ARLINGTON, Texas – You’d think a linebacker who has been in the league since 1998 has pretty much seen it all, but Keith Brooking has never seen anything like Rob Ryan’s defensive scheme.
Brooking, who had immense respect for Wade Phillips’ defensive expertise, is amazed by Ryan’s version of the 3-4 and the various other personnel groups the Dallas defense is implementing.
“To be dead honest with you, I’ve probably learned more the past three weeks with Rob Ryan than I’ve learned in my 14-year career, as crazy as that sounds,” said Brooking, who hopes to play in Saturday’s preseason game after returning from a hamstring injury this week. “He challenges you mentally.
“Every defense I’ve played in pretty much, you get a formation and a coverage and pre-snap, you’re like, ‘Oh, dang, here we go.’ You let the offense kind of dictate to you. Your hands are tied. You’re handcuffed and can’t do anything about it. This defense allows you to dictate to everybody what we’re going to do. We’re going to put ourselves in the best situation, depending on the formation. We have multiple checks, multiple possibilities that we can get in and be in the best call for us to play winning defense.
“This is totally different than anything I’ve played in before.”
The burning question, especially after watching the starting defense struggle in the first two defensive games, is whether Ryan’s scheme is too complicated for the Cowboys to learn on the fly and fare well. Brooking doesn’t believe that’s the case,
“It’s totally different in the regular season, when you’re game planning and you narrow that package down a little bit,” Brooking said. “We’re not going to take every call that we have in Rob Ryan’s package into the Jets. We have that right now. It’s going to be totally different a few weeks from now.”