Cowboys' Ryan helping turn Spencer around

Posted Sept. 30, 2011 @ 3:59 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

OLB Anthony Spencer is getting notoriety for his "called shot" sack to end the Week Three Monday-night victory over the Redskins, but that play really is a microcosm of his season in that it shows how much better his effort has been this season compared to last. A review of the 2010 tape shows that Spencer's pass-rush motor was not always on high a year ago, but new coordinator Rob Ryan has managed to light a fire under him. One of those motivational tactics was an increased number of snaps in the preseason for Victor Butler, who was the defense's Swiss Army knife, moving around and playing various roles while Spencer's playing time decreased, to the point where some insiders believes Butler would replace Spencer. But Spencer kept his starting job and has caught fire early. Observers are impressed but warn that his engine has run hot and cold in the past, so it's a situation that bears constant monitoring.