2011 draft, there were 5 players drafted in the first 4 rounds with the intent of playing OLB in a 3-4 scheme.  I’m not omitting anyone here, and simply cherry-picking players that produced.  This is all of them:

Player Team Round Overall Tackles Sacks FF INT
Aldon Smith 49ers 1 7 37 14 2 0
Ryan Kerrigan Redskins 1 16 63 7.5 4 1
Brooks Reed Texans 2 42 45 6 0 0
Justin Houston Chiefs 3 70 56 5.5 1 0
Sam Acho Cardinals 4 103 40 7 4 0

The success rate isn’t going to be this great every year, but it’s certainly worth noting that OLB isn’t a position like QB, WR, CB, or S, where the learning curve from the college ranks to the NFL is much more steep.  The trick is… Can you pick the right guy?  If you believe in your scouting department, you should feel confident that you can identify that player, especially in this year’s draft class, which is deep at OLB.  If you don’t believe in your scouting department, then, well.. you’ve got much bigger problems to worry about.

5) What if you franchise tag Anthony Spencer and he finally produces for a full season in 2012?

Great!  That’s the best case scenario.  Finally, “Almost Anthony” will have shed the “almost” from his alliterative nickname.  But here’s the rub… He’ll be a free agent again in 2013.  Wanna tag him again?  You can, but it’ll cost you 120% of his salary from the previous season, or $10,560,000.  Now you’re opening up a whole new can of worms.  Do you pay a guy $10.56 million (or perhaps even a long term mega-deal) to a player with one good full season?  I guess it would depend on how good he actually was, but once again it would likely be another really tough decision.

So what are the options?

First of all, let’s examine why people think Spencer should be franchised in the first place. The logic is that the Cowboys can delay a decision on Spencer for a year, avoid opening up a new hole at OLB, while filling the holes around him with the draft and the remaining money left over under the cap. That essentially makes Anthony Spencer a “band-aid,” and a very expensive one at that. The issue that I take with that sentiment is that band-aids are available all over the place, and for a much lower cost.

For example, Andre Carter is a free agent. He had a very manageable $2.25 million contract last year in New England, and here were his numbers:

Andre Carter Tackles Sacks FF
2011 52 10 2

Andre Carter turns 33 years old in May. He can be had for far less than what you’d pay Anthony Spencer, and you can ride him for a year or so while you find a long term solution.

Or maybe you take a chance on Manny Lawson? After being a first round pick in 2006, he’s been a starter for the last 4 years in San Francisco and Cincinnati. Last year he played on a one year contract worth $3 million. Is he better than Spencer? I think most people would say no. But he’d come at less than half the cost, and combined with Victor Butler, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to equal Spencer’s production.

Those are just two examples. There are solutions out there, be it a veteran rental like Carter, a promotion for Butler, an under-the-radar player with some upside like Lawson, a rookie draft pick, or some sort of combination of two or more of the above. Any way you go, you’re not paying anything close to $8.8 million and you’re probably not going to lose much production.

Conclusion

The bottom line remains that tagging a below average 3-4 OLB at $8.8 million when you may have a capable backup in place, a deep draft class at the position, a boatload of other holes to fill on both sides of the ball, and limited cap space makes no sense whatsoever, and shows a complete lack of creativity in filling out a football roster.

You can follow Jimmy on twitter: @Jimmy_Beast.

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  19. [...] it on Anthony Spencer. Yes, that’s the Anthony Spencer whose career high is 6 sacks. JimmyK wrote about the shortsightedness of the Cowboys placing the tag on Spencer last [...]

  20. Mike says:

    First off you cant compare him to the weak side linebackers, which would be the best of the best in the league, he doesnt play that position, you cant compare a PG to a SG in basketball, they are both guards but have much different roles. He has the most tackles on that list and tied for the most forced fumbles, which are crucial game changing plays in NFL. He is 1.5 sacks away from being top 3 and 1 away from being top 5. Im not saying that he deserves 8.8m because he doesnt but the point here is that there are no replacements for him currently on the roster. None of the OLB from the draft are going to produce his level of production year 1. People dont know football, he is a good player, a $8.8m/yr player? NO, but a good player YES! The reason they franchised him is because he is one of the best at his position and Dallas knows he would have been offered a large contract and played elsewhere this year. This article is not valid and means absolutely nothing in real life, bloggers who cut and paste stats and have never played the game, sacks arent everything!

    1. Mike says:

      If bringing the guy carrying the football down doesnt mean anything anymore I dont know what does! And yes he did say that he mailed it in last year from time to time, but that was after he watched film of himself, and noticed how he could be better, and work harder! Most guys would watch film why texting their dealer or hooker for the night and not say anything. At least hes man enough to notice his flaws and mention to the public that he can do better!

    2. Mike says:

      BTW, Spencer had 2 Int’s last year, putting him 2nd in that category, and lets not forget about his block kick that helped win us the Seattle game!

      1. I’m not sure where you’re finding all these stats, that are just flat out wrong.

        http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/10470/anthony-spencer

  21. Maddhatter says:

    Just from an analysis standpoint, this article is awful.
    At point one, you share the statistics of the OLB that play in the 3-4 and then proceed to disregard them in your analysis, instead choosing no less than 6 players that recorded the same or few sacks. Saying he is a below average starting OLB is not supported by any information you’ve provided. In fact, based on the stats you provided, Spencer is an average starting OLB.
    For point two, cap room that Spencer takes up is a poor measure. It sounds like before everything is said and done, he will take up the most cap room (i.e. Romo and Ware rework their contract to increase cap space for this year), but who cares? The real question is with the available cap room the Boys have, can they fill the holes they need to become a better team? Is tagging Spencer really going to affect the Boys from going after the FAs they want? That, as a fan, is what I want to know and care about from this franchise tag move.
    For point three, your projection has Butler getting 12 sacks in 2011. In other words, he was going to be more productive than any other OLB on the left side and all but two (possibly 3) on the right side. Really?
    With that being said, I’m good with your draft analysis. I don’t know if tagging Spencer was the right decision, but I’m not convinced that there were enough options out there for the Boys. Maybe we’ll upgrade out secondary in FA and be able to draft a pass rusher in the first round. If so, than the tag might turn out to be a waste. If nothing else, tagging Spencer let’s the Boys know what they have at the OLB. This should allow them to focus their FA spending on the areas that desperately need to be upgraded and follow it up by drafting the best player available.

    1. “At point one, you share the statistics of the OLB that play in the 3-4 and then proceed to disregard them in your analysis, instead choosing no less than 6 players that recorded the same or few sacks. Saying he is a below average starting OLB is not supported by any information you’ve provided. In fact, based on the stats you provided, Spencer is an average starting OLB.”

      Players with the same or fewer sacks than Spencer in 2011, that I noted I’d rather have include Clay Matthews, Justin Houston, Shaun Phillips, Calvin Pace, Brooks Reed and Mario Williams. I gave my reasoning for each of them. Some of them are debatable (Houston, Phillips, Pace), some aren’t (Williams, Matthews). As I noted in the article, that’s a matter of opinion, and in my opinion, I’d rather have the 17 players I mentioned over Spencer. Other opinions may vary. I’m curious who among the players I mentioned you’d pass up for Spencer.

      “For point two, cap room that Spencer takes up is a poor measure. It sounds like before everything is said and done, he will take up the most cap room (i.e. Romo and Ware rework their contract to increase cap space for this year), but who cares?”

      Wow.

      “The real question is with the available cap room the Boys have, can they fill the holes they need to become a better team?”

      Not as effectively, no.

      “Is tagging Spencer really going to affect the Boys from going after the FAs they want?”

      Yes.

      “That, as a fan, is what I want to know and care about from this franchise tag move.”

      Apologies. I just answered that for you above. I often give my readers’ collective intelligence the benefit of the doubt, and allow them to connect the obvious dots. In this case, that approach backfired.

      “For point three, your projection has Butler getting 12 sacks in 2011.”

      I never said Butler would have had 12 sacks in 2011. Show me where it says that, please. I merely showed what his production has been in the snaps he has played, and using math, projected those numbers to what they would be with Spencer’s playing time / production.

      1. Mike says:

        “I never said Butler would have had 12 sacks in 2011. Show me where it says that, please. I merely showed what his production has been in the snaps he has played, and using math, projected those numbers to what they would be with Spencer’s playing time / production.”

        Which is exactly why this article is full of just flat out awful analysis. You cherry pick a ton of numbers, throw them out there at face value, and pretend that they tell the whole story. Where’s the snap count for each and every one of these players? Pressure rates? Sacks aren’t necessarily the best or most important pressure stats in the first place.

        For example, you throw out Victor Butlers projected stat and tackle numbers like he and Spencer play the same type of snaps, but that’s just flat out not true. Victor Butler is not built to stop the run, and they played him like it. How many more snaps did he get in obvious passing downs? How many of those snaps did Spencer get? Playing opposite D-Ware, how often did Spencer get saddled with the responsibility of watching for the run first?

        Beyond that, you throw out a bunch of names, then portray most of them as being “clearly” better than Spencer…when for the most part they’re on par. If you think that 2-3 sacks difference over the course of 950 snaps is that big of a difference, then you’re wrong. Beyond that, you completely ignore the fact that Spencer is tied for second as far as tackles (which you would expect for somebody given the primary duty of stopping the run) and tied for first for forced fumbles.

        Seems to me that you took a bias of yours, and then started throwing out numbers to give you some support. The fact that you use Manny Lawson and Andre Carter as “creative” solutions is just flat out ridiculous. Those are neither creative, nor solutions.

        You say it’s a deep draft class at the position. Great! Let’s get some young talent in there, and if they perform, then Spencer isn’t back next year. But Spencer is a great safety net, that can perform about on-par with what you’d expect from the position.

        1. Which is exactly why this article is full of just flat out awful analysis. You cherry pick a ton of numbers, throw them out there at face value, and pretend that they tell the whole story. Where’s the snap count for each and every one of these players? Pressure rates? Sacks aren’t necessarily the best or most important pressure stats in the first place.

          I’m not cherry picking anything. If I were cherry picking, you’d have seen the forced fumbles omitted. Spencer’s snap count is definitely on the higher end of the players mentioned, which doesn’t help his case.

          For example, you throw out Victor Butlers projected stat and tackle numbers like he and Spencer play the same type of snaps, but that’s just flat out not true. Victor Butler is not built to stop the run, and they played him like it. How many more snaps did he get in obvious passing downs? How many of those snaps did Spencer get? Playing opposite D-Ware, how often did Spencer get saddled with the responsibility of watching for the run first?

          In case you missed it in the post (and obviously you did), Butler only rushed the passer on 53.7% of his snaps. Not mentioned in the post is that Spencer rushed the passer 403 times in 2011. Butler only rushed the passer 126 times. But whatever. And I love the argument that Spencer’s production SUFFERED because DeMarcus Ware is on the other side. Laughable. Spencer routinely gets favorable matchups, and still doesn’t produce.

          You throw out a bunch of names, then portray most of them as being “clearly” better than Spencer…when for the most part they’re on par.

          They are clearly better. Name the ones I noted as clearly better that aren’t. Seriously. Let’s hear them.

          you completely ignore the fact that Spencer is tied for second as far as tackles (which you would expect for somebody given the primary duty of stopping the run) and tied for first for forced fumbles.

          He also led all 3-4 OLB’s in missed tackles. I would have included that, but it just seemed like overkill.

          You say it’s a deep draft class at the position. Great! Let’s get some young talent in there, and if they perform, then Spencer isn’t back next year. But Spencer is a great safety net, that can perform about on-par with what you’d expect from the position.

          Hooray for 8.8 million dollar safety nets!

          1. 312Goose says:

            you did lead out TFLs which is another category he leads. While not a Franchise player he is certainly at worst average.

            1. Looked for those numbers. Found one source I didn’t trust. That source had Spencer as nowhere close to the league lead in TFL’s. I’d be interested in knowing where you’re getting your numbers for future reference.

            2. Mike says:

              “I’m not cherry picking anything. If I were cherry picking, you’d have seen the forced fumbles omitted. Spencer’s snap count is definitely on the higher end of the players mentioned, which doesn’t help his case.”

              Yet you convenietly ommitted pressures. D-Ware led the team with 40, and Spencer wasn’t too far behind with 31. Pressures are a MUCH better indicator of how good a player is at rushing the passer than sacks, because luck factors into sacks. Where are the pressure numbers? As 312Goose said, why not mention his tackles for loss?

              “And I love the argument that Spencer’s production SUFFERED because DeMarcus Ware is on the other side. Laughable. Spencer routinely gets favorable matchups, and still doesn’t produce.”

              I never said his PRODUCTION suffered. You’re the one who seems to think that the only way to measure an OLB in the 3-4 is sacks. I said his RESPONSIBILITIES were different. Because if you’re left with choosing between D-Ware and Spencer rushing the passer and you want to see Spencer doing that…than you’re beyond help. How often was Spencer left with the responsibility of covering the flat? Or sealing the edge in case of run?

              As far as comparing him with Butler, the fact that you even included something that would project Butler averaging 125 tackles and 16 sacks a season if given 1000 snaps should have been a red flag that, MAYBE those numbers weren’t really comparable.

              “They are clearly better. Name the ones I noted as clearly better that aren’t. Seriously. Let’s hear them.”

              Shaun Phillips – First of all, not sure where you got that he’s averaged a little over 9 sacks per season, but that number is actually 7.5 sacks. He’s only BROKEN 9 sacks twice in his 8 seasons.

              Ryan Kerrigan – Played more snaps than Spencer, and recorded roughly the same numbers.

              Justin Houston – First 11 weeks 28 tackles, 0 FF, 0 Sacks

              There are others that I’d argue beyond these, but I feel I’ve made my point.

              “Hooray for 8.8 million dollar safety nets!”

              You’re right. Let’s just cross our fingers with Victor Butler and Manny Lawson.

              Anthony Spencer is a solid players who does a lot of things well. If you REALLY want to increase the pass rush? Why don’t we work on the defensive line and inside backers. Those 5 positions (not even 5 players…5 POSITIONS) produced a total of 10 sacks. 3 extra sacks from our OLB opposite Ware isn’t what’s missing.

          2. Craig C says:

            Hooray for 8.8 million dollar safety nets!

            Lol, classic Jimmy smackdown.

            1. Ha, well I’d prefer not to get into these pissing contests, and am always up for intelligent debate with people that have taken the time to read something I’ve written. But when the first sentiment is “your analysis sucks,” I have no interest in you as a reader.

  22. Free Plax says:

    LOL @ Jerry Jones as GM. As an opponent of the Cowboys I am certainly glad the cowboys decided they had to franchise tag a JAG. Funny thing is who is going to bid for Spencer’s services other than the Cowboys that would drive his price up that high.

    I can’t wait to see what they do with Newman.

    1. slandog says:

      Newman has to be replaced, he was a target last season. Every QB was successful going at him too. If he wants to stay as #3 or #4 CB that is fine, he’s like another coach on the field, but he’s not a starter anymore.

  23. [...] much here, but it should be noted that the Cowboys will be limited with what they do in free agency if they tag Anthony Spencer, as [...]

  24. romo2dez says:

    The real problem I see is if the cowboys resign him and don’t upgrade the front seven by adding a solid freeagent (forget rookies they probably wont contribute the first year Aldon smith is an anomaly).Then they probably won’t even have a chance at winning the division because they can’t compete with the pressure NY, Philly & even the skins bring. Also America’s Fanbase I Hate the skins as much as the next guy but u can’t short them a super bowl they got three not two.

  25. Chandus says:

    Uh, Jimmy, for your information Andre Carter played mostly with his hand on the ground as a DE in the Pats 4-man front. In the offseason Belichik made the move to more 4-man fronts.

    Andre Carter kind of sucks as a standing up OLB, which is why he’s no longer a Redskin.

    And Manny Lawson sucks so bad that it’s funny that you’re mentioning him…

    The team is going to give him the tag as an insurance policy if they can’t land someone in Free Agency. If they land someone in the Draft they may very well take back the tag and make him a Free Agent, or use them both.

    1. Josh says:

      If he signs the tag, the cowboys can’t take it back.

      1. Chandus says:

        Sure, but why would he sign it now? Because he wants that guaranteed money? The guy can get more guaranteed money as a Free Agent… And it isn’t as if he’s going to participate in any OTA or camp, as far as I know no tagged player has participated in such, pretty much all of them tend to wait for Training Camp and some sign to be able to go.

        Some wait even after TC.

        So, again, why would he sign it now?

        1. So Spencer is going to just sit around for a few months while the Cowboys shop for his replacement? And then if they find it, he’s a goner and all the other teams that might have had a shred of interest have already addressed the position? I think you just answered your own question on why he’d sign the tender.

          What kind of message is that, by the way? It’s like telling the dorky girl that lives next door, “You want to go to the prom with me? Great. Ok, just hang tight. I’m going to ask a few other hotter girls first and if they shoot me down, we’re good to go. So do me a favor… Just sit by the phone and wait for my call. Oh, and don’t talk to anyone in the meantime.”

          That’s not how life works.

          Players that dont sign the tag are typically bummed about it because they’re missing the chance to get huge dollars on the opfn market. Spencer’s case is different. Who’s going to be lining up to pay him beaucoup dollars? That a serious question. What team out there is going to give him a better deal than $8.8 for one year? If I’m Spencer’s agent, I’m advising him to sign that thing instantly. No way in hell he’s getting anything close to $8.8M per season on the open market. None. If Spencer believes he can play, why not go out, make your bigtime $8.8, put together a big season, and hit the market again in 2013?

          As for Carter/Lawson, those are just two examples. Don’t like them? That’s fine. Do your own shopping on the open market. I’m personally not a huge fan of either player myself. But I’m a much bigger fan of paying guys like that $2-3 million to split time with Victor Butler and try to put them in spots to succeed for me than paying Spencer $8.8. Do the Cowboys not utilize 4 man fronts?

  26. Giants 4rings,Skins2.Cowboys 5rings,Eagles 0 & there it is

    1. slandog says:

      Very good, but where is that relevant to the article?

    2. Gary says:

      This is how you know a Cowboys fan has no argument.

      1. D3Keith says:

        Yeah it is.

        God forbid the Eagles ever win and these dudes have to come up with actual arguments and original comebacks.

  27. Sad Cowboy Fan says:

    What a great analysis of a sad situation developing. JJ continues to make horrific decisions which keep the Cowboys in the cellar. Anthony Spencer should be free to leave. JJ should hold the door open for him on his way out…..instead, we may be handcuffed to this chump for a year or five. Pathetic. I was actually hoping this season would take us away from the horrible defenses of the last two years. This may be my last season as an NFL fan. I’m ready to drop the Cowboys, and I will never root for another team.

  28. WeNeedLinemen says:

    As a Skins fan I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for Andre Carter. He’s hard worker, a good team player and is a very effective 4-3 end. However, his two attempts to convert to a 3-4 OLB have both gone badly. He struggles in coverage and he also loses a lot from his pass rush whenever he comes out of a two-point stance.

    I cannot imagine him wanting to play for a 3-4 team and no 3-4 team should be looking at him. Personally, I think he will want to resign with the Pats. They used him as a down linemen, are not afraid to keep older players and stand a good chance of competing for a ring again, for as long as Brady continues to play.

  29. Creasy729 says:

    Great post. And as a Cowboys fan, it saddens me that you are so correct.

  30. Cowboy Scout says:

    Mario Williams,D. Ware,D. Poe now who”s behind da Curve!!11111

    1. slandog says:

      Haha, that just isn’t going to happen. Williams will be franchised for sure now that Foster agreed.

      Wishful thinking though, so you’re still behind the curve “Scout”

  31. Craig C says:

    5 star article. Well done Kempski.

  32. BBI says:

    YAY for the rest of the East.

    You look at the top pass rushers on each squad:

    Giants: JPP, Tuck, Osi, Kiwanuka
    Eagles: Babin, Cole, Jenkins
    Cowboys: Ware, Spencer, Ratliff
    Redskins: Orakpo, Cofield, Kerrigan

    You are looking at at least 3 premier passrushers per squad except for the Cowboys (and maybe the Skins). On top of that, Ratliff ain’t getting any younger and hasn’t had a good year.

    The Cowboys are clearly behind the curve.

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