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Josh Brent gets start, helps keep Giants in check

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Josh Brent got his first career start Wednesday night, replacing starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff (high-ankle sprain), and finished with two tackles against the New York Giants.

"I didn't really focus on that," Brent said. "I was focused on the W. More so, I didn't want to let my teammates down that were here. That's where all my focus was and my preparation for the game."

It's uncertain if Ratliff will play in the Week 2 game at Seattle.

Brent and Marcus Spears did a good job stopping running back Ahmad Bradshaw for a 1-yard loss on a second-and-goal from the Cowboys 3.

Brent saw the majority of action at nose tackle, coming out for Sean Lissemore at times.

The Cowboys have always valued Brent's ability to clog the middle of the line and his position flexibility. Brent can also play defensive end.

"I think I did alright," he said. "I made some bad plays that I got to eliminate. I got to watch the film (and) eliminate those bad plays and enforce the good plays and get ready for Seattle."

Facing Eli Manning was a difficult task for the Cowboys defense because the quarterback likes to get rid of the ball quickly and use his feet to move around the pocket when it's about to crash on him. Brent faced double teams from center David Baas and guards Chris Snee or Kevin Boothe.

For most of the night, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan stayed with a base 3-4 defense. There was one time he employed a 4-3 front that moved an outside linebacker to the inside. Ryan mixed and matched his defensive ends between Kenyon Coleman, Spears and rookie Tyrone Crawford. Jason Hatcher also had a strong game at the other end spot, finishing with a sack and two quarterback hits.

"It's hard," Brent said. "They're a good team regardless of the outcome. They're definitely going to bounce back, and we're going to have to prepare more than we did this game going into the next one."