Provided that he opts to stay in Dallas, free agent-to-be Anthony Spencer will spend the offseason learning a new position. As an outside linebacker in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 in 2012--the position Spencer has played since coming into the league--he had a career year, with a career-high 11 sacks, 95 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. He was rewarded with his first ever trip to the Pro Bowl.
With new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in town, Spencer will put his hand on the ground as a defensive end. Some have expressed concern that the transition will be bad for Spencer, who just last year seemed to come into his own as a linebacker, but others--like former Colts general manager Bill Polian--believe the move will actually benefit Spencer.
In an article written for ESPN Insider last week, Polian suggested as much, adding that defensive end may even be a more natural position for Spencer.
“He played OLB in Dallas' 3-4 scheme, but I think he's more of a 4-3 end,” Polian wrote, via BloggingTheBoys. “He is an outstanding pass-rusher. As I mentioned earlier, I'm normally wary of players having good seasons in contract years, but putting him at OLB doesn't allow him to do what he does best, which is rush upfield. And I see upside for him in a 4-3 scheme.”
It is worth noting that defensive end is not foreign territory for Spencer. He played the position throughout his college career at Purdue, and could be seen working as an end in recent years in the Cowboys’ nickel packages.
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