ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Linebacker Anthony Spencer #93 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Last week, Anthony Spencer said that he thought he'd had the best game of the season in Denver, as Dallas lost 17-10 to the increasingly impressive Broncos. Wade Phillips, according to the Dallas Morning News, agreed with that sentiment, which is funny, kind of, because I spent most of the game screaming at the outside linebacker via my television.
Spencer almost had a game-changing interception that, in all likelihood, would have gone for a touchdown, he almost recorded his first sack of the season and he almost had a good game. But, since this was a football game, and not horseshoes or hand grenades, I placed his performance somewhere between bad and terrible.
In any case, Spencer felt that he was primed to break out; he didn't so much "break out" on Sunday, as much as he made some moderate though noticeable strides. That is, he came closer to breaking out.
Spencer finished with just two tackles. But he got consistent pressure on Matt Cassel and, while there is still plenty of work to be done, this was a major factor in DeMarcus Ware's first and second sacks of the season; Spencer's improvement is also reflected in that Ware had five quarterback pressures.
Now, the bad news: firstly and obviously, close is (still) no cigar, and Greg Ellis, who Spencer replaced, already has four sacks on the year, for the Oakland Raiders. Almost as obvious, the Kansas City Chiefs line is terrible, just terrible.
But, regardless of Spencer's own, kind assessment of week four, and despite the weakness of the opposition, week five represented a step in the right direction for the third-year linebacker who, by all accounts, has the physical tools to be a game-changer.
"He just has to keep playing and keep working at it, and he's right around the corner from being a great, a really game-changing type of player," said Keith Brooking. "I believe that with all of my heart."