IRVING, Texas – With the news coming from Jerry Jones today, of the likely knee surgery for Anthony Spencer ending his season, lets take a look at the options for the Cowboys and how they will manage this situation.
You have to give Jerry and Stephen Jones along with Will McClay and these scouts a great deal of credit for what they have done this off season and throughout training camp adding depth to this roster. There has to be a willingness by the front office and coaches to consistently want to churn the roster. Jason Garrett and this staff should also be commended for their part as well to take on players even when it would be very easy to stand pat with their current 53 man roster. I have always believed that one of Garrett’s great strengths is his understanding of how player personnel works in this league.
There are a couple of different ways the Cowboys will be able to manage this. The first one and most obvious, is to continue to start George Selvie in Spencer’s spot. Next to Jason Hatcher, Selvie has been one of the most consistent players this defensive line has had. He has given Rod Marinelli quality snaps, down-after-down and his play has also allowed Monte Kiffin to move DeMarcus Ware around to gain favorable pass rush situations. There has been no let down in Selvie’s game in regards to whether it has been run or pass. He has shown the ability to hold up at the point which was an area that I believed he would struggle with playing on the left side, but that has not been the case at all.
The next move from the front office and coaches will most likely be to move towering Caesar Rayford from his defensive tackle spot back to his more natural position of defensive end. Rayford has been getting that work inside but his game is better suited to play on the edge, so that should be a nice fit. Edgar Jones has also seen work at end so he will get more work as well. The club could also choose to bring Jason Vega up off the practice squad to play end. Vega was signed very late in camp and made a push for a 53 man spot with some nice work against the Houston Texans in a preseason game.
McClay and his staff might also choose to try and poach a player off another club’s practice squad. Some options might be Craig Roh with the Panthers, Xavier Proctor with the Lions and John Youboty with the Broncos. If they go this route, those players have to remain on their active roster for at least three weeks. The staff could also look toward a veteran free agent but they have proven that signing younger players and trying to work with them, tends to be a better option. Also don’t discount the possibility of a trade. This club has done a nice job of collecting late round picks that could also be used to move for players.
With this injury to Anthony Spencer lasting the majority of the summer and now into the fall, this front office and coaching staff were prepared to handle it. This could have gone the other way and they could have been dealing with an injury that happened Sunday and from my experience, that is no fun. There are solid options and place and with the way this scouting department has been operating lately, they will have answers in place sooner rather than later which wasn’t always the case.