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November 27, 2012

Spencer takes over play-calling for the defense, and the pleasure of Rob Ryan's voice in his helmet

Linebacker Anthony Spencer’s strong season now includes more responsibility.

He’s going to be the play-caller for the defense now that Bruce Carter is lost for the season to injury.

Spencer got his first chance to wear the communication helmet last week in the second half against Washington, when Carter went out with a dislocated elbow that put him on the injured reserve list. Carter himself had taken over that job from Sean Lee, who went on injured reserve last month.

“It went pretty well,” said Spencer, who had two sacks against the Redskins to match his career high for a season, 6.5. “It was louder than I expected. But it went well.”

What was louder than expected?

“His voice,” Spencer said, breaking into a smile.

Rob Ryan’s?

“Yes. Him in my head was louder than I expected,” Spencer said.

Everyone laughed in understanding. Ryan is certainly a vocal defensive coordinator. But Spencer knows what Ryan expects, and relaying the signals to the defense is just one extra step for him.

“I say them to myself in my head after I hear them, so it was just repeating,” Spencer said. “I mean, that was the only different thing, is he’s yelling, “Watch out for this!” and “Check with this!” and all of the other stuff like that.”

Was he ever tempted to say, “Coach, enough!”

Spencer smiled.

“Nah. I mean, I can’t do that on the field,” he said and laughed. “I just throw him the thumbs-up like, ‘I got it! I got it!’ ”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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