Anthony Spencer watched Kyle Wilber fill in for him at defensive end in the OTAs and mini-camp, and he said Wilber showed instinct for the position.
“He’s quick off the ball,” Spencer said of the second-year player, drafted in 2012 as an outside linebacker but moved to defensive end in the switch to the 4-3. “He’s just got to trust in himself to get off the ball and doing that every play. Just his get-off alone makes up for a lot of his type of size, playing in the trenches. That’s what he’s definitely working on right now.”
Wilber got a chance to get first-team snaps in the offseason practices while Spencer sat out with a knee injury. It gave the Cowboys an extended look at the 6-4, 252-pound Wilber. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli has said he believes Wilber can be a speed rusher.
Spencer, speaking at the mini-camp last week at Valley Ranch, said Wilber held his own against tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free in the practices. It reminded Spencer of his days as a young edge rusher going against former Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams.
“I got my butt whipped by Flo a lot when I was a rookie and my second year,” Spencer said. “It definitely helped me develop and get to where I am right now. I tell him all the time, it happens to everybody. So it’s good for you. It’s humbling, and it gets you on the right track, definitely.”
Spencer said he and DeMarcus Ware were literally hands-on in showing Wilber everything they could about the position, much as former defensive end Greg Ellis did for them.
“When Greg was here, he would always try to help us with our hand placement. Just talking it out, it helps us at the same time, to be able to explain what we’re doing to somebody else,” Spencer said. “And it helps us to realize what we’re doing. So it helps him, it helps me at the same time, especially with me being out right now. It’s kind of like living vicariously through him right now.”
-- Carlos Mendez