<
>

Anthony Spencer looks for strong finish

12/9/2010

IRVING -- This might be the time for outside linebacker Anthony Spencer to emerge again.

For the season, Spencer has three sacks, one tackle for loss and 11 quarterback pressures as the Cowboys

enter the final four games of the regular season starting Sunday night vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last year with five games remaining in his season, Spencer had a total of two sacks, six tackles for loss and 20 quarterback pressures.

He finished the year adding 3.5 more sacks and 16 quarterback pressures.

It was a wonderful finish by Spencer, a 2007 first-round pick, who was expected to become an excellent compliment to DeMarcus Ware, the other outside pass rusher.

The Cowboys were hoping Spencer would carry that 2009 December finish into the 2010 season.

It hasn't happened for a number of reasons.

Spencer’s numbers seem down, but he and Ware are facing double-teams, quarterbacks with three step drops and play action passes that freeze them up sometimes. Also under new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, the Cowboys are not blitzing as much.

"We see every different type of combination you can think of," Spencer said. "They change it up a lot and you never get a set pattern of what they're doing."

It might be difficult for Spencer to pick up his game numbers wise in the last four weeks of the year.

The Cowboys finish the season with two games against the elusive Michael Vickand the Eagles. Several Cowboys' players have said Vick is a better pocket passer than he was when he played in Atlanta. Spencer must face Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins, a drop back passer who still moves well out of the pocket. Derek Anderson of the Arizona Cardinals is probably the only quarterback left on the schedule who is a traditional drop back passer. The Cowboys play the Cardinals on Christmas night. But Anderson's status is in doubt as he recovers from a concussion.

If 2009 is an indication, maybe things will pick up for Spencer.

"I feel I get better toward the end of the year," Spencer said. "It's just because of how the season goes. You get better each week, I hope so, that's what I'm hoping for. But nothing is promised."