Anthony Spencer turning a corner

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys defense has been surprising to say the least. They also can get better.

The return of rookie DeMarcus Lawrence from a broken foot will help. If defensive tackle Josh Brent can do anything, that might help a run defense that is allowing 5.1 yards per carry. Linebacker Bruce Carter could return this week against the New York Giants after missing the past two games with a quadriceps injury.

But perhaps the biggest reason for hope is the way Anthony Spencer played in Sunday’s win against the Seattle Seahawks.

The coaches credited him with three tackles and three pressures. He was a pain in Russell Wilson’s side for most of the game. And the fact that he played more snaps speaks to how well his left knee is feeling after playing just one game in 2013 and needing microfracture surgery.

Spencer played in 59 percent of the snaps, 29 of 49, against the Seahawks. In his first two games against the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, he played 45 of a possible 120 snaps.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Spencer’s work in practice led to his solid play in the game.

“He really got some spring,” Marinelli said after the game. “What happens is your legs kind of die because he hadn’t done anything. You got training camp legs. Then I think each week he’s going to get better and better. But I felt good about him.”

Said coach Jason Garrett: “He was around the ball a lot more. His pass rush is coming back. His hands are coming back. He did some good things in the game.”