OLB Anthony Spencer calls signals

IRVING, Texas -- When outside linebacker Anthony Spencer became the defensive signal caller, it marked a sudden change in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense. It's the first time in recent memory that an outside linebacker relayed the defensive signals.

But it's not new for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. In 2009 when he coached with the Cleveland Browns, he had outside linebacker David Bowens take on those duties.

Bruce Carter and Sean Lee called the signals before they were both injured. Spencer did so in the Thanksgiving Day game against Washington.

"It's not really any different," Spencer said. "You pretty much say what comes through the mic. It's not too hard. I say what comes through the mic, and I get lined up. It's like echoing the call that I get from Bruce when I get the call."

For a player like Spencer, who could become a free agent in 2013 if the Cowboys don't place the franchise tag on him again, that increases his value to other NFL teams. In some instances it might change the opinion of some NFL teams who weren't impressed by Spencer until this season.

"Because I'm calling the plays?," Spencer asked."That’s a possibility. The more you can do, that’s always the case. It's just one more thing. I'm happy to be doing it, definitely."