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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Igor Olshansky is backing up Kenyon Coleman

By Calvin Watkins

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When the Cowboys made the switch at left defensive end on Monday, it meant a benching.

Kenyon Coleman, who was signed in the early stages of training camp, will replace Igor Olshansky on the first team.

"Right now, I'm playing behind Kenyon, which is really a great opportunity for me to learn how to play this left side," Olshansky said. "He's a master at that left end position, which I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to master as well."

When the Cowboys signed Coleman, they got a run stopper who played in Rob Ryan's defensive scheme for two seasons in Cleveland.

Olshansky is also a run stopper, but he's more suited to the previous 3-4 scheme under former coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Under Phillips, Olshansky was a one-gap player who moved to the right or left side of the tackle and received help from a linebacker on run plays.

With the Ryan defense, Olshansky plays two-gap, where he has to cover both sides of the tackle, but it also allows the linebackers to make more plays.

Ryan's 3-4 scheme asks its linebackers to help stop the run more so than Phillips'.

"In this scheme, the left side basically is where they will run the ball primarily," Olshansky said. "It's where they will line up the tight end, so you want your really good run stopper on that left side. You don't have to move as much on the left side as the right side, which Kenyon does a great job of. So I'm looking forward to learning a lot from him."

Olshansky isn't concerned with backing up Coleman at this stage because, as defensive line coach Brian Baker has said, everybody will play along the defensive line.

Olshansky has displayed a good attitude about the move, saying multiple times that he wants to learn how to play the left side. Coleman also has downplayed the move, saying it's just about moving guys around the line.

"It doesn't really matter," Olshansky said. "I know when we go out there, I know you have 16 regular-season games plus playoff games and a lot of snaps and a lot of football to be played. So you need a solid six guys that can go in there and play. I know I've started for seven years in this league and I know the key to playing a long time in this league is to have solid backup."