The Cowboys have been pretty consistent in maintaining that nose tackle Jay Ratliff is going to stay a nose tackle, and won’t be sliding to defensive end any time in the foreseeable future, but just recently, defensive line coach Brian Baker delivered the most definitive “no” to this position change question we’ve heard thus far.
Baker insists that what fans saw as Ratliff slowing down as the season wore on in 2011--which forced Dallas to limit the former Pro Bowler’s snaps, and which many attributed to the ultra-physical nature of the nose tackle position--was a result not of age or mere wear-and-tear, but of a legit injury--a strain in the ribs.
"Jay got hurt," Baker said, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas. "Jay was busted up, that's why we had to get him through it."
Baker went on to say that the team was willing to continue to give Ratliff occasional relief in the form of young guys like Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent to keep him at the nose, particularly on third downs.
"He will take all the third downs unless somebody proves they're a better pass rusher inside," Baker said. "Until that happens, if he's getting a little worn [down] we'll save him for third down."
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