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Friday, February 24, 2012
Jones: Change could help Anthony Spencer rush

By Todd Archer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones reiterated the team has not made a decision regarding the future of outside linebacker Anthony Spencer with either the $8.8 million franchise tag or a multi-year deal, but he did hint that changes could be coming to how Rob Ryan dials up the pass rush.

Spencer has 21.5 sacks for his career and has never had more than six sacks in a season, but Jones said that was partly because of defensive responsibilities.

“He’s your edge guy,” Jones said. “He plays differently by design than [DeMarcus] Ware, and let’s say he’s a set-your-edge and Ware is freer to go. Now the fact that Ware draws the chip, draws the block, the double team, then that should make Spencer have an edge. That should free up Spencer more, but you could come up with a concept that if you had two Wares you can set the edge less with the other guy.

“Let’s not say Spencer, but name another top pass rusher in the league and had them at both ends, you would play them differently than we would Spencer. If we end up changing that then you will see Spencer with better sack numbers, not necessarily at the expense of Ware, but just by doing it differently.”

Jones, who met with Spencer’s agent, Roosevelt Barnes, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, does not sound like a guy in a hurry to get rid of Spencer, but he praised Victor Butler, who is the only in-house candidate that could move into the starting lineup.

“The plays he made per snap, it’s one of the highest on the entire team,” Jones said.

On Spencer, Jones added: “Anthony can be and is very capable of being much more impactful for us than he was last year, although he played well last year,” Jones said. “To have a Ware and two have two really pressure players that other teams have to deal with is a dream of defensive coordinators. I personally think Anthony Spencer has a chance to be a much more effective pressure player, and so he’s somebody I value.”