Brooking should be a better fit than Thomas

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

First off, let me acknowledge a far more important and potentially tragic story that is emerging on Florida's Gulf Coast, where two NFL players have apparently been lost at sea. One of the players, Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, is represented by the same agency that had the late Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams.

AFC West blogger Bill Williamson, who covered Williams when he played for the Broncos, confirmed with agent Troy Asmus that Cooper was one of four boaters missing Sunday. Anyway, it just felt wrong to start blogging away about the NFC East when something like this was unfolding. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those four men.

And as we make an awkward transition, I did think that Tim MacMahon of Dallasnews.com made a valid point about the Cowboys' new inside linebacker, Keith Brooking. There's a tendency to basically say the Cowboys replaced one aging player (Zach Thomas) with another -- and that's accurate. But Thomas always seemed like a fish out of water in Wade Phillips' 3-4. As MacMahon points out, Brooking enjoyed two of his best seasons working under Phillips. He's played the weakside inside linebacker spot before, so this shouldn't take a huge adjustment.

Like Thomas, Brooking's known as an excellent guy to have in the locker room. Thomas wasn't able to make an immediate impact in that area. Now we'll see if Brooking has any luck.