One got the feeling this offseason that familiarity within the Wade Phillips 3-4 was an important factor in the acquisition of free agents on the defensive side of the ball. Namely Keith Brooking, who played under Phillips in Atlanta, and Igor Olshansky, who played under Phillips in San Diego.
Apparently, the familiarity is paying off, and has led to Brooking and Olshansky fitting in with the Cowboys well.
Three time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode, while speaking with reporters on Monday, had high praise for each of the newcomers.
"I played against Igor in San Diego, I've practiced against him, he's a very strong guy. We worked out a little in the offseason... But, he's doing a great job," Gurode said. "He knows a little bit more about Wade than we do, but he's coming to a team where we like to work, he likes to work. So far he's a pretty good fit."
"[Brooking's] the same type of guy, absolute professional, he's been in the game for quite a long time," Gurode continued. "He runs around and makes plays, and he's just a great guy to be around."
It was no secret that Zack Thomas was a bit uncomfortable in the Phillips 3-4, which is why he's in Kansas City; Brooking, on the other hand, went to two of his five Pro Bowls under Phillips in Atlanta.
Olshansky will replace New York-bound Chris Canty, which is considered, somehow, as a downgrade by some. But this is an oversight. Olshansky has almost eerily similar numbers to Canty, and while he isn't as much of a pass rusher as was Canty, he won't have to be with DeMarcus Ware and a healthy Anthony Spencer in the lineup.