IRVING - The Dallas Cowboys' defense has been ranked among the NFL's top 10 for much of the season, but if this team is going to make the playoffs the offense must be more productive.
Each week, during the season, I rank my top 10 players on the roster based on their performances this season.
1. DeMarcus Ware: Cleveland LT Joe Thomas kicked his butt in the first half. In the second half, Ware was a difference-maker with a sack, two key pressures that forced incompletions and a key stop on their goalline stand.
Last Week: 1
2. Anthony Spencer: He moved ahead of Carter with a strong all-around performance that included a sack, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He’s made plays in the passing game each of the last two weeks.
Last Week: 3
Last Week: 2
4. Tony Romo: The quarterback has had a passer rating of more 90.0 in five of the last six games. He’s gone a season-high 120 passes without an interception and he’s doing it behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines.
Last Week: 5
5. Jason Witten: The Cowboys’ most consistent player has at least six catches in each of the last six games and has caught 86 percent of the passes (72 of 84) directed toward him.
Last Week: 4
6. Brandon Carr: Another solid game and he had a key pass deflection in the second quarter, when the Browns were trying to bury the Cowboys.
Last Week: 6
7. Jason Hatcher: Hatcher was easily the Cowboys’ best defensive lineman against Cleveland. He does a nice job of running stunts with Ware and tied for the team lead with six tackles.
Last Week: 9
8. Dez Bryant: Slowly, he’s becoming the difference-maker the Cowboys thought he would be when they drafted him. Bryant has six catches of more than 28 yards in the past four games, and he was easily their best receiver against the Browns. He made contested catches, chain-moving catches, scored one touchdown and set up another with big plays.
Last Week: 10
9. Jay Ratliff: A solid game from Ratliff, but he’s had two dumb personal foul penalties this season. As a leader, he must be smarter than that on a team with little margin for error.
Last Week: 7
10. Gerald Sensabaugh: He put a form tackle on Cleveland running back Trent Richardson in the open field that should be shown to high school and college players everywhere. He’s made more big hits this season than his other three seasons in Dallas combined.
Last Week: NR