Sensabaugh praises Cowboys improvement

BY foxsports • September 28, 2012

IRVING, Texas — Rob Ryan boasted about how good the Cowboys defense would be after he took over as defensive coordinator before the start of the 2011 season.
Well, it took more than a year, but as of right now, Ryan has backed up his words. After three weeks the Cowboys statistically have the No. 1 defense in the NFL, holding their opponents to 250 yards per game.
It's obviously a small sample size. No one is getting a Super Bowl trophy for having the best defense in Week Three.
But it's not just the outspoken Ryan doing the talking this year. A couple of veteran defenders had some high praise for their unit this week.
"I think this is by far the best defense I've ever been a part of," said safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who is playing in his eighth NFL season.
Sensabaugh, who played his first four years in Jacksonville, says it's been a group effort that reaches beyond the 11 starters. Sensabaugh and nose tackle Jay Ratliff have been nursing injuries, forcing players like defensive linemen Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore and safety Danny McCray to see larger roles.
"I don't think we've always had players like that, at all costs, no matter where they are on the depth chart, compete and embrace," Sensabaugh said. "We're rolling."
He added: "Every year I've said we have the makeup to be great. This year we have the makeup and the personality, the coaching, as a whole, the work ethic. Guys are really taking pride in their work."
Defensive end Marcus Spears is also in his eighth season. He stopped short of saying this is the best defense he's ever played on when asked the question on Thursday. Spears was a member of the 2007 and 2008 Cowboys defenses that both finished the season ranked in the top 10.
However, Spears did note the amount of talent this group possesses.
"I haven't seen from one guy to the 11th guy, this much talent, though," Spears said. "There are a lot of guys that are top level on the defense."
He then specifically rattled off names like Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Brandon Carr, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Jason Hatcher and Sensabaugh.
"There's a lot of guys on that defense that have the potential to be playing over the water (in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl) this year," Spears said. "Talent-wise, we're not lacking at all."
A strong-armed passer with good receiving options and one of the league's top backs will be the next challenge on Monday night. According to Sensabaugh and Spears, the Cowboys shouldn't have a problem countering with some talent of their own.

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota