Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Vision Of The Future At Defensive End?

Posted by jellis at 5/17/2010 5:57 PM CDT on truebluefanclub.com

Marcus Spears had an excused absence from Organized Team Activities on Monday, meaning backups Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen got extra work.

With more opportunities, the Cowboys could see either player as a starter. Jerry Jones issued that opinion back in February at the Scouting Combine, and both players received more valuable tenders than Spears on the eve of free agency.

When Spears returns on Tuesday as he's slated to do, he would presumably go back to the first team. Spears has said the Cowboys haven't had any dialogue about a long-term contract with his representation, the team maybe hesistant to sign him when they believe there are two potential first-teamers playing right behind him in Hatcher and Bowen.

"Both of them have been role players for us, but I think they can be more than that," Wade Phillips said. "They both have starter ability. Both of them can rush the passer, and I think that's a key. Any defensive lineman that can rush the passer is a bonus. They're getting better and better at that, and I think that's helped them and will help us."

Phillips identified Hatcher as the stronger run defender, though he said Bowen is good in his own way. The ability to hold up against the ground game would make Hatcher the more likely starter if the Cowboys ever had to make a decision.

Bowen tied Jay Ratliff for the third-most quarterback pressures on the team last year with 33, trailing only DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.