The Cowboys are excited about the return of nose tackle Jay Ratliff.
“Getting Jay back is like getting three guys back,” defensive end Marcus Spears said Monday as the Cowboys got in an extra practice at Valley Ranch. “In the nickel packages, in the base packages and then teams actually game plan for Jay Ratliff. It’ll give other guys the opportunity to probably make more plays and have more success because he’s in the game.”
The Cowboys hope it means a boost for their run defense and pass pressure up the middle. With Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore playing in the place of the four-time Pro Bowl veteran, the Cowboys rank 15th in rushing defense and ninth in sacks per pass attempt.
“Josh and Liss did a great job for us,” Spears said. “They played great football, and those guys stepped in and really did what they had to do to help us win.”
Coach Jason Garrett said Lissemore and Brent will continue to play.
“We don’t get too caught up in the defensive line who is the actual starter,” Garrett said. “Certainly Liss has shown he can be an awfully good football player defending the run and against the pass. He’ll certainly have a role on this football team going forward.”
-- Carlos Mendez