Man in the middle

 

Below is some good stuff on our new WILB Zach Thomas. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the revamped secondary with all the new corners – Pacman, Jenkins, Scandrick - and how that could really help our defense. That’s all good, but Zach Thomas also could make a big difference if we don’t see any recurrences of the concussions. The guy is a tackling machine, but more than that, he’s a playmaker, always around the ball and can cover TE’s and RB’s. As long as age and injury aren’t slowing him down, we might have gotten a real bargain. In 2006, according to NFL.com, he had 103 solo tackles (165 total), three sacks and nine pass defenses along with an INT. In 2007, before the injury, he was averaging 10 tackles a game. Those numbers are sharp increases, not just in tackles, but in overall play from what Akin Ayodele was doing in our defense.

There’s also the question of his size, he’s only listed at around 225 pounds. But, in this interview at DC.com, he says he’s now approaching 240 pounds, all muscle. I doubt he’s put on that much weight but he praises Joe Juraszek’s workout program and thinks he’ll be just fine in a 3-4 scheme. In his own words he claims the 3-4 they ran sometimes in Miami was a better fit for his skills than the 4-3. He also noted that in Wade’s version with the linemen stunting all the time the FB doesn’t usually get a clear shot on the LB and that he’s covered up pretty well. This should open him up to use his nose for the football to make plays.

On the field it’s all good as long as those two career killers stay away – injury and age. Off the field though he could also pay big dividends. His work ethic is legendary and his time spent in the film room is phenomenal.

Since coming to the Cowboys in March, he has filled notebook after notebook from his film sessions. He has devoured every Cowboys defensive snap from 2007. A weak-side inside linebacker, he has watched Donnie Edwards play the same position for San Diego and then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

It's hard to argue with Thomas' routine, though even he admits it can be obsessive.

And he’s already helping out some of the younger guys.

"Zach is probably the smartest football player I've ever been around," linebacker Bobby Carpenter said. "Watching film with him, the guy knows just about everything about every defense. He studies hard. He knows his stuff. This is his 13th season he's played in the NFL. I was still in elementary school when he started. He laughs about it, but there's something to be said for it."

Just like Ken Hamlin came in and became the leader of the secondary, Zach Thomas could fill that same role for the front-seven.

In addition to Breer’s article here, make sure you check out Jason Cole’s from earlier this week. Cole drops this amusing nugget about the lengths Thomas will go to get himself mentally motivated.

"I used to read stories and turn them around to make it seem like people were talking bad about me for motivation," Thomas said. He was so desperate for motivation one time in Miami that he questioned a reporter who wrote that he might be rusty after having missed a few weeks because of injury.

"Did somebody on the coaching staff say that about me? Are they doubting me?" Thomas asked the reporter.

Said the reporter: "Zach, you were the one who said you might be rusty, don’t you remember?"

"Oh yeah, I did say that," Thomas replied.

Maybe he has had one too many concussions. I kid!

Star_medium

Over at the DMN, there’s more dog-piling on Roy Williams. 

Pacman was working out with Prime Time on Monday.

The news is the same on Terry Glenn this week, probably no participation in the OTA’s.

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