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An early look at the Cowboys 2012 defense

When it came to the Cowboys defense in 2011 not much could be counted on except for allowing fourth quarter leads to disappear.  There are big changes coming for the defense in 2012 as the Cowboys focused on rebuilding the secondary this off season.

The Cowboys were very aggressive in free agency this off season. Their first signing was cornerback Brandon Carr from Kansas City who will replace Terence Newman who was released. They then signed linebacker Dan Connor from Carolina and safety Brodney Pool from the Jets. Connor looks to do battle with Bruce Carter for other inside linebacker position next to Sean Lee. The Cowboys also decided to franchise Anthony Spencer, who will play the 2012 season without being offered a long term deal. In the draft they went heavy on the defensive side of the ball. In a move that surprised everyone the Cowboys traded up eight spots and grabbed cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU. They also drafted defensive end Tyrone Crawford, linebackers Kyle Wilber and Caleb McSurly to go along with safety Matt Johnson. Time will tell if any of these draft picks will work out, but excitement is high and fans can’t wait to find out.

Looking at the new Cowboys secondary, Brandon Carr and Morris Caliborne take over at the corners. Adding to the depth at cornerback is Mike Jenkins who is trying to come back after off season shoulder surgery. Word out of Cowboys camp is that Jenkins would like to be traded, but Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have made it clear that it’s not an option, at least not right now. Orlando Scandrick returns as the slot corner, but may face some competition from Jenkins once training camp starts if Jenkins is cleared by doctors to practice. The Cowboys were 23rd in passing defense in 2011 and opposing receivers seemed to have their way with the Cowboys on a weekly basis. Hopefully with all the changes to the secondary it will mean better coverage and more success. 

At safety Gerard Sensabaugh comes back after signing a contract extension. At the other safety spot it looks to be a battle with Brodney Pool and Barry Church. The Cowboys are also hoping that fourth round draft pick Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington can add some excitement to the safety position and hopefully develop into a starter.

As with any defense that plays the 3-4 alignment the Cowboys are stocked with linebackers. First and foremost they have DeMarcus Ware who seems to get better and better every season. On the other side is Anthony Spencer, with Victor Butler and Alex Albright as the backups right now. Add in the newest linebacker Kyle Wilber who the Cowboys selected in the fourth round from Wake Forest and looks to contribute this season. Inside will be Sean Lee who had a breakout season in 2011 and has become the team leader. Next to him is anyone’s guess at this point. Bradie James and Keith Brookings are gone and the Cowboys are looking to see who will step up to replace them. Bruce Carter is now fully recovered from knee surgery, but can he get back to where he was in college before the injury? Dan Connor was brought in and would like nothing more than to start alongside Lee who he played with in college at Penn St. Orie Lemon adds depth as well as rookies Caleb McSurdy from Montana and Adrian Hamilton from Prairie View A&M.

Up front is where it should be interesting since there doesn’t look to be many changes compared to 2011. Jay Ratliff will be the man in the middle once again with Josh Brent backing him up. Jason Hatcher will most likely start on one end and as far as the other end it looks to be up in the air right now. Marcus Spears is still in the mix along with Sean Lissemore, Kenyon Coleman and Clifton Geathers. Add in rookie Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and the Cowboys have a lot of competition when it comes to the defensive end position.  

What it comes down to is that the Cowboys secondary has been rebuilt with youth and speed as Carr and Claiborne take over. With an improved secondary hopefully that will also create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the front seven and more turnovers. The defense should benefit from a full training camp learning Rob Ryan’s defense which was not possible last year due to the lockout. The Cowboys believe they have improved the defense and have corrected the issues that hurt them in 2011. Now it’s time to move forward and see if they are right.

Cowboys Defensive Coalition

Okay, so I’ve been a little absent this week. Some of it is for personal reasons, and some is because… well… its hard to get motivation after a loss. Either way I should know better. I should know that one loss in the first game of the season doesn’t mean shut everything down. It doesn’t mean we don’t still have a excellent chance to go all the way and it doesn’t mean we don’t have a great team.

At the beginning of the week someone tried to tell me that the defense didn’t look very hot. I stopped him mid-sentence… Are you freaking kidding me? That defense looked great. They kept us in the game until the very end. While holding Washington to only  two field goals isn’t a feat of genius it still is pretty damn good in a rivalry game such as Cowboys at Redskins.

Either way, I felt that a few underrated defensive stars really deserved some love. Due to my absence this week, I’m playing catch up and releasing five graphics for Cowboy fans to enjoy.

Let’s hear it for: Keith Brooking, Bradie James, Anthony Spencer, Mike Jenkins and Marcus Spears!

Boys Could Look To Add Outside Linebacker Depth Early On In Draft

Outside linebacker play got more consistent for the Cowboys in 2009 with the emergence of Anthony Spencer and the usual All-Pro play from Demarcus Ware. There are questions however with the depth behind the two starting outside linebackers. Contrary to popular belief, I think Victor Butler played well for a raw rookie making the transition to linebacker. And we can’t forget about Brandon Williams, who was sidelined for the year with a torn ACL, and should be ready to compete by the time training camp starts. Still, expect the Cowboys to take a close look at the deep class of ‘tweener type linebackers that fit well into their 3-4 scheme. Here are a few prospects to watch.

Thaddeus Gibson - Ohio State, 6’2″ 243

Many questioned Gibson’s decision to declare for the draft early. But after his performance at Ohio State’s pro day, it looks as though he made the right choice. He has the size that 3-4 defensive coordinators covet, and would project to be an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. Gibson also has the speed to go along with his size, running a 4.58 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s pro day. His 40-time is comparable to Demarcus Ware’s when he performed at the combine in 2005 and ran a 4.56 40. Gibson will probably go in rounds 2 or 3, which may not be too early for the Cowboys to consider an outside linebacker.

Jerry Hughes – Texas Christian, 6’2″ 255

A hometown boy who played his college ball for the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Hughes was a terror on the Frogs defensive line, posting 26 sacks in the past two seasons. Like Gibson, he is a ‘tweener prospect who will play outside linebacker at the next level. He posted a very solid 4.69 40-time at the combine, and has the size comparable to Anthony Spencer. Hughes’s draft stock has been solid throughout pre-draft workouts, and he could go as early as the late 1st round. The Cowboys are not likely interested in drafting an outside linebacker in the first round, so Hughes could be out of reach. If he falls to them in the 2nd round however, they will take a long, hard look at him.

Ricky Sapp – Clemson, 6’4″ 266

Sapp is another athletic defensive end who will transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has fantastic size and speed, both comparable to Demarcus Ware, and had a terrific outing at the combine. Did not really have impressive sack numbers during his collegiate career, but certainly has the intangibles that pro teams look for in a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect. He could go anywhere within rounds 2 through 4, and could get interest from the Cowboys.

George Selvie – South Florida, 6’3″ 252

Selvie is a prospect who really fell off the map after posting 14 sacks in the 2007 season. His drop-off in production was partly due to nagging injuries. The emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul on the Bulls’s defensive line also took alot of eyes off of Selvie. Regardless of his recent drop-off, Selvie has intriguing size and upside that will draw the interest of any defensive coordinator looking to add athleticism to his defense. I could see Selvie going in the late 3rd round to 4th round range, which is certainly within the range that Dallas would likely pull the trigger on an outside linebacker project.

Koa Misi – Utah, 6’3″ 251

Misi is one more intriguing ‘tweener prospect amongst a very deep class of pass rushing athletes in this year’s draft. He showed his athleticism at the combine in the vertical jump and the 3-cone drill. Like Selvie, Misi did not accumulate impressive sack numbers in 2009, but was plenty active and racked up plenty of tackles. Also like all the other prospects named in this article, Misi possesses the intangibles to be a force at the 3-4 outside linebacker position. He is projected to go anywhere within rounds 2 or 3. Like the other prospects, look for the Cowboys to consider him if he is on the board after round 1.

Admitting Depression Is The First Step To Recovery

  Well after what has seemed to be an eternity, I have decided to crawl out of my off-season hole and get back into the real world. I apologize to my co-writers and to our Lone Star Struck fans for not blogging about our Cowboys. Ever since that loss to the Vikings, I have been in, what I did not want to believe, a depressed state of mind. I have finally realized that loss affected me more than I thought it did. I said right after the loss, just like most of us did, its ok we got our first playoff win in 12 years. We had a great season and this season was a step forward. While all of that is true, that loss devastated me. Not because it was such a great season and I know we have the team to go all the way, but because the way we lost that game.

 We were the better team going into that game and EVERYONE knew it. The Cowboys were FINALLY getting the credit they deserved. A stout defense, an offensive line that protected and made holes for 3 GREAT running backs. A TRUE CONTENDER! I do not know what happened that dreadful day but I am now admitting it is eating me apart from the inside out. That is all I can think about and the only way to get back to myself is to write about it.

 As for the upcoming season. Free agency has just started and what an active season it is. The SECOND and maybe even third best defensive end in the league, Julius Peppers, has gone to Chicago. Of course the first being Demarcus Ware and second Anthony Spencer. Although I think we might all agree that Spencer needs a year or two more experience! With all the free agents out there and all the teams that need help in their areas, I have not heard much talk about the Cowboys needs. To me, that means we don’t have any real “needs”. We have what we need to take this team to the next level. We are a championship team.

Now They Fear the Star

I just read this interesting article over at NFL.com and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. Its nice to see the Cowboys are finally getting some much deserved respect in the league.

NFC Fear Factor: Cowboys are conference’s most dangerous team

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5, No. 3 seed)

Beware of this red-hot team, winners of three straight and five of their last seven. Dallas has shown to be the most physical team in the postseason on both sides of the line.

The offensive front is road-grading, giving its trio of tailbacks room to run and allowing quarterback Tony Romo time to make the right decisions. Defensively, Dallas is making life troublesome for opposing quarterbacks with Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware living in the backfield.

Romo has been the main ingredient for the team’s solid late-season play. He seems unflappable, which has been a huge departure from his past. He relies heavily on tight end Jason Witten and No. 1 wideout Miles Austin with good reason. Romo is taking few gambles with his throws, and that ball security has been a big reason for Dallas’ late-season success.

It’s a deep run through the playoffs — or bust — for this evolving team.

Cowboys Hand Saints Their First Loss In 24-17 Thriller

Wow what an incredible finish to an incredible game, and quite possibly some the best drama we’ve seen all season.

The Cowboys did the unexpected and beat the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints 24-17 in a hard fought battle that kept most Cowboys fans on the edge of their seats right up until the final seconds of the game.

Tony Romo and Miles Austin lit up the sky and the scoreboard once again on offense, while Marion Barber and Felix Jones kept the ground game churning and burning.

However, it was the defense who stepped up the most and found a way to stop the juggernaut from New Orleans.

DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus Ware was back and made some key plays including a sack of Drew Brees and a forced fumble with 10 seconds left on the clock and the Saints moving the ball. The Cowboys recovered and the rest as they say was history.

Anthony Spencer and Mike Jenkins had huge efforts on defense, and as for Spencer, he is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with on defense.

The only bad note to the game was the continuing struggles of Nick Folk who missed a chip-shot field goal that the Cowboys needed to put the Saints away for good. There”s no way the Cowboys don’t replace him next week.

This was the first December win on the road since 2007 for the Cowboys.

The victory may have put a final nail in the Giants coffin, but keeps us alive and well for a play off spot as we inch closer to the final game of the season against the much hated Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. What a game that will be!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Enjoy this gift from the Cowboys!

Anthony Spencer: The Latest Weapon In Cowboys Arsenal

As most Cowboys fans know, we have plenty of  talent within our defensive huddle: DeMarcus Ware, J-Rat, Brooking, etc., I could go on and on.

However, one player that has really come in to his own this season is linebacker Anthony Spencer. In the last few games number 93 has been on fire.  In 12 games he has played this season, he has tallied 45 tackles, 2 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.  He is quickly making a name for himself and has become relied upon as much as fellow defensive play-makers Ware and Ratliff.

Anthony SpencerIn 2007, the Cowboys’ scouts knew what a talent they where getting when they selected Anthony Spencer as their #1 pick.  He has athletic ability and is fast enough to offer a change of pace and give the team another solid pass rushing option. He played in all 16 games his rookie season and started 6. The only other Dallas Cowboys that have achieved this their rookie year are Lee Roy Jordan in 1963, Robert Jones in 1992, and DeMarcus Ware in 2005. Pretty good company of you ask me.

So, where did this young power house come from?  Let me tell you a little about Anthony Spencer before the Cowboys drafted him and he slipped that famous silver helmet on for the first time.

Anthony E. Spencer II is 6-3 and weighs in at 256. He was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on January 23, 1984.

As a teenager, Spencer was a 3 year starter playing nose guard and full back at Bishop Luers High School, in Fort Wayne. While playing fullback, he absolutely dominated in the backfield and he ran for more than 600 yards, averaging solid 9.1 yards per carry. By the time Spencer was through, he ended his high school career by setting team records in tackles and sacks.  Anthony lettered in both football and basketball, and this helped him get accepted at Purdue University.

While at Purdue, Spencer majored in African American Studies and minored in law society, but it was on the gridiron that he would make his impact and make scouts take notice.  He started 36 of 47 games for the Boilermakers and recorded 155 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries,13 pass deflections, and a blocked kick. If you were to look into Purdue’s record books, Anthony’s name would appear for sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles.  He already has his name written in the Dallas Cowboys record books thanks to an impressive rookie campaign. and I am looking forward to see what else this exciting and intimidating linebacker will achieve in the future.

What are your expectations for Spencer going forward, and do you seem becoming an integral part of the Cowboys defense?

And So Another December Starts… Badly!!

So the Cowboys stood at 8-3. A two game lead over the NY Giants with an opportunity to send the Giants to a 6-6 record and pretty much end their season. We all know the December history with this team over the last three seasons and we have all heard the talk this past week. The Cowboys then open a 10-0 lead on the Giants late in the second quarter and well…that’s where it kind of ended.

The Cowboys took a 10-0 lead on the Giants with a nice Romo to Williams touchdown pass. They had the Giants just were they wanted them. The once mighty 5-0 Giants now at 6-5 and little or no confidence in the way they were playing. So what does the Dallas defense do when they have the Giants down? Well, you would think they would step on their throats and end it for them. But no, they allow the Giants to drive down the field and score to tighten the game to 10-7 and give the Giants some life.

Next possession for the Cowboys with a little over a minute left in the first half. The Cowboys try to answer the Giants touchdown, but then Marion Barber fumbles. The Giants take full advantage of the turnover and score the go ahead touchdown right before halftime. Dallas had the Giants on their knees begging for mercy, but just like in past seasons the Cowboys let a team off the hook and gave them life.

Third quarter…Romo leads the offense to the go ahead score on another touchdown to Williams, 17-14. You think the Dallas defense would try to respond once again. But….it took the Giants only one play to take the lead back. A short pass to Jacobs resulted in a 74 yard go ahead for good touchdown. Here is my question. How does the defense let something like this happen? I honestly thought the Dallas defense was still on the sideline after the kickoff. But then I saw Anthony Spencer, Bradie James and Gerald Sensabaugh. But Spencer might have well been on the sideline as Jacobs ran away from him like he was standing still.

Onto the fourth quarter as the Cowboys held the Giants to an all important field goal to keep the Giants lead to only seven points, 24-17. Although I must say that it really had nothing to do with the Dallas defense on the third down play as Steve Smith clearly beat Scandrick (That’s a surprise!!!), but dropped the pass.

Ok, you would think the Cowboys are in good shape as they are only down by seven points with a lot of time left in the game. So they get the ball back and what happens? Yes, three and out as Barber gains three yards on first down, Romo get an intentional grounding penalty which results in a lost down. And on third and 17 they can only manage a short gain to Witten.

Punt formation!!!! Ok, punt the ball and let’s get the ball back with plenty of time left. Nope!!!! Not going to happen. Hixon gets the ball and after three missed tackles (well, I kind of stopped counting at that point and proceeded to destroy my living room), Hixon scores on a 79 punt return to put the Giants up 31-17.

Once again the Cowboys get the ball back and start driving. They get to the Giants 36 yard line where Williams is beyond wide open down the right sideline and what does Romo do? He misses him on what would have been a touchdown. And two plays later they fail on a fourth down attempt.

Yes, Romo once again drove the Cowboys down the field for a score at the end of game that was already over, but it was just too late at that point. The Cowboys once again just gave up too many big plays and were not able to respond when they needed too. So, December of 2009 is underway and the Cowboys are now 0-1. They have fallen to 8-4 and are tied with the Eagles for first place with the Giants now only one game back.

What is ahead for the Cowboys. Oh, not much. Just four teams playing at the top of their game. Yes, even the Redskins who lost today, but still played one hell of a game against the Saints. Here is the rest of the schedule for the Cowboys….

San Diego, 8-3

at New Orleans, 12-0

at Washington, 3-9 (record will not matter)

Philadelphia, 8-4

At this point I honestly do not know what will happen the rest of the season. The way I am feeling right now (frustrated), I can take a guess, but I would rather not because it just makes me sick to my stomach. I would say I’m speechless, but I just read my own post and I guess I’m anything but speechless.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 12

Some say we shouldn’t celebrate the Cowboys winning ways just yet. Some people think its too soon to start playing playoff parties. Personally, I don’t really care. I am proud of the Cowboys and despite their past December history, I believe we are headed to the playoffs. Their destiny lies in their own hands, and here are a couple of guys who helped earn the victory this past week.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Miles Austin.

Austin is currently leading the team in touchdowns and receiving yards. His 824 receiving yards puts him 13th in the league. He is well on his way to a 1000+ yard season.

On Thanksgiving, Miles totaled 145 yards on 7 receptions and one touchdown.

Lets hope he can keep it up through the rough month of December!

Go “Smiles”!

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Anthony Spencer.

Spencer has come very close to getting a game ball several times already this season, but his outstanding performance on Thanksgiving day left him standing tall above the rest.

Spencer had 6 tackles, 2 assists and 2 sacks. The Raiders game plan had them double-teaming DeMarcus Ware leaving Spencer room to roam and attack.

Keep on sackin’ Spencer!

Star50

Way to go to Austin and Spencer!

Honorable Mention: Jason Witten (5 receptions, 107 yards), Felix Jones (7 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD), Keith Brooking (6 tackles, 3 assists)

Weekly Game Balls: Week 10

Honestly, I didn’t even want to give away a game ball this week. Truly standout performances were non-existent and hard to find. And while some may argue that Roy Williams and his 105 yards deserved the honor, it clearly illustrates why numbers alone does not dictate a solid performance.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Dallas Cowboys Fans.

After four straight wins, we knew it would be a tough challenge for the Cowboys in Lambeau Field, but nobody could have predicted such an impotent display of offense against the Packers.

We deserved better… and though at times the Cowboys showed some fight, most of the time they were getting pushed around and knocked to the ground as evidenced by the five sacks on Tony Romo.

So for your unwavering support and undying loyalty, we are pleased to award you the fans this weeks Game Ball.

Thanks for always supporting the Silver and Blue through good times and bad.

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to DeMarcus Ware.

This one was a lot easier than the offensive game ball, and I thank DeMarcus for that.

Ware is back to his old self and registered two more punishing sacks against the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.

He added six tackles to his tally and once again he has become one of the most feared linebackers in the NFL.

Quarterbacks Be-Ware!!!

Star50

Way to go to Ware and Cowboys fans!

Honorable Mention: Anthony Spencer, Mat McBriar

Packers Break Cowboys’ Winning Streak, Dallas Loses 17-7

The Cowboys winning streak came to a halt today as the Packers beat the Boys 17-7. It was a strong defensive game on both sides but penalties, injuries and missed opportunities ruined the day.

green bay dallas

The most painful thing to come from this loss will be the hole that Marc Colombo leaves on the offensive line. Colombo went down in the first quarter and later it was learned that he suffered from a broken fibula. Doug Free came in to replace Colombo and immediately failed to protect Romo.

There was an injury scare with Bradie James who returned to play, and Ken Hamlin left the game with an ankle injury.

Another stinger was an arm injury to corner Mike Jenkins. He returned to play but left again for good after a few minutes.

Tony Romo also took a beating from the Green Bay defense taking five sacks, while Aaron Rodgers was sacked 4 times by Dallas. Romo ended the day 24 of 29 completions, 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Roy Williams caught 5 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Sounds good right? No, not really. He also fumbled what would have been a 41-yard completion along with a dropped pass that could have been a game changer.

Luckily the Cowboys were able to score a touchdown in the final seconds to avoid getting shutout for the first time since December 14, 2003.

The running game was basically nonexistent. The three-headed monster combined for a measly 45 yards.

Defensively things were looking pretty good, just not good enough when your offense can’t produce and injuries sideline your starters. DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and Bobby Carpenter and Stephen Bowen recorded one sack each. Jay Ratliff was quiet, however Anthony Spencer stepped up and made several great plays.

Dallas has to pray that their injuries aren’t as bad as they seem. Of course Colombo is likely out for the season, but Jenkins and Hamlin should be able to return.

The Cowboys move on with a 6-3 record, still leading the NFC East and come back home to play the Washington Redskins for the first time this season.

Cowboys News Heading Into Week 1 of 2009

Welcome to opening night of the 2009 NFL season. Sure it’s not the Cowboys, but it’s real football and I can not wait for it to start. The Cowboys have been quiet this preseason, except for the video board that took up the headlines for two weeks! I loved that the team was focused on football and there was no circus in town. The Cowboys have had so much negative headlines over the last few years, so it was nice that the main player in the news this preseason was Kevin Ogletree. Seems like everyone is doing the right things to get themselves better. And it’s also clear that they do not let what others (the media) say about them affect them. Sunday is fast approaching. Let’s get this season started the right way.

Here are some news and notes from today reported by DallasNews.com.

Update on DeMarcus Ware

Ware’s agent Pat Dye met with Stephen Jones this afternoon to discuss the new contract. Progress was made, but it’s unsure how much progress. Ware is scheduled to make $1.005 million and without a collective bargaining agreement he would become a restricted free agent after the 2009 season. There does not seem to be a deadline in getting a new deal done and both sides are determined not to let this become a distraction.

“I don’t want it to be and I know they don’t want it to be a distraction for DeMarcus,” Dye said. “Up to this point, it hasn’t been, and we’ll do our best not to let it be.”

“It was very, very cordial,” Dye said. “They made some significant moves in certain components of the contract and we made some significant moves on certain components of the contract. I think it was a very constructive discussion, but until you reach a result or have a result, how do you measure progress?”

“I wouldn’t say anything is closer,” Ware said, “but I would say the process is still going. We’re still trying to get some things done. They’re trying to show they want me here and I’m trying to show them I want to be here.”

In 2008 Ware recorded 20 sacks to lead the NFL. He also had his first 100 tackle season along with eight tackles for losses and six forced fumbles. Ware would like to get another 20 sacks in 2009.

“That’s always motivating but at the end of the day your goal is to try and get it again, but you’ve got to look at ‘how effective can I be?’ ” Ware said. “Can I be more effective than I was last season? I feel like with what I’ve done and what we do now, I can be.”

Team Captains announced

The Cowboys announced four full-time Captains for the 2009 season: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Bradie James and DeMarcus Ware. Sounds like the right choices since these four are the veteran leaders on offense and defense. There will also be a fifth Captain every week for special teams which be different for every game. For the Tampa Bay game it will be Matt McBriar. Ware will be the only new Captain out of the four this season.

“He works hard all the time, and he has a great attitude,” Phillips said. “That’s the kind of captain you want. By his actions certainly and the way he works, he’s a great example.”

Miles Austin and Sam Hurd

Miles Austin  and Sam Hurd have announced that they should be fine for the Tampa Bay game on Sunday. Austin tested the hamstring during practice yesterday and said he had no issues with it.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Austin said. “I’m ready to play.”

The Bookends

We all know how great of a player DeMarcus Ware is and because of that fact we should listen when he says that Anthony Spencer is ready for a breakout season in 2009. Spencer has been playing behind Greg Ellis since being drafted in 2007. Now that Ellis is no longer with the team Spencer has his chance to show everyone what can do. And Ware believes he will.

“I’m really looking forward to it. You know how they always say, can he fill Greg’s shoes? Everybody’s going to stop talking and they’re going to see him putting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run, still being able to drop. He’s a smart guy. In practice, he’s hardly making any mistakes. And he’s getting pressure on that quarterback, too.”

Emmitt’s prediction

The other day all-world running back Emmitt Smith said that the 2009 Cowboys would win seven games. That did not sit well with Tony Romo. I believe his response shows his maturity as a player and as a leader.

“People outside of this locker room, they don’t affect this football team,” Romo said. “We’ve really narrowed our focus. We don’t have time to discuss what different people might be saying or talking about our team, because it really doesn’t come out any way. It’s about the game. It’s about beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“This week, we’ll be able to go out and hopefully improve and get better. All we can do is do that. Whatever people might say or might not say, that’s for those people to talk about. But all we think about is the game and getting better today.”