EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06: (L-R) Gerald Sensabaugh #43 and Anthony Spencer #93 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after the Cowboys recovered a fumble on defense in the second quarter against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 6, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Dallas Cowboys defense has gone from good but spotty, early in the season, to being a mainstay in discussions (read: deafening, frustrating arguments) of just who, exactly, has the best unit in football.
The difference, according to Anthony Spencer, is confidence. He characterized the unit in a recent commentary as one playing together, trusting in each component of the machine. The knowledge, Spencer says, that everyone is where they need to be on a given play allows the team to play in their preferred aggressive manner. And in this light, Wade Phillips the coordinator might just have some more kudos in order.
"I would have to say our defense is confident, that's how I would describe our us right now--we're playing confident," said Spencer. "We've got trust in everyone else that's around us so we don't have to worry about too much of the other things going on, so we just concentrate on the things that we have to concentrate on and execute."
One would be crazy to think the play of the third-year linebacker Spencer hasn't been integral in this shift, from good to great. Spencer has been arguably the team's defensive MVP over the last month or so of the season, after breaking out with his first two sacks against Oakland on Thanksgiving.
This change too, Spencer said, was born of confidence.
"You go on the field to make plays and the more plays you make the more confidence you get out of it," said Spencer, of his recent surge. "You build confidence like that, and that's what has been happening."