- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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When switching to a new defense, which is what the Cowboys are doing now, several players will be the key to making it successful.
Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware become the biggest keys for Monte Kiffin, if you ask Derrick Brooks, who played in the Tampa 2 scheme for 14 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under the Cowboys' new defensive coordinator.
Lee becomes the middle linebacker and the signal caller in a 4-3. Brooks was a weakside linebacker with the Bucs but made the adjustments.
Brooks thinks moving Lee into a 4-3 will help him healthwise because he doesn't have to take on as many blockers in that scheme in comparison to a 3-4.
"That's one of the key things I'm interested in hearing Monte speak about, see exactly where he sees this kid playing if he plays the middle linebacker," Brooks said. "That's different from what I did. I'm the one playing the chess match with the quarterback that was our dynamic in Tampa. Sean Lee may be that for Dallas and be responsible (for calling the signals)."
In regard to Ware, he moves from outside linebacker to defensive end. Brooks sees Ware like Simeon Rice, who in six seasons with the Bucs picked up 69 sacks.
"It has to start with the best player and that’s DeMarcus Ware," Brooks said. "Can he put his hand in the ground and play right end? I think he can. Simeon Rice is very similar size-wise and they both made an impact on rushing the quarterback. Simeon is one of the best pass rushers I played with in the league. I think Ware can do it athletically."