Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
On Thursday afternoon, I told a few of you that the Beast would be sitting down with Cowboys inside linebacker Bradie James for an hour or two. We covered a lot of ground during our interview on Dallas' 103.3 ESPN, and I was able to sneak in a couple of question from you guys.
James: One thing about Zach: Zach's very, very fast and active. Zach taught me a lot. When I get to that age, hopefully I'll be called granddaddy in the locker room. [Thomas] brought it every day, every time he walked on the practice field. Yeah, he might've missed a tackle or two, but he gave it his best and that's why he has been regarded as one of the better inside linebackers in the league.
Keith's the same way, he's just a taller Zach Thomas and he's very, very active. The position those guys play is a very productive position. And that position in our defense is supposed to be the leading tackling position. And so hopefully he can come in and be very productive and I know he will; I know Keith Brooking will. There are some little nuisances he's still picking up, but other than that, he's definitely fitting straight in. The difference between Zach and Keith, Keith had played in this defense before. He played in a 3-4 at that position. Zach played in a 3-4, and he played my position [in Miami]. It was totally different for Zach. There's no way Zach could've played my position. That's not his style of play.
I followed up by asking him how difficult it was to adjust to playing next to a new linebacker every year.
James: It can be tough from time to time. You have new guys and you don't know their ego and what their agenda is. But you have to pick up on certain things, and then watching [Brooking], seeing him in a different uniform, he's kind of like your competition. And then as teammates, you become competitive [together]. And one thing I learned from last year with Zach was when we started playing together, when we became a 1-2 punch, we were way more productive than just out there trying to see who could get the most tackle, because sometimes we probably wouldn't do our jobs. We'd leave each other hanging. It makes it easier when you're working together and that's what Keith and I are trying to do.
An anonymous Eagles fan asked James what it was like to get drummed by the Eagles.
James: Hey, I can tell you it was miserable. It was definitely the longest game of my life. I couldn't believe that, now not taking anything away from Philly, they played a good game, but everything that could happen wrong for us happened. We had guys fumbling. [Tony] Romo got sacked a couple of times, lost the ball. Touchdown, touchdown. It was crazy. They put us out of our misery.
Undercoverdonkey wanted to hear James' take on Stephen Jones' recent statement to Yahoo! Sports that the presence of a powerful voice like T.O. made it difficult for Romo to lead the team.
James: See, that's the thing. God gave us all the ability to be out there and play. With my position and with Romo's position, you have to have some type of leadership ability. To be the quarterback for America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys, no matter what, you can't run and hide. You cannot! You have to step up at some point and be that guy and be that go-to guy. I'm not saying that Romo hadn't done it ... With his personality, what you love about Romo is the same thing you hate about him. When he gets in the fourth quarter, he's so cool, calm and collected. When we're getting drummed by Philly, he's still so cool, calm and collected.
I asked if there was anything different in Romo's approach.
James: The thing about Romo, he'll be fine. I've seen Romo, the maturation process of Tony Romo. The metamorphosis of Tony Romo. He's like the Incredible Hulk. When he came in, he was an undrafted free agent. We used to go out with Romo and tell him, 'Romo you cannot wear those pants with those shoes.' And now he's the quarterback, he dates Jessica Simpson. You know he's the man! It's so different.
In other news, James seemed amused by some of the statements former Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis made Wednesday about All-Pro DeMarcus Ware hiding so that Ellis could get more playing time. He advised Ellis to go ahead and move on, which sounds logical to me. I'll try to get the audio for our Wade Phillips segment, too. James loves Phillips' new approach as head coach/defensive coordinator. He says Phillips is much more involved in meetings than in his first two seasons as head coach.