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Jay Ratliff will stay at nose tackle

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Jay Ratliff’s play at nose tackle has been a bright spot for the Cowboys over the years, but an injury helped cause him to play the lowest percentage of snaps in his career in 2011.

That led some people to wonder if they might get more out of Ratliff if they moved him to defensive end to limit the wear and tear on his body. The Cowboys have never indicated that they were moving in that direction and defensive line coach Brian Baker explained to Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com how they will try to keep Ratliff fresher this season.

“He will take all the third downs unless somebody proves they’re a better pass rusher inside,” Baker said. “Until that happens, if he’s getting a little worn [down] we’ll save him for third down.”

The only flaw with the idea is that it would keep Ratliff off the field on first and second downs. That might not turn out to be a great problem, but the Cowboys would be wise to at least consider other configurations if it means keeping one of their best defenders on the field. The best thing of all for the Cowboys defense would be the emergence of another consistent source of pass rush beside Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware, but a healthy year from Ratliff isn’t far behind.

Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore would stand to get more snaps if Ratliff does see fewer of them this season.

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4 Responses to “Jay Ratliff will stay at nose tackle”
  1. bwareromo says: May 7, 2012 5:44 PM

    If were only gonna use Ratliff on 3rd downs we need a space eating NT to play 1st and 2nd, I honestly dont see a quality player on the current cowboys roster that is capable of that.

    Till they do keep him in. Just my opinion

  2. daysend564 says: May 7, 2012 5:48 PM

    At least it appears that he’s put on 15 or so pounds. He was listed at 287, but recent have him at 303. That would have been perfect for DE position had they completely not turned up their nose to some beef in the middle.

    We’ll get to see more Spencer coming around the end, no push in the middle allowing QB to simply step into the gaping hole in the pocket to make a throw.

  3. rarelyclever says: May 7, 2012 5:58 PM

    You wouldn’t take a Pro Bowl left tackle and move him to guard. Nose tackle is the more important position in a 3-4, and Ratliff has proven he can play it well.

  4. drgreenstreak says: May 7, 2012 6:46 PM

    So glad the Pokes didn’t take Dontari Poe. He’s a bust. Ratliff is worth three Poe’s.

    Really sick of hearing about the need for space-eating fat guy at the nose. It’s a passing league. Nobody just ran over the ‘Boys D. They stop the run for the most part.
    The Cowboys simply need to make sure their depth is strong.

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