Anthony Spencer is looking at a big offseason payday. Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.
The Cowboys linebacker has put together the best four-game stretch of his career, with 33 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He had one-and-a-half in Dallas' overtime win vs. Pittsburgh Sunday, giving him 10 on the season.
Spencer is a free agent at the end of the season, after signing a franchise tag agreement last season. In hindsight, that might have been a mistake by the Dallas front office, because Spencer's value has only increased.
In a phone interview last week, prior to the game vs. the Steelers, Spencer said it was hard work that's put him in position to have his best season in Year 6 in the NFL.
"The main thing is being consistent," he said for a larger story in the Jan./Dec. edition of Gold and Black Illustrated. "And I just went back and looked at the things I needed to work on, like leg strength and hand placement, a lot of little stuff that I thought could make my game better.
"And this is my second year with Rob Ryan's defense, so being adjusted to that part that also helps out a lot."
Spencer, who says he hopes to take in Purdue's bowl game in Dallas on New Year's Day, says he's focused on helping the Cowboys to the playoffs. They've won five of their last six, and are now in a three-way tie at the top of the NFC East.
Contract talks can wait.
"I definitely don't think about it at all," Spencer said. "It paid off for me last year and there's really nothing I can control about what's going to happen with the offseason except for the way I'm playing during the season. I know that if I play as well as I can during the season, then everything else will take care of itself."
Niko Koutouvides has been getting some defensive snaps at the end of games, as the Patriots look to rest some players before the playoffs.
Koutouvides, a linebacker and special teamer, got a start last season, as the Pats used the same plan to rest starters before the postseason.
Nick Saban, despite his huge success as a college coach, was a wash out in the NFL.
And part of the reason was that he couldn't find a quarterback with the Miami Dolphins. But for the first time this week, he says Miami offered Drew Brees a contract during the summer of 2006, when he was a free agent.
Saban says the Dolphins offered Brees, who eventually signed in New Orleans, even after he had failed a team physical. Brees, of course, was coming off his shoulder injury in San Diego.
Brees is coming off a great performance in a win over Tampa Bay, and was nominated for a weekly award.
The following is a look at the NFL Boilers, their roles and their Week 15 statistics.
Dallas Cowboys (8-6, 27-24 OT win over Pittsburgh; host New Orleans at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#8||QB||Kyle Orton||Reserve||Did not play||#93||LB||Anthony Spencer||Starter||4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 3 QH|
New England Patriots (10-4, 41-34 loss to San Francisco; play at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#90||LB||Niko Koutouvides||Reserve||None||#50||LB/DE||Rob Ninkovich||Starter||7 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QH|
San Diego Chargers (5-9, 31-7 loss to Carolina; play at New York Jets at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#61||C||Nick Hardwick||Starter||Chargers gained 70 yards rushing; line allowed six sacks||#95||LB||Shaun Phillips||Starter||3 tackles, 2 passes defensed|
Baltimore Ravens (9-5, 34-17 loss to Denver; host New York Giants at 4:25 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#31||SS||Bernard Pollard||Inactive (chest)||n/a|
Chicago Bears (8-6, 21-13 loss to Green Bay; play at Arizona at 4:25 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#86||TE||Kyle Adams||Reserve||None|
Detroit Lions (4-10, 38-10 loss at Arizona; host Atlanta at 8:30 p.m. Saturday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#92||DE||Cliff Avril||Starter||1 tackle|
Green Bay Packers (10-4, 21-13 win at Chicago; host Tennessee at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#96||DE||Mike Neal||Reserve||2 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 QH|
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12, 24-3 loss at Miami; host New England at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#77||RG||Uche Nwaneri||Starter||Jags gained 86 yards rushing; line allowed two sacks|
New Orleans Saints (6-8, 41-0 win over Tampa Bay; play at Dallas at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#9||QB||Drew Brees||Starter||26-of-39 passing for 307 yards, 4 TDs / 0 int., for a 124.6 QB rating|
New York Jets (6-8, 14-10 loss at Tennessee; host San Diego at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#81||TE||Dustin Keller||Inactive (ankle)||n/a|
Philadelphia Eagles (4-10, 34-13 loss to Cincinnati; host Washington at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#67||RT||Dennis Kelly||Starter||Eagles gained 42 yards rushing; line allowed one sack|
Tennessee Titans (5-9, 14-10 win over New York Jets; play at Green Bay at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#66||RT||Mike Otto||Starter||Titans gained 167 yards rushing; line allowed four sacks|
Washington Redskins (8-6, 38-21 win at Cleveland; play at Philadelphia at 1 p.m. Sunday)
|No.||Pos.||Player||Role||Game Statistics||#91||LB||Ryan Kerrigan||Starter||3 tackles, 2 passes defensed|
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