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Old 03-04-2012, 10:34 AM    (permalink
CDCB14
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Originally Posted by Witten4HOF View Post
http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/n...ag-olb-spencer

Spencer will most likely be getting the franchise tag.
Honestly, the more I look at it the more I just think they should re-sign Spencer long term. Try to get him for a little cheaper than Ahmad Brooks and just do it. He is an above average player at SOLB. You're not going to get a 12+ sack guy from that position, it doesn't happen. Put DeMarcus Ware at SOLB and his sack totals would diminish a bit. He'd still be great, but they are two different position. Spencer is not the problem.

I would re-sign Spencer, and then make a commitment to improving the down three. 14 should be a defensively lineman if we get a CB and DeCastro is off the board. Picking lineman in the 1st round usually works out. I don't care if it isn't sexy. Poe, Cox, whoever. Pick one of them and I guarantee Spencer's production goes up as well.

Bite the bullet and get it done. We will be a better team because of it. Jerry's reluctance to draft lineman high has killed this team. I know Marcus Spears didn't become a superstar, but it happens. I hope Tyron Smith has changed his philosophy.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:41 AM    (permalink
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LaMarr Woodley is doing just fine racking up sacks as a SOLB in a 34 front.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:50 AM    (permalink
CDCB14
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LaMarr Woodley is doing just fine racking up sacks as a SOLB in a 34 front.
Actually, his numbers aren't that special. He had 9 sacks this year, and his career high was 13.5 in 2009. That's good, but it's not like he's racking up 16+ every year.

On the other hand, Spencer beats him in tackles and forced fumbles for 4 out of the 5 years they have been in the league (they both entered the league in 2007). I would love to see there pressure numbers as well, because Spencer had a good amount of them over the past few seasons. I think I saw on BTB that he has actually had the most QB pressures of any 3-4 SOLB since he came into the league, and that would include Woodley. I think it was posted in this thread a few pages back by a Spencer supporter.

I may get killed for this, but I really don't think Woodley is that much better of a player than Spencer. I have no problem with Spencer, I really just think it's the down 3 he plays with. The Cowboys down 3 is nothing compared to what the Steelers have had over the past 5 years and what the 49ers currently have. Ratliff is good but now he is on the wrong side of 30 and playing out of position because this organization is in denial, and Hatcher can flash potential at times but he is as inconsistent as they come. There is hope in Lissemore and Brent, but right now that's all it is. Everyone else is a run stopping JAG, and they don't even do that very well at times.

Spencer is not the problem. I will stand by that. He's a good player. The problem is the down three and Jerry's reluctance to do anything about it. Again, our only hope is that the Tyron Smith pick and both Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett are slowly changing the draft philosophy.

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Old 03-04-2012, 10:58 AM    (permalink
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Woodley only played 10 games this year bc of injury. 9 sacks in 10 games is pretty darn good bro.

Spencer isn't the problem. But he's also not the solution. I just don't like giving out contracts to average guys that can be replaced for cheaper in the draft. Spencer isn't worth that price tag. If you extend Spencer, 2 years from now you're gonna be stuck with a salary that you're going to want to dump.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:58 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bigbluedefense View Post
LaMarr Woodley is doing just fine racking up sacks as a SOLB in a 34 front.
I agree... Woodley is a monster and he is not bad when asked to drop into zone coverage either. Greg Ellis avg 10 sacks over the two year span he played SOLB. It can be done... I dont have an issue with retaining Spencer though, there are bigger areas of need on this team. Whether the team decides to re-up him during the season or draft a replacement while they rent him for a year will be the question. Im just hoping the team doesnt pursuit Upshaw in the draft as their skill sets are similar.. it would be a waste of a pick imo.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:59 AM    (permalink
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Honestly I like Victor Butler more than Spencer.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:03 AM    (permalink
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Take it for what its worth...

According to the National Football Post, league-wide speculation is that the Cowboys and Patriots might be "among the interested parties" on free agent Mario Williams.
Dallas owner/GM Jerry Jones has vowed to be aggressive in free agency. There's a certainly a need for a pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Ware, though franchise-tagging Anthony Spencer would be a stumbling block. It's not in Bill Belichick's nature to pay peak value for a high-end free agent, so it would be a mild surprise if the Patriots aggressively pursue Williams. Mar. 4 - 6:31 am et
Source: National Football Post
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:07 AM    (permalink
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Honestly I like Victor Butler more than Spencer.
I know you're better than that BBD. If you have free time and can find a way to re-watch the Cowboys vs. Bills game this year, go watch the second half. When the Cowboys were up big and the 2nd team was in, Butler was getting run over like a rag doll on stretch plays to his side. Fred Jackson has something like 50 yards on 3 straight stretch plays run right at him. He looked like a high schooler. He's a nice situation pass rusher who would struggle if put into the spot light. He's like a back-up running back who looks good with 8-10 carries a game, then he goes somewhere else to become the man and can't handle it. It wouldn't be pretty. If I were a Giants fan I'd love Butler starting. Run stretches to his side with anybody and they'd go for 300 yards in the first half. We would be so undersized with Ratliff at NT and Butler at OLB.

As for sack numbers, I don't mean to offend anybody but you don't know football if you think they are all that matters. In fact, they aren't that important at all. Take a look at LaMarr Woodley. He had 9 sacks this season. That's basically 1 ever two games. Your telling me he only made a play once every two ball games? Hell no. It's about stopping the run, pressuring the QB so he has to throw it away, covering the flat, etc. Even DeMarcus Ware with 19.5 sacks. Your telling me he only made 1 play a game?

Sacks are nice and can stop a drive, but they aren't the end all be all. You can win a Super Bowl with Anthony Spencer. The problem is the down three. If you don't want to listen to be then fine, but the logic is there.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:13 AM    (permalink
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I think you're sensationalizing the situation though. You point out how Spencer is great vs the run, great in coverage, and gets hurries, but ignore that Woodley is just as good in those categories while also doing a much better job sacking the quarterback on top of that.

Woodley had 9 sacks in 10 games, and was out of shape for most of the season bc of his hamstring. Woodley is just as great vs the run, I'd argue he's even better in coverage than Spencer. Woodley is better than Spencer in every way.

Butler is a liability vs the run, but as a situational guy at his price tag, I would like to see him on the field more. Use Butler more in the nickel. Which again, diminishes Spencer's value if he's a 2 down player. I just don't view Spencer as a game changer worth anything close to the franchise tag.

I'm putting my RT on him all game long with no help and I'm ok with that. That's not the kind of guy you give 8 million to, or extend long term.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:13 AM    (permalink
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Take it for what its worth...

According to the National Football Post, league-wide speculation is that the Cowboys and Patriots might be "among the interested parties" on free agent Mario Williams.
Dallas owner/GM Jerry Jones has vowed to be aggressive in free agency. There's a certainly a need for a pass rusher opposite DeMarcus Ware, though franchise-tagging Anthony Spencer would be a stumbling block. It's not in Bill Belichick's nature to pay peak value for a high-end free agent, so it would be a mild surprise if the Patriots aggressively pursue Williams. Mar. 4 - 6:31 am et
Source: National Football Post
I doubt it, but that would probably mean we would switch to a 4-3. Wouldn't mind that at all. Anything to get us out of Ratliff at 3-4 NT.

The DL would be amazing, but we'd have no LB depth at all, and no SAM unless they think Victor Butler could play it?

RE- DeMarcus
UT-Ratliff/Hatcher
NT-Lissemore/Brent/Spears
LE-Mario

Maybe Butler as a pass rush specialist, but I don't know. We have no back up DE's and nothing at all backing up the linebackers or even a real SAM...
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:17 AM    (permalink
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I think you're sensationalizing the situation though. You point out how Spencer is great vs the run, great in coverage, and gets hurries, but ignore that Woodley is just as good in those categories while also doing a much better job sacking the quarterback on top of that.

Woodley had 9 sacks in 10 games, and was out of shape for most of the season bc of his hamstring. Woodley is just as great vs the run, I'd argue he's even better in coverage than Spencer. Woodley is better than Spencer in every way.

Butler is a liability vs the run, but as a situational guy at his price tag, I would like to see him on the field more. Use Butler more in the nickel. Which again, diminishes Spencer's value if he's a 2 down player. I just don't view Spencer as a game changer worth anything close to the franchise tag.

I'm putting my RT on him all game long with no help and I'm ok with that. That's not the kind of guy you give 8 million to, or extend long term.
We're on the same page about the franchise tag. But I wouldn't have a problem signing him long term if it's an affordable deal.

If a deal can't be reached then i'll roll the dice in the 2nd round on a guy like Curry who can rotate with Butler and be a bit more sturdy against the run.

All i'm saying is Spencer is not the biggest problem. Teams have gotten to and won super bowls with much worse players at starting positions than Anthony Spencer. He's a solid football player. People point at his average sack numbers and bypass the down 3. Terrible mistake.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:21 AM    (permalink
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We're on the same page about the franchise tag. But I wouldn't have a problem signing him long term if it's an affordable deal.

If a deal can't be reached then i'll roll the dice in the 2nd round on a guy like Curry who can rotate with Butler and be a bit more sturdy against the run.

All i'm saying is Spencer is not the biggest problem. Teams have gotten to and won super bowls with much worse players at starting positions than Anthony Spencer. He's a solid football player. People point at his average sack numbers and bypass the down 3. Terrible mistake.
I don't disagree with you. He's not the problem. I just think 2 years from now, if not this upcoming offseason, we're going to have the same discussion about improving the position, and it begs the question, if that's going to be the case, why extend him? That's my issue with it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:24 AM    (permalink
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I don't disagree with you. He's not the problem. I just think 2 years from now, if not this upcoming offseason, we're going to have the same discussion about improving the position, and it begs the question, if that's going to be the case, why extend him? That's my issue with it.
Well yes if we don't upgrade the down three. If we upgrade the line then I bet you Anthony Spencer looks a lot better. If he doesn't then I will admit I was wrong.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:30 PM    (permalink
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Honestly I like Victor Butler more than Spencer.
LOL. I want to sig quote that. You want to start a guy who struggles to set the edge and constantly overruns the play over a player whom is top 5 in every category for his position. (Note Spencer's position is to play opposite DeMarcus Ware and he holds MUCH more run responsibilities being on the strong side.

Your comment was silly.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:17 PM    (permalink
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Honestly I like Victor Butler more than Spencer.
You're not the only one, and it's a no brainer when you factor in the price tag of Spencer if he's franchised. Paying 6 Mil/Yr more for slightly better play in setting the edge on running plays is insane.

Let him walk, this should have taken the FO all of 10 seconds to come to that conclusion.

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:22 PM    (permalink
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I don't think it was silly. Spencer is not top 5 in every category in his position. Guess what? That makes him a top 5 player in his position. Is he? Hell no. Not even close.

Butler is better on passing downs. It's a passing league, I think when teams spread you out 4 wide, Butler is the guy you want in the game.

Spencer's claim to fame is he stops the run. Whoopidy do. So does Marcus Spears. I think everyone is downplaying his need to rush the passer from the strongside. First and foremost, let's not get it twisted, when you go in your nickel, he's rushing the passer. He's not dropping in coverage.

And you run nickel nowadays 70% of the game. Your base 3-4 is a sub package now. So Spencer's primary job is to rush the passer. His role as a run defender on the edge in the base 34 front is not his primary responsibility. His primary responsibility to rush the passer.

He doesn't drop in coverage half of his snaps. He drops in coverage 4 to 5 times a game.

A SOLB in a 34 scheme nowadays rushes the passer just as much as the WOLB. The WOLB probably gets around 4 to 5 more rushes per game. That's it.

Let's be real here. We all know he's coming back, and it is what it is. But let's not make him out to be more than he is. He's a very replaceable player. Does that make him a bad player? Absolutely not. He's a solid, good player. But he's not a player you lose sleep over. He's a 3-4 version of Ray Edwards.

Ask Falcon fans how thrilled they are with him. Stopping the run is nice and all but you ask your edge guys to rush the passer. That's their job. That's what they have to do.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:32 PM    (permalink
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I don't think it was silly. Spencer is not top 5 in every category in his position. Guess what? That makes him a top 5 player in his position. Is he? Hell no. Not even close.

Butler is better on passing downs. It's a passing league, I think when teams spread you out 4 wide, Butler is the guy you want in the game.

Spencer's claim to fame is he stops the run. Whoopidy do. So does Marcus Spears. I think everyone is downplaying his need to rush the passer from the strongside. First and foremost, let's not get it twisted, when you go in your nickel, he's rushing the passer. He's not dropping in coverage.

And you run nickel nowadays 70% of the game. Your base 3-4 is a sub package now. So Spencer's primary job is to rush the passer. His role as a run defender on the edge in the base 34 front is not his primary responsibility. His primary responsibility to rush the passer.

He doesn't drop in coverage half of his snaps. He drops in coverage 4 to 5 times a game.

A SOLB in a 34 scheme nowadays rushes the passer just as much as the WOLB. The WOLB probably gets around 4 to 5 more rushes per game. That's it.

Let's be real here. We all know he's coming back, and it is what it is. But let's not make him out to be more than he is. He's a very replaceable player. Does that make him a bad player? Absolutely not. He's a solid, good player. But he's not a player you lose sleep over. He's a 3-4 version of Ray Edwards.

Ask Falcon fans how thrilled they are with him. Stopping the run is nice and all but you ask your edge guys to rush the passer. That's their job. That's what they have to do.
You point out Ray Edwards. He sucked this year with the Falcons. Look at what he did the final 2 years he was in minnesota. 8 and 8.5 sacks. Not dominant, but it's good enough when your playing with the "Williams Wall" and Jared Allen. He goes to atlanta, doesn't have nearly the same help besides an aging and overrated John Abraham, and his production drops significantly. Hmmm........

You follow me? Spencer is not the problem. The problem is the down three and how inept they are at getting to the passer. Give Spencer anything at all from the down three and watch his production steadily increase. Put Spencer on the 49ers and I bet you he doubles whatever numbers Ahmad Brooks puts up. He's a better football player. Now, we agree that he doesn't demand the franchise tag, but the organization obviously doesn't like anything in free agency or the draft, and doesn't want Victor Butler starting full time so they must feel they have no choice. It's better than having the position be a complete liability.

I will keep harping on this point until someone proves otherwise. The problem with our pass rush is the fact that we have no one who gets a consistent push from the down 3. Ratliff gets double teamed and Hatcher is way to inconsistent. That's the bottom line.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:41 PM    (permalink
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You point out Ray Edwards. He sucked this year with the Falcons. Look at what he did the final 2 years he was in minnesota. 8 and 8.5 sacks. Not dominant, but it's good enough when your playing with the "Williams Wall" and Jared Allen. He goes to atlanta, doesn't have nearly the same help besides an aging and overrated John Abraham, and his production drops significantly. Hmmm........

You follow me? Spencer is not the problem. The problem is the down three and how inept they are at getting to the passer. Give Spencer anything at all from the down three and watch his production steadily increase. Put Spencer on the 49ers and I bet you he doubles whatever numbers Ahmad Brooks puts up. He's a better football player. Now, we agree that he doesn't demand the franchise tag, but the organization obviously doesn't like anything in free agency or the draft, and doesn't want Victor Butler starting full time so they must feel they have no choice. It's better than having the position be a complete liability.

I will keep harping on this point until someone proves otherwise. The problem with our pass rush is the fact that we have no one who gets a consistent push from the down 3. Ratliff gets double teamed and Hatcher is way to inconsistent. That's the bottom line.
It goes both ways. Jared Allen had more help in Minnesota than KC and still had the same production. The truth is, you gotta beat your man, that's what it comes down to.

Anthony Spencer is not getting double teamed on any play. Ware is getting protection slid to him on every play. He's getting the RB chip. He's getting the TE chip. He's getting help inside by a G.

Spencer is getting the RT all game. How much is other help really going to help him? If he can't beat his guy, he can't beat his guy. That's all there is to it. I can't speak for other teams, but I know when we play the Cowboys we put McKenzie, a slow old RT on him all game and he can't get it done. That's not the down 3's fault, that's Spencer's fault.

Your overall pass rush will improve with additions to the front 3. I agree with that. But it won't make Spencer any better at his job. Bc he's still going to see the same protections. He has to beat his guy. He doesn't do his job well enough. It's one thing if you didn't have a Ware on the other end sliding protections his way, but that's not the case.

The front 3 will improve your push up the gut. Spencer might fall into an additional 2 sacks a season with pressure from the front 3, but it still doesn't make Spencer any better at his own job.

I've said all along, Spencer is not the problem, but he's also not part of the solution. My stance on this whole issue is you don't pay a guy like that. He's not worth the money. He's not going to hurt you and re-signing him won't be the end of the world, but I just know we're going to have this same discussion next year when we talk about how Ware needs a guy opposite of him to rush the passer.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:44 PM    (permalink
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You point out Ray Edwards. He sucked this year with the Falcons. Look at what he did the final 2 years he was in minnesota. 8 and 8.5 sacks. Not dominant, but it's good enough when your playing with the "Williams Wall" and Jared Allen. He goes to atlanta, doesn't have nearly the same help besides an aging and overrated John Abraham, and his production drops significantly. Hmmm........

You follow me? Spencer is not the problem. The problem is the down three and how inept they are at getting to the passer. Give Spencer anything at all from the down three and watch his production steadily increase. Put Spencer on the 49ers and I bet you he doubles whatever numbers Ahmad Brooks puts up. He's a better football player. Now, we agree that he doesn't demand the franchise tag, but the organization obviously doesn't like anything in free agency or the draft, and doesn't want Victor Butler starting full time so they must feel they have no choice. It's better than having the position be a complete liability.

I will keep harping on this point until someone proves otherwise. The problem with our pass rush is the fact that we have no one who gets a consistent push from the down 3. Ratliff gets double teamed and Hatcher is way to inconsistent. That's the bottom line.
Or the problem could be that Spencer isn't good enough to win a 1 on 1 matchup with the RT.

And 3-4 teams rarely have a down 3 on passing plays, that's where your Nickel package comes in bro.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:46 PM    (permalink
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It goes both ways. Jared Allen had more help in Minnesota than KC and still had the same production. The truth is, you gotta beat your man, that's what it comes down to.

Anthony Spencer is not getting double teamed on any play. Ware is getting protection slid to him on every play. He's getting the RB chip. He's getting the TE chip. He's getting help inside by a G.

Spencer is getting the RT all game. How much is other help really going to help him? If he can't beat his guy, he can't beat his guy. That's all there is to it. I can't speak for other teams, but I know when we play the Cowboys we put McKenzie, a slow old RT on him all game and he can't get it done. That's not the down 3's fault, that's Spencer's fault.

Your overall pass rush will improve with additions to the front 3. I agree with that. But it won't make Spencer any better at his job. Bc he's still going to see the same protections. He has to beat his guy. He doesn't do his job well enough. It's one thing if you didn't have a Ware on the other end sliding protections his way, but that's not the case.

The front 3 will improve your push up the gut. Spencer might fall into an additional 2 sacks a season with pressure from the front 3, but it still doesn't make Spencer any better at his own job.

I've said all along, Spencer is not the problem, but he's also not part of the solution. My stance on this whole issue is you don't pay a guy like that. He's not worth the money. He's not going to hurt you and re-signing him won't be the end of the world, but I just know we're going to have this same discussion next year when we talk about how Ware needs a guy opposite of him to rush the passer.
Don't be afraid to group Spencer in as part of the problem... because he is. We have a poor pass rush and our starting SOLB is a poor pass rusher, to me that means he's part of the problem.

It's just the easiest way to put it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:49 PM    (permalink
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How come nobody speaks about how bad Spencer is in coverage? 15 completions made out of the 19 times he was targeted.

At the same time... bbd, Spencer does get a nice amount of pressures even though he doesn't always come up with sacks.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:55 PM    (permalink
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BBD since chimed in and disputed something already discussed I'll provide you with the old threads rather than just pointing you backwards in the thread.

Quote:
In 2011, Spencer led all LOLB in tackles, forced fumbles, tackles for a loss, was in the top 5 in sacks and tied for second in QB hits. Hardly the resume of a JAG.

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Let's first begin with taking a look at how Anthony Spencer did compared to other Cowboys defenders. He was fourth on the team in total tackles, second in sacks, and led the team in forced fumbles. Not too shabby. Only Sean Lee and the two safeties had more total tackles than Spencer, but if the Cowboys secondary wasn't so putrid, it would likely mean that Spencer would be second in total tackles and likely would have accrued a few more sacks. But let's get on to the comparison with other LOLB around the league.

All stats from NFL.com except QB Hits and TFL which are from Advanced NFL stats

Player Team Total Tkls Sacks Fum Frd QB Hit TFL
A. Spencer DAL 66 6 4 15 12
R. Kerrigan WAS 63 7.5 4 12 9
J. Houston KC 56 5.5 1 9 10
C. Matthews GB 50 6 3 22 8
A. Brooks SF 49 7 1 13 12
C. Haggans ARI 46 3 1 9 5
B. Reed HOU 45 6 0 11 7
S. Phillips SD 42 3.5 0 6 8
C. Kelsay BUF 41 5 2 6 3
L. Woodley PIT 39 9 0 13 10
J. Westerman NYJ 32 3.5 1 7 6
J. Taylor MIA 18 7 1 15 5

So, how many LOLB in 3-4 defenses around the league are better than Anthony Spencer? The answer is not many. Clay Matthews is actually the best OLB on his team and plays more like a ROLB though they play him on the strong side. Perhaps we should be comparing Ware and Matthews, and if that is the case Anthony Spencer is far better than anyone else the Packers line up at OLB. Even so, Spencer had as many sacks as Clay Matthews, more tackles, and forced more fumbles.

The only player that seem he could become far better, and should likely be considered one of the best LOLB in the league, is Ryan Kerrigan. The Redskins seem to have gotten great value with that draft pick. While Lamaar Woodley had quite a few sacks more than Spencer, it is clear he is primarily used as a pass rusher since he has almost half as many tackles as Spencer, and no forced fumbles.

So I ask again, is Anthony Spencer really as bad as people think? How many LOLB in the league are better?

Anthony Spencer led all LOLB in tackles, forced fumbles, and tackles for a loss. He was Top 5 in sacks and tied for second in QB hits.
That article courtesy of Kegbearer from Btb. If you would like a complete stat listing I'll have more time later.
If you want to say he doesn't pass your eye test fair enough. But quit spewing garbage about him not measuring up statisically. In Madden sacks might be the only stat that matters but when it comes to evaluating a player you need to look at more.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:07 PM    (permalink
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BBD since chimed in and disputed something already discussed I'll provide you with the old threads rather than just pointing you backwards in the thread.



If you want to say he doesn't pass your eye test fair enough. But quit spewing garbage about him not measuring up statisically. In Madden sacks might be the only stat that matters but when it comes to evaluating a player you need to look at more.
I'm going to be honest with you....I really don't care about tackles. Tackle #s are an incredibly unreliable statistic, and him getting a bunch of tackles doesn't shock me at all, considering teams generally run to the strong side, and away from Ware. So yeah, you're going to get tackles. Big deal.

My critique of Spencer is strictly from an eyeball evaluation. He's just not that good.

If he was as good as you're implying, you wouldn't have so much controversy about re-signing him. It would be readily apparent that he's a good player worth re-signing. That's hardly the case.

I mean come on, look at your own stat sheet. It has Clark Hagan on there. You're telling me Clark Hagan isn't anything more than awful? Clark Hagan sucks.

The guy has been in the league for 4 years and hasn't had a season with more than 6 sacks. Come on! Let's be real here. That's not a great player. That's an average one.

He's a pass rusher. His job is to rush the passer. He's not great at it. You can find a lot of guys who can set the edge in the run game, and get hurries in the pass game opposite of Ware for a lot cheaper. If you're gonna pay a guy, he better be a guy who can get some sacks.

Hurries are becoming an overrated statistic. Hurries are nice and all, but you know what a hurry is? A hurry means "he almost made a nice play"

Well almost isn't good enough. You gotta finish as a pass rusher.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:10 PM    (permalink
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http://bloggingthebeast.com/2012/03/...yer-personnel/

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After a few weeks of speculation on whether the Cowboys would slap Anthony Spencer with the franchise tag or not, it appears as though they’re finally ready to pull the trigger.

The move makes almost no sense whatsoever, for a multitude of reasons:

1) Anthony Spencer is a below average starting 3-4 OLB

Of the 11 “true 3-4 teams” in the NFL, we’ll identify the starting OLB’s. First, the players that typically play on the left side, the same side you’ll find Spencer:

Player Team Tackles Sacks FF INT
Connor Barwin Texans 47 11.5 1 0
LaMarr Woodley Steelers 39 9 0 1
Ryan Kerrigan Redskins 63 7.5 4 1
Ahmad Brooks 49ers 49 7 1 0
Jason Taylor Dolphins 18 7 1 1
Anthony Spencer Cowboys 66 6 4 0
Clay Matthews Packers 50 6 3 3
Justin Houston Chiefs 56 5.5 1 0
Shaun Phillips Chargers 42 3.5 0 2
Jamaal Westerman Jets 32 3.5 2 0
Clark Haggans Cardinals 46 3 1 0

I count 6 players I’d clearly rather have playing for me over Spencer:

LaMarr Woodley – In the 3 years prior to the one listed above, Woodley had 10, 13.5, and 11.5 sacks. No-brainer.

Clay Matthews – Down year statistically for Matthews last year, but I think we can all agree this is a no-brainer as well.

Shaun Phillips – Another guy with a down year statistically in 2011, but his body of work is far more accomplished than Spencer’s. In the 5 years prior to this last one (when he became a full-time starter), he has averaged a little over 9 sacks per season. Spencer’s career high is 6.

Connor Barwin – Missed almost all of 2010, came back in 2011 (his 2nd full year in the league) with a vengeance. 11.5 sacks.

Ryan Kerrigan – Kerrigan had a better season his rookie year than Spencer has had in any of his 5 years in the league.

Justin Houston – Last 5 games with K.C. last year in his rookie season: 24 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF. Give me the promising 23 year old over Spencer, please.

I count 4 examples where Spencer is the better option:

Jason Taylor – He retired.

Clark Haggans – Marginal starter, and 35 years old.

Ahmad Brooks – Brooks hasn’t even started for most of his career (same number of seasons played as Spencer), and he has only 1.5 fewer sacks. More on Brooks later.

Jamaal Westerman – I’ll be honest. I barely recognize the name.
An now the guys that play the right side:

Player Team Tackles Sacks FF INT
DeMarcus Ware Cowboys 58 19.5 2 0
Aldon Smith 49ers 37 14 2 0
Tamba Hali Chiefs 66 12 4 0
Antwan Barnes Chargers 41 11 2 0
James Harrison Steelers 59 9 2 0
Brian Orakpo Redskins 59 9 3 0
Cameron Wake Dolphins 42 8.5 0 0
Sam Acho Cardinals 40 7 4 0
Brooks Reed Texans 45 6 0 0
Mario Williams Texans 11 5 1 0
Calvin Pace Jets 72 4.5 3 1
Erik Waldon Packers 60 3 2 0


I count 10 players from 9 teams I’d clearly rather have playing for me over Spencer:

DeMarcus Ware – Obviously.

Aldon Smith – Obviously.

Tamba Hali – Obviously.

James Harrison – Obviously.

Brian Orakpo – Obviously.

Cameron Wake – Obviously.

Mario Williams – Obviously.

Brooks Reed – Started when Williams was lost for the season after Week 5.
Matched Spencer’s career high in sack totals, and added 3.5 more in the playoffs. Give me the young kid.

Sam Acho – Acho did all of his damage in 11 games, after Joey Porter was lost for the season. Impressive numbers for the rookie.

Calvin Pace – Tough call here, but I’ll take Pace’s body of work over Spencer’s, although I don’t like that he’s 31 years old.

I count 2 examples where Spencer is the better option:

Antwan Barnes – Big numbers in 2011, but no production in his career otherwise. I’d be wary of him being a one-year wonder.

Erik Walden – Not a terrible player, but the Packers are probably comfortable just letting him walk.

Including Spencer, we’ve identified 23 OLB’s from 11 teams that play in a true 3-4. You may disagree with a player here or there, but I’d have Spencer ranked 17th among that group in terms of “What player would I rather have?” By definition, I would consider Spencer a “below average starter.”

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Old 03-04-2012, 04:15 PM    (permalink
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I'm going to be honest with you....I really don't care about tackles. Tackle #s are an incredibly unreliable statistic, and him getting a bunch of tackles doesn't shock me at all, considering teams generally run to the strong side, and away from Ware. So yeah, you're going to get tackles. Big deal.

My critique of Spencer is strictly from an eyeball evaluation. He's just not that good.

If he was as good as you're implying, you wouldn't have so much controversy about re-signing him. It would be readily apparent that he's a good player worth re-signing. That's hardly the case.

I mean come on, look at your own stat sheet. It has Clark Hagan on there. You're telling me Clark Hagan isn't anything more than awful? Clark Hagan sucks.

The guy has been in the league for 4 years and hasn't had a season with more than 6 sacks. Come on! Let's be real here. That's not a great player. That's an average one.

He's a pass rusher. His job is to rush the passer. He's not great at it. You can find a lot of guys who can set the edge in the run game, and get hurries in the pass game opposite of Ware for a lot cheaper. If you're gonna pay a guy, he better be a guy who can get some sacks.

Hurries are becoming an overrated statistic. Hurries are nice and all, but you know what a hurry is? A hurry means "he almost made a nice play"

Well almost isn't good enough. You gotta finish as a pass rusher.
I'll sum up your argument in a couple words then. "I don't care about any impartial measure of player evaluation."

You throw out every single statistical measure except sacks. He's a strongside OLB. Look at the numbers above, check PFF, and realize Spencer is absolutely one of the best strongside OLBs in the league. I understand you dislike the guy but cmon you are asking a strong-side OLB to get 10+ sacks which doesn't happen. You have a primary pass-rusher and a guy across that is reasonable and able to prevent teams from rolling out/running every down away from your "money guy".
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