Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer has been playing through an ankle injury for the first time this season, and the team has been working to keep him out of the lineup this week.
If he does play, Spencer could help the Cowboys’ pass defense.
The Cowboys have given up the fifth-most passing yards in the league this season and have allowed the third-most points to quarterbacks, per Football Outsiders.
The team has also allowed a league-high 5.9 yards per play.
But Spencer could also play a big role on this defense if he can stay healthy.
Spencer, 26, missed the first six games of the season after tearing his left ACL in training camp.
He then spent four games with a sprained left ankle before missing the final five games of last season with a concussion.
Spencer was signed as a free agent after the 2017 season.
“He’s played in a lot of different situations.
He’s played at the top of the league,” coach Jason Garrett said.
“I don’t think you’ve seen anything like this before with any player in this league.”
Spencer had his worst game of the year in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos, and was benched the next week.
He played just one game in Week 6 against the New York Giants, and then sat out the final three games of this season with an ankle problem.
The injury limited him to just two tackles and two sacks in the four games he played for the Cowboys.
Spencer could play a huge role on the Cowboys pass defense if the Cowboys can keep him off the field for long periods.
Spencer is one of only four players in the NFL who have played in every game this season.
He is second in the AFL with seven interceptions, and has five fumble recoveries.
Spencer also has one pass defensed this season after the Cowboys were one of the best teams in the NFC in 2016.
The other three players to have at least five interceptions and at least 10 pass deflections this season are: Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and Philip Rivers.
He has a league best 10.0 interceptions per game this year.
Spencer’s return could boost the Cowboys defense, which ranks 29th in the NBA in points allowed per game, and it could help open up some opportunities for others on the roster.
“Anthony has been a guy who has been here, who has played in our league, and he’s got to continue to work and continue to get better,” Garrett said of Spencer.
“It’s a little bit of an adjustment.
I mean, we’re going to keep trying to get him healthy. “
So it’s just about how he can handle it.
I mean, we’re going to keep trying to get him healthy.
It’s a big part of it.”
Spencer could see time in the middle of the defensive line in the coming weeks.
The Eagles signed Jason Peters as a defensive tackle, but the team could use another defensive lineman this week if Spencer can’t play.
“They’re probably going to bring a player in,” Garrett explained of the Eagles, according to Fox Sports.
But if he gets hurt, we’ll have to find somebody to take his spot.”