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Dallas Cowboys nickel defense in 2006 - not good

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DC.com finished up its 10-part series on the Dallas Cowboys roster with an unusual choice, the nickel defense. You don’t see that one analyzed too often by sportswriters. But Mickey Spags pulls up some interesting stats that basically said we stunk on 3rd down last year. Agaisnt the league average, we were in the bottom five, accompanied by teams like Cleveland, St. Louis, and San Francisco, which all makes sense because those weren’t very good teams. But the other team near the bottom was the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. Go figure, although it was kind of a miracle the way their defense tightened up in their playoff run.

There is a lot of uncertainty about the personnel that will be lining up in the nickel defense this year, which includes more than just moving Terence Newman to the slot and bringing in Aaron Glenn. Mickey sums it up thusly:

The biggest switch might be moving safety Roy Williams up into a nickel linebacker spot, if he can handle the responsibilities there.

There also likely will be a shakeup on the four-man defensive line, Phillips doing all he can to put his four best pass rushers up front, and if that's the case, then three of them should be DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and first-round draft choice Anthony Spencer. And don't be surprised if the other linebacker changes, too, since the Cowboys have some athletic guys in Kevin Burnett and Bobby Carpenter to choose from if a lighter Bradie James isn't the continued answer in the middle.

Yes, and soon we will see what Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart have in mind for the nickel. In fact, a lot of the things we been debating and wondering about will start to take shape in about four days from now. I can’t wait for training camp to finally arrive and we can get out of this constant rehashing of last year’s season and really start to concentrate on the 2007 season.

The DFW S-T says FB Deon Anderson might be the first pick signed and it could happen on Saturday. If you read the story about him living in his car and the locker room during some of his struggles at Connecticut, this makes perfect sense. The kid is probably ready for any kind of contract so he can rent an apartment!

Are you guys feeling the impending arrival of training camp? Is there that slight hint of football in the air? Can you smell it?