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News » Ratliff is ready wherever needed Nose tackle calls his versatility a key trait entering first Pro Bowl

Ratliff is ready wherever needed Nose tackle calls his versatility a key trait entering first Pro Bowl

Ratliff is ready wherever needed Nose tackle calls his versatility a key trait entering first Pro Bowl
Jay Ratliff will play in his first Pro Bowl today as a nose tackle. But should he reach the NFL's all-star game again, it might be at a different position.

Ratliff led the Cowboys this season with 31 quarterback pressures, a remarkable number considering he faces constant double-teams from his position. He had 11 more pressures than outside linebacker and NFL sack leader DeMarcus Ware.

Ratliff also had 71/2 sacks, fourth on the squad, and finished third with six tackles for losses.

Though Ratliff did most of his damage as a nose tackle, he said spending some time at end before and during the season proved helpful.

"Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen," Ratliff said before leaving for Hawaii. "If they [the Cowboys] hadn't moved me around, maybe I wouldn't be that versatile. The way I feel about it, there's no position on the field I can't adjust and learn. Who knows, I might be at end; I have to get ready for that."

Ratliff, 27, is at the Pro Bowl with four of his teammates: center Andre Gurode, tight end Jason Witten, left tackle Flozell Adams and Ware. Guard Leonard Davis is another Pro Bowl selection, but he elected not to attend because of a foot injury.

When nose tackle Tank Johnson got off to a strong start at training camp, the Cowboys experimented by moving Ratliff to defensive end. Ratliff would have replaced Marcus Spears, who was preparing to move to nose tackle.

But after Johnson's progress slowed during the preseason, Ratliff and Spears remained at their original positions.

During the season, coach Wade Phillips praised Ratliff for his excellent play and defensive line coach Todd Grantham said a Pro Bowl berth should be forthcoming.

Ratliff tried to downplay the talk during the season. When the Pro Bowl selections became public, he said he was surprised and excited about the opportunity.

"When I got picked for the Pro Bowl, I was like, 'Oh, man, I'm really going to get double-teamed,' " Ratliff said.

Ratliff said that thanks to his brief work at end, he's now able to work different moves when rushing the passer.

Now that Ratliff is a Pro Bowler, he believes the expectations will get higher.

"I look at myself and the things I did well and, of course, the things I did wrong," he said. "I'm always trying to get better at it, whether it's at nose or end. Just give me the pads, and I'll do my best."

Pro Bowl Cowboys

Cowboys who were selected for the Pro Bowl roster:

Pro Player Pos. Bowls Comment

Jay Ratliff NT 1st Led Cowboys with 31 QB pressures

Jason Witten TE 5th Team leader with 81 receptions

Andre Gurode C 3rd Only three penalties; allowed two sacks

Flozell Adams* LT 5th Hasn't missed a game since '05 season

Leonard Davis** G 2nd Physical presence from right side of line

DeMarcus Ware LB 3rd Has 51 sacks in four NFL seasons

*Selected as injury replacement**Not attending because of injury


Sunday, at Honolulu

(s-starter; i-will not play, injury


Wide Receivers-s-Anquan Boldin, Arizona; s-Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; Steve Smith, Carolina; Roddy White, Atlanta.

Tackles-s-Jordan Gross, Carolina; s-Walter Jones, Seattle; i-Chris Samuels, Washington; Flozell Adams, Dallas; Jammal Brown, New Orleans.

Guards-s-Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota; s-Chris Snee, New York; i-Leonard Davis, Dallas; Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay.

Centers-s-Andre Gurode, Dallas; Shaun O'Hara, New York.

Tight Ends-s-Jason Witten, Dallas; Chris Cooley, Washington.

Quarterbacks-s-Kurt Warner, Arizona; Drew Brees, New Orleans; Eli Manning, New York.

Running Backs-s-Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Clinton Portis, Washington; Michael Turner, Atlanta.

Fullback-s-Mike Sellers, Washington.


Ends-s-Julius Peppers, Carolina; s-Justin Tuck, New York; Jared Allen, Minnesota.

Interior Linemen-s-Jay Ratliff, Dallas; s-Kevin Williams, Minnesota; Pat Williams, Minnesota.

Outside Linebackers-s-Lance Briggs, Chicago; s-DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; i-Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay; Julian Peterson, Seatte.

Inside Linebackers-s-Patrick Willis, San Francisco; Jon Beason, Carolina.

Cornerbacks-s-Antoine Winfield, Minnesota; s-Charles Woodson, Green Bay; i-Asante Samuel, Philadelphia; Ronder Barber, Tampa Bay; Al Harris, Green Bay.

Strong Safety-s-Adrian Wilson, Arizona.

Free Safeties-s-Nick Collins, Green Bay; Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia.


Punter-Jeff Feagles, New York.

Placekicker-John Carney, New York.

Kick Return Specialist-Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay.

Special Teamer-Sean Morey, Arizona; Zak DeOssie, New York.



Wide Receivers-s-Andre Johnson, Houston; s-Brandon Marshall, Denver; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; Wes Welker, New England.

Tackles-s-Jason Peters, Buffalo; s-Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Michael Roos, Tennessee; Jake Long, Miami.

Guards-s-Kris Dielman, San Diego; s-Alan Faneca, New York; Brian Waters, Kansas City.

Centers-s-Kevin Mawae, Tennessee; Nick Mangold, New York; Casey Wiegmann, Denver.

Tight Ends-s-Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City; i-Antonio Gates, San Diego; Owen Daniels, Houston.

Quarterbacks-s-Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Jay Cutler, Denver; i-Brett Favre, New York; Kerry Collins, Tennessee.

Running Backs-s-Thomas Jones, New York; Ronnie Brown, Miami; i-Chris Johnson, Tennessee; Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo.

Fullback-s-Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore.


Ends-s-Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis; s-Mario Williams, Houston; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis.

Interior Linemen-s-Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee; s-Kris Jenkins, New York; Shaun Rogers, Cleveland.

Outside Linebackers-s-James Harrison, Pittsburgh; s-Joey Porter, Miami; Terrell Suggs, Baltimore.

Inside Linebackers-s-Ray Lewis, Baltimore; James Farrior, Pittsburgh.

Cornerbacks-s-Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; s-Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee; Darrelle Revis, New York.

Free Safety-s-Ed Reed, Baltimore.Strong

Safeties-s-Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Chris Hope, Tennessee.


Punter-Shane Lechler, Oakland.

Placekicker-Stephen Gostkowski, New England.

Kick Return Specialist-Leon Washington, New York.

Special Teamer-Brendon Ayanbadejo, Baltimore; Ryan Pontbriand, Cleveland.

3:30 p.m. today, Honolulu (Ch. 5)

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 10, 2009

Matt Schobel Name: Matt Schobel
Position: TE
Age: 29
Experience: 7 years
College: TCU
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