Of the four starters coming into camp, Hatcher was the one that had the most question marks next to his name but in the end, he was the most consistent. His 11 sacks were the most by a Cowboys defensive tackle since Randy White in 1984. Playing as the three technique he thrived in this scheme and when he wasn’t on the field, it was clear that this group struggled to find any type of a pass rush. Spencer performed well in a contract year for him but with his age consideration and the dollars that he could demand, his services will most likely be seen with another club.
Coming out of Oxnard, I was convinced that Ware had turned the clock back five years and in this 4-3 scheme as an edge rusher he was well on his way to another double digit sack season, but that wasn’t the case at all. Ware was once again robbed of some of his effectiveness due to various injuries throughout the season. But there were also games where Ware, even when healthy, was not the same player that we had seen from seasons past. What will be interesting for this front office and coaching staff if they look at his work these past two seasons and determine that they might have to take the same approach that they did with
If there was a surprise player on this defensive line, it had to be
If there was a bright spot among all the injuries that this defensive front had to endure, it was that they got the opportunity to look at several different combinations at both the tackle and end. This is where I felt like that Rod Marinelli, Leon Lett and the scouting department did their best work. The front office kept bringing in players and these coaches kept coaching them no matter the situation and it appears that in the long run, there might actually be some players that could help with the depth next season.
When you talk to the scouts, they will tell you that they have high hopes for guys like
Wynn was the most versatile playing both on the strong and weak side but also taking some reps as a nickel defensive tackle. Kearse might not be the perfect fit in what Marinelli thinks a one technique should be with his overall quickness but he is something they surly could use going forward and that is a large body that plays sideline to sideline.
The player I was surprised that didn’t show more after watching him play during the preseason in Indianapolis was Rayford. There were games where Joe Thomas and Justin Pugh really struggled to block him but we didn’t see that type of production once he arrived in Dallas. Rayford like Wilson, Brown and Wynn will all get a nice look in camp and that player could once again appear.
Looking ahead, there is a good chance that this group will see a complete makeover once the NFL Draft comes and goes. There are some solid pieces in place when you talk about help with the depth but some big time starters are needed. There are now money concerns with Hatcher and the health of Ware, so this area will be addressed much like the front office did by drafting