#3. Greg Ellis
Yes, he's underrated.
Yes, he has talked way too much about his contract this summer. Yes,
he's getting up in years (this season will be his 10th in the NFL, all
with Dallas. Yes, he's coming off a blown Achilles tendon that might
render him a shadow of his former self.
But despite what Jerry and Stephen Jones might say when it's time to
talk about his contract, Ellis' former self happens to be an
extraordinary player. When Bill Parcells announced that he was moving Ellis to
outside linebacker, Ellis was none too thrilled, having been a down lineman
for his entire college and professional career. So he grumbled a
little to the media, and probably to teammates.
He told Parcells he didn't
like the idea. Then he went out and remained the team's best pass
rusher, and a stalwart against the run. He drew enough attention from
opposing blockers that teams couldn't always double-team DeMarcus Ware,
allowing his counterpart on the other side to blossom into a budding star. As
much as skeptics said "Ellis is too old, the Cowboys should cut him,"
they were awfully quiet after he got hurt.
Teams built their blocking
schemes around stopping Ware, and the Dallas pass rush disappeared.
Anthony Spencer might turn out to be another Greg Ellis, but he might not.
Until a proven successor is found, Dallas absolutely must get Ellis
back 100 percent healthy and let him join Ware as stars in
Wade Phillips' version of the 3-4 defense.
Most Underrated Cowboys: #3
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