Monday night was the night the Dallas Cowboys found out what their team would be like without OLB Anthony Spencer, and I’m not sure they like the results. Obviously the score wasn’t what they wanted and neither was the play of Spencer’s replacement, Victor Butler.
Butler failed to record a sack and was credited with only one tackle on the game. He did manage to get one pressure on Jay Cutler, but when he failed to bring him down, the Chicago Bears managed to kick a field goal. Those three points were the first points in the game and put the Cowboys in catch up mode for the rest of the game. Other than the missed sack, Butler was invisible during the game.
I know there are people out there who will claim that Spencer is no different than Butler, with the “close but no cigar” excuse for just missing the sack and that point has merit. Spencer isn’t called “Almost” Anthony for nothing. However, Spencer is a major force in the Cowboys run defense and actually leads the Cowboys with nine quarterback pressures on the year. Yes, more than DeMarcus Ware. Pressures aren’t sacks but they move a quarterback off his spot and make them get rid of the ball quicker than they want. Just asking here but don’t you think that is something that could’ve helped a great deal against an erratic passer like Cutler?
I think Spencer was missed in the run game as well. The Bears didn’t run for a ton of yards or a good average per carry but Spencer averages seven tackles per game. He’s much more physical than Butler and can wear an offensive lineman down with his power, another thing the Cowboys missed against a soft Bears front five.
I like Victor Butler, and he has a role on the Cowboys defense. But the small sample size didn’t turn out the way many Cowboys fans hoped on Monday night. Butler is very useful as a situational pass rusher, but Spencer is an every down player.
He may not be the definition of a franchise player, but we all saw what an $8.8 million player looks like, and he’s needed on the field for the Cowboys.
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