JJT has a team report out over at The Sporting News.
My guess is the contingent at Valley Ranch isn't too fond of the work Marcus Spears turned in this year, especially over the last half of the season, where he was outplayed by Kenyon Coleman. First you get this comment from JJT:
Then you have the quotes from Randy Galloway's article this morning, which I loathe to reproduce because they come from the dreaded anonymous sources.
I thought Spears was playing fairly decent ball against the run in the first half of the season, but over the last half he couldn't hold the point of attack. Maybe he was helped by having the presence of Greg Ellis out there. And at no time was he really producing in the pass rush. We talk a lot about the lack of pass rush, and with the 3-4 that usually gets dumped on the LB's, but it would be nice if we had some DE's that could also help out. This year, both Spears and Canty need to earn their starting spot and the Cowboys should bring in competition from the outside as well as look at Hatcher and Coleman from within.
On Canty, Galloway's anonymous source says this:
I thought Canty was one of the guys who actually played better down the stretch, but it wasn't enough to inspire confidence that he's a consistent playmaker.
JJT did say the Cowboys like the work of Oliver Hoyte, who was a surprise for the season.
I agree with this assessment, Hoyte is a very physical blocker and when he hits someone it usually does the job. But he struggles sometimes in picking up the correct defender and he occasionally doesn't make solid contact. But that will come with experience at the position, and hopefully he can become a threat in the passing game down the line.
Just to finish out the anonymous sources in the Galloway article, Roy Williams and Bradie James, everyone's favorite targets this offseason, come under fire.
Roy Williams has two major problems in coverage, he's slow to recognize patterns, and he is very slow about turning his hips and getting back once he realizes the need to get deeper. The Cowboys need to face facts, Roy is one kind of player when he's moving forward, and that player can be very good. But when he has to move backward, he's a disaster. Whatever your defensive scheme is, it shouldn't include Roy having to back-pedal.
As for Bradie James:
I guess that one wasn't anonymous, since it came from Jon Kitna. Bradie, in the nickel, was awful over the last month of the season. He just couldn't cover anybody and may end up not being able to play all three downs. If he can't, the Cowboys shelled out some big bucks for a part-time player.
Over the summer, both Roy and Bradie need to spend some long evenings working on their coverage skills.