How small are the Cowboys’ DEs in comparison to the rest of the 4-3 teams around the league?

I think we already know that DeMarcus Ware (254) and Anthony Spencer (250) are going to be undersized DEs with the Cowboys’ move to the 4-3, but I’m not sure there’s an understanding of how big a difference their listed weights compare to the rest of the NFL’s 4-3 defensive ends. Projected starting defensive ends and listed weights, via Ourlads’ depth charts:

4-3 DE weights

  1. How effectively can the Cowboys stop the run with two very undersized starting DEs?
  2. Ware and Spencer will be taking on OTs at the point of attack who outweigh them by 50-80 pounds with far more regularity than they were used to in the 3-4. How well will they hold up in the second half of the season?
  3. And how might that added physical toll affect their ability to rush the passer?

To be determined…


  1. […] although none of them are particularly big. As noted earlier this week, the Cowboys have the smallest set of 4-3 DEs in the league. It appears that the new defense under Monte Kiffin will heavily favor speed over […]

  2. blarghlblarghlblah says:

    According to Pro Football Reference, Ware is 247 and Spencer is 261. Not sure which site is more accurate. But according to the same site, in 2002 Simeon Rice as 268 and Greg Spires was 265, and I’d say they did all right.

    So by those numbers Spencer’s not too far off, and I’d imagine part of their offseason plan (Ware especially) is to try and bulk up. Now, I’m not saying this won’t be a problem, I’m just not going to fret too much about it until we get closer to training camp and they’re still at the same weight. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic, just sort of in “wait and see” mode.

    1. Keep in mind that the Bucs had 2 great DTs, including the best one in the NFL.

      1. blarghlblarghlblah says:

        Hey, we’ve got at least one really good DT! …for the two or so games a year he’s fully healthy and not getting in screaming matches with the owner in the locker room.

        … 🙁

        1. Ha, I actually tried to ask him a question likely no more than 20 minutes after that incident occurred (having no knowledge of what happened). He basically told me to eff off (although not in those words).

    2. poolboy87 says:

      Hmm…just googling their weight puts Ware at 260 and Spencer at 257.

      The one thing that really and truly worries me about Ware is that he just had shoulder surgery. How’s that going to effect his transition to DE if he does indeed want to add weight, or if they wanted him to focus on strengthening a particular area?

      1., ESPN, and Ourlads all have them at 254 and 250. Obviously, weight fluctuates, so there’s always going to be some level of untrustworthiness there.

        1. poolboy87 says:

          Oh yeah, totally. Though, I suppose that adds a little bit to the idea of them being able to add the weight if the coaches/trainers think it beneficial/necessary.

    3. sam menges says:

      Size is not Demarcus Ware’s problem. His problem is his inability to play through pain. The guy wasn’t just a non factor in that Skins game that ended the season, he was a liability.
      The Cowboys needed this type of performance from DWare….

      Instead they got nothing from him.

      1. TJ says:

        Not everybody can be Justin Tuck. Haha

        1. sam menges says:

          What does Justin Tuck have anything to do with my comment? Watch the vid.
          It’s LT playing with the same injury Ware had & dominating throughout the game.

          1. boyfromoz says:

            Ware had multiple injuries last season and has proven to be one of the most durable and consistent pass rushers in the game. You really have no basis for a pretty insulting comment for a guy that has barely missed a start in his entire career in a high impact position. Show me the medical reports that say they were the same injury to the same degree. Plus then factor in his elbow and neck issues.

            1. sam menges says:

              LT’s shoulder separated 5 times in that game! He would hustle over to the sideline & have the medical staff pop it back into place….then go right back out there and make huge play after huge play.

  3. ct17 says:

    Most people only think of Seattle in this regard, but it is interesting how many teams have started moving DTs out to DE for run downs.

    And Buffalo is back to a 3-4. Idiots.

  4. poolboy87 says:

    I’m hoping that Tyrone Crawford and Jason Hatcher are going to be heavily rotated in. Actually, I was hoping that Anthony Spencer gets traded, but that’s another story entirely (yay! The Cowboys are about to sign ANOTHER player through his mid-30s!). I think we’ll see Ware and Spencer’s snap numbers drop down from the nearly ~850 that they’ve played last years, which will hopefully help them compensate for playing closer in.

    Not to mention that if they’re able to throw on about 10/15, it wouldn’t appear quite as egregious. No idea if that’s going to happen, or how it would effect their game, but who knows. I’m just not sure that their playing weight as line-backers will be their playing weight as full-time DEs.

    All in all, I’m pretty curious to see how this transition is going to go for these guys. I think this move is definitely a good one for Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, and for Jay Ratliff, et al, so hopefully it works out well for their two best pass rushers as well.

  5. […] in 2009, before a couple of lackluster seasons in 2010 and 2011. Add in a positional switch that will make Spencer significantly undersized, and you begin to wonder if he can maintain his level of play from […]

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