Upgraded secondary may not help Anthony Spencer

In thinking about how much the Cowboys upgrading the secondary may help the pass rush I decided to go pull all of Anthony Spencer’s sacks from 2011…

I really have been trying to find a way to convince myself Anthony Spencer is worth the franchise tag he will be playing under in 2012.

He has no pass rushing skills to make me think he’s going to dramatically improve his sack total this season. For about a month or so I was saying he may finally come up with a 10 sack season. But watch the film. He could have two Deion Sanders out there at CB and I don’t see how his pass rush skills wow us in Rob Ryan’s scheme this year.

Let’s hope guys like Victor Butler, Kyle Wilber and Adrian Hamilton are ready to get more playing time and they can go get the QB.


About dcfanaticsblog

Love the Dallas Cowboys.
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23 Responses to Upgraded secondary may not help Anthony Spencer

  1. Martin says:

    Sack numbers are obviously nice to have — as they are negative plays for the opposing offense. However, as you have displayed, it can be a ‘flukey’ sort of statistic at times. Spencer gets pressure and plays well in all other facets of the defense. He’s been in the league since ’07. He is what he is: an above average linebacker that plays consistent football. I doubt he will ever be a double-digit sack guy.

    • Then he should not be playing OLB opposite DeMarcus Ware. He gets some sacks with help from others.

      Where the times when his ability to get in the backfield helps others gets sacks?

      That’s the problem. He doesnt get pressure on a consistent basis and that’s his job on passing downs. When your defense can’t get off the field on 3rd downs you wind up missing the playoffs.

      • Martin says:

        It’s completely asinine to suggest that because Spencer can’t get 10+ sacks playing opposite Ware, he shouldn’t be playing at all. Not all tackles in this league are chumps. Some are going to be able to hold their own against the likes of Spencer. Just as some hold their own against Ware, too. Spencer does get pressure. What was he, second on the team with 30-odd pressures?
        Could the defense benefit from a more superior pass-rusher? Of course. But we all know that it wasn’t the pass-rush that kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs. It was the secondary.

        • Is this Jerry Jones? lol.

          WHY ARE YOU PAYING $8 MIL A YEAR FOR AVERAGE!!! That’s why the team is 8-8!

          When guys like Newman are making $8 mil a season and you have no money to upgrade other positions the team is going to suck.

          • Martin says:

            First of all, he’s above average. I hope we can agree on that. Secondly, there is no other option. Spencer might not be quite worth $8.8 million a season, but if not Spencer, then who? Victor Butler? The Cowboys are better off with Spencer, than without him, and some other journeyman pass-rusher they picked off the street. The Cowboys were never going to be in play for Mario Williams, and they didn’t know how the draft was going to pan out. The Cowboys did the prudent thing and ensured another hole would not be created on the defense by letting Spencer walk. We live in a world of scarcity. The NFL is no different. The Cowboys upgraded the cornerback position at the expense of significantly upgrading others. You can’t have everything.

          • Glenn says:

            That’s been a big problem for us! I mentioned something earlier about the way the Steelers & NE handle things. Rare that a player gets a good contract from them and they never or almost never keep a player after his productivity has dropped.

        • Dee says:

          I’d say it was a combination of both the pass rush and the secondary that prevented the Cowboys from making the playoffs. The pass rush generated 42 sacks (which is good), but I rarely saw a sack in a critical moment of the game that put a team away. In the first Giants game, they registered NO sacks. In the Patriots game, they could have used a sack or two down the stretch to stop Brady from literally playing “pitch and catch” with his WRs as they marched down the field for the winning touchdown.

          “Pressures” are nice, but Dallas needs more sack production from Spencer if the defense is going to take a step towards playoff contention. The guy only has 21.5 sacks in four seasons as a starter; that’s not good enough, especially for a first round pick. He’s a medicore pass rusher.

          • Glenn says:

            You’re right, key sacks, on 3rd down or in the 4th quarter were missing all year. I”m still fuming over a sack by Ware where it put the Giants at 2nd or 3rd and 21, no problem! Wash Spencer and Ware to the outside, step up and take 30 yards and a first down! Go on and score, game over!

        • Glenn says:

          I realize that Spencer was 2nd in pressures, but really who else was in the hunt? Coleman, Ratliff, Spears & Hatcher? Not a great comparison. Forcing a QB to move off his spot, registers a “pressure”. When I watch Spencer rush vertical to the outside, he gets washed away way too often and the QB just steps up or inside him. Vick & Eli, do this to him constantly, but it gets him a “pressure”. It works out great for the opposition as the QB is now set in the inside of the pocket, provided they can wash or double Ware on the other side. If there was any type of pressure from Ratliff, et al, then someone would make life tough for the QB or someone would get the old “team” sack in theory. Lack of any pressure from the middle makes Spencer ineffective and actually a liability at times. If pressure is real and coming from the outside and the QB can’t step up comfortably, then you may get a shot at an INT. We don’t get that inside pressure therefore what is statistically rated a pressure is of no use to the play for our defense.

      • His job is not always to get pressure even on 3rd downs. He is often used in pass coverage.

        • Martin says:

          I know. When he does rush, however, he is still effective in applying pressure, speaking in absolutes.

        • Dee says:

          Not an excuse. James Harrison drops back into coverage just about as much as Spencer, but he still registers more sacks.

          • LL says:

            Thats a lie, Harrison goes foward 99% of the time. You should know thing before you just write nonsense..

            • Dee says:

              Oh really? Per Pro Football Focus, James Harrison dropped back into coverage on 151 snaps in 2011; Anthony Spencer dropped back into coverage 153 times. NOT a big difference. Harrison dropped back into coverage on TWO fewer snaps, but he registered 9 sacks.

              In 2011, Harrison rushed the passer a grand total of 235. Anthony Spencer rushed the passer a grand total of 403 times. How does Harrison rush the passer less than Spencer, drop back into coverage just as much as Spencer, but he somehow registers more sacks?

              In 2010, Harrison dropped back into coverage 263 times. Anthony Spencer dropped back 153. But somehow, Harrison still registered 11 sacks vs. Spencer’s 5.

              Don’t tell me that I don’t know anything. Seems that the person who should do his research is YOU. You assclowns need to stop making a bunch of lame ass excuses for Spencer. He’s good against the run, but he leaves ALOT to be desired when it comes to getting to the QB.

              • Martin says:

                You’re putting too much stock in sacks. It would be great if Spencer got more. But to condemn him as a quality player because he doesn’t, is ridiculous. Comparing him to James Harrison is also ludicrous — a former defensive player of the year. The reason he gets more sacks is because he’s a better player than Spencer. So yes, he will get more sacks from less opportunities, that’s not hard to comprehend. Does that mean Spencer is garbage? No, it doesn’t. He gets pressure and is an above average player. Not every player on the defense is going to be an All-Pro. Teams like the Steelers and Broncos are fortunate to have two elite-caliber pass-rushers, but that is obviously not the norm. Accept that and stop bashing on a player that is an above average starter in this league, and not the reason the Cowboys have missed the playoffs.

                • Dee says:

                  I didn’t say Spencer was garbage, but I do believe he leaves much to be desired as a pass rusher. Comparing him to Harrison is not ludicrous – the poster stated that Spencer is often used in pass coverage, so I searched for a player who is in pass coverage almost as frequently as Spencer but still posted better sack numbers. During my research, I discovered that Spencer actually rushes the passer MORE than Harrison, but he still manages to pale in comparison in the sack department. Therefore, Spencer has NO excuses for his minimal sack productivity.

                  I realize that there is more to an OLB than registering sacks, but I would think that a player who doesn’t draw nearly as much attention as Ware would tally more than 21.5 in nearly four seasons as a starter.

                  You Anthony Spencer apologists kill me with your weak arguments and excuses.

                  • Martin says:

                    Are you even reading my comments? I’m not apologizing for Spencer’s performance. I’m not even going to bother replying. You don’t know how to address a series of points. You’re just venting your frustration about Spencer’s frustration and trying to compare an above average player with an elite one, and stating that’s fair. Surely you can understand that.

                    • LL says:

                      Dee, Now that you wasted all your time using profootballfocus, research how inaccurate that site is..

  2. If you are attempting to understand the value Spencer adds to the defense, you are making a huge mistake by looking at sacks. He doesn’t rush the passer near as often as Ware, but he did play more snaps than Ware last year.

  3. Glenn says:

    IMO his “pressures” are from running to the outside shoulder of the tackle as he gets washed out of the play. He doesn’t appear to have any productive moves to the inside, so he’s the one trick pony. Because he loops from the outside he needs pressure up the middle to help him. Since that’s Ratliff’s turf, it’s rare that pressure comes up the gut. That’s why Spencer gets credit for pressures but rarely the “sack”. He’s good against the run is what you hear, but when I’m looking closely, how come he gets suckered inside and either the back bounces it outside or the QB has a nice open naked bootleg? That’s what disturbs me when he gets fooled.

    That last sack he was credited with he was in coverage, stepped up and technically it’s a sack. I really don’t know his value. On one hand I watch him and see a very ordinary player with little impact. Then when you see some stats comparing him to other at his position, he’s in the upper group. Just doesn’t seem to make an impact here. But to be fair, when in the last 2-3 years has anyone on this defense, stepped up an made some key plays. Last few time I saw that was D Ware against New Orleans where one player had a positive impact on more than one play.

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