Ben Bass taking first-team reps at DE

OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer will have surgery Thursday to repair a balky left knee and could be out as long as three weeks.

In the meantime, undrafted second-year player Ben Bass is making the most of his opportunity to see more reps at practice with the first team.

"Oh man, I thought he had a really good OTAs and I think he's a big good-looking athlete," defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said of Bass. "He's a guy who can move. What you try to do is create position flexibility, so he's worked inside, I like him inside, I'm looking at him at some end.

"For now, he gives you a big 290-pound left end you can use in the run game. You got to be careful with that approach and not give him too many things to do. You want to make him good first and then adjust. This was an opportunity to give him some work and see how he looks out there."

If not for injuries along the defensive line, Marineli would prefer to keep Bass at defensive tackle. But when you lose four linemen less than five days into training camp, plans can get altered.

And what does this say about Kyle Wilber? He replaced Spencer first but now has been moved to the second-team defense.

The Cowboys moved Wilber from outside linebacker to defensive end in the offseason, but it appears he is still getting used to the switch.

"Not necessarily," coach Jason Garrett said when asked whether Wilber's development to end from linebacker has been slow. "Kyle missed some time last year with injuries, and like I said the other day, we drafted him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. A number of the guys on our team have played that spot and they're making the transition and he's a younger player. So we spent last year trying to figure out that position (linebacker). In a two-point stance, all the challenges those guys have, and now he's back to having to put his hand on the ground. He works very hard, he's a really good kid, he too needs to get stronger and just develop his body more. With experience and playing time, I think he'll continue to grow."