Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Interview with Anthony Spencer!

By Gage • May 18, 2010

In 2007, the Dallas Cowboys used the 26th pick in the draft on defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid Anthony Spencer out of Purdue. With that came a player with a huge upside and all the talent in the world. This past year, he flashed what every Dallas fan had been hoping for. With 3 years under his belt, Spencer looks forward to dominating along with fellow outside linebacker Demarcus Ware, to give opposing quarterbacks fits.

In his rookie year, Spencer started 6 of the 16 games he played and acquired 3 sacks in his limited time. Along with the 3 sacks, he forced 2 fumbles and accumulated 36 tackles. In his second year, he suffered a bit of a setback with injuries as he played in just 12 games, getting 34 tackles and just 1.5 sacks. He was still able to show flashes of his playmaking ability.

All that came out in his 3rd and most recent season. He tallied 67 tackles with 6 sacks, 7 passes defended, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles. He also led all linebackers with 26 quarterback hits. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to next season as a Dallas Cowboy fan. Two solid pass rushers playing across from each other, one of them being, arguably, the best, the other steadily improving.

Anthony Spencer took some time to answer some questions from the fans and here’s what he had to say.

Brandon Williams: You showed increasing flashes of superior sacking capability in 2009. What steps are you taking to be more consistent in that area and get to the next level?

Anthony Spencer: The only way that I see to be more consistent, is to be consistent in everything I do during the season. With workouts, practice, and film watching. It paid off for me at the end of the season.

BW: What aspects of the 3-4 do you like the best and/or dislike?

AS: I love the 3-4 defense because it gives outside linebackers lots of opportunities to make plays in the running and passing game.

BW: What made you elevate your play while playing against the Eagles?

AS: LOL. I guess I would have to say because that’s when it was down to the wire we need those games to get in the playoffs and then to move on to the next round.

BW: Would you like to see more corner/inside blitzes in the 2010 season to really give your opponents some heat, or do you think the blitz/coverage balance that Wade Phillips implemented last season served the defense well?

AS: I believe that Wade is a great coach and he knows his defense every well and will come up with some new types of blitzes to implement during the season because he does every year.

BW: After your surge at the end of last season, is it likely that you and Demarcus will tone down on switching at the line pre-snap now that offenses respect both of you? Or is this tactic mainly a confusion ploy as opposed to creating mismatches?

AS: I don’t believe that we will stop switching sides. That’s just our position, he plays the weak side and I play the strong.

BW: You excelled at run support all season, and hit the quarterback more than any other defensive player in the NFL. One question I have is how does your coverage skills compare to these other abilities in your opinion? I know you and Demarcus aren’t in coverage frequently so it was difficult for me to keep up with this aspect of your game. For a 3-4 OLB is coverage something that you even spend much time on in practice?

AS: Coverage is something we spend a fair amount of time on. I am in coverage more then Ware is because of the fact that I line up on the TE side and a lot of the time the backs come out of the back field to the strong side. I would say that my coverage skills are not perfect and it is a work in progress just like the rest of my game.

BW: Since we just finished up the Draft season… what was your draft experience like? What was your first thought when you got that phone call from Jerry?

AS: My draft experience was not too crazy. At the time I would have been happy to go anywhere, just to get that phone call was going to be enough for me. When it did ring, I was just excited for the opportunity to come to Dallas and play. I knew that Dallas was a well liked team, but I had no idea that the fans were the best fans anywhere. I found that out pretty quick when I got to training camp and the stadium was filled with people like there was a game going on.

BW: What is it like to play in the Palace in Dallas?

AS: Like I said to the last question, we have the best fans with the best stadium in the world. It is hard to compare with anything else. It’s definitely a must see in your life time.

BW: You play in what can be considered the toughest division in all of football, which of your division opponents do you love to play and why?

AS: I love playing against them all because there is so much rivalry between the teams and all the games matter so much if you want to make to the playoffs.

BW: What is it like playing with Demarcus Ware, and how has he helped you with your game?

AS: D. Ware is one of, if not the best pass rusher in the game right now. And I learn from him almost everyday we are on the field, from hand placement to where to step. There are so many little things that go into pass rushing, it’s hard not to take notes when watching him.

BW: You had more QB hits than any other player in the NFL, what can you do differently this year to get to the QB a half step quicker and pick up more sacks?

AS: Just start the way I finished last year, with being consistent in everything that I’m doing that relates to the game.

BW: You’ve played both DE and OLB and have proven to be able to play both very effectively. Which position do you enjoy playing more?

AS: I would have to say outside because I get to stand up and you can see the game much better. The way certain plays develop and you can get a good jump on things.

BW: Why are you such a ******?

AS: LOL. Lots of patience, listening, and hard work is the recipe.

BW: What can we expect from Anthony Spencer and the Dallas Cowboys this season?

AS: There is no staying the same in life. You’re either getting better or worse. The Cowboys and I are committed to getting better so that’s all I can really promise, is that we will be better than last year.

I want to thank Anthony for this awesome interview. He’s a great player and a great guy. I wish him the best of luck!
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