This afternoon I had the privilege of talking a little Dallas Cowboys football with linebacker Bradie James. Bradie is doing some promotional interviews to let everyone know about Reebok and how you can get your official Cowboys gear from their website. So I'll let Bradie talk about that himself.
Bradie: I am now officially with Reebok, they are the authentic outfitters of the NFL and I got a couple of guys on my team with Reebok, DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis, and a few guys in the league like Peyton Manning and Chad Johnson. For this upcoming game all the fans can go to Reebok.com and get their Cowboys gear.
Right on, so support Bradie and buy your Cowboys stuff from Reebok. After all, you're supporting BTB because Bradie was good enough to answer some questions about football.
Here's the interview.
BTB: Let's step back to Sunday for a moment, what do you think are some of the specific things you guys could have done a little better to change the outcome of the game?
Bradie: To change the outcome, it's always a fine line in the NFL, one play can change the game. Defensively we gave up too many big pass plays and even though they ran the ball they stuck with their guns, with their game plan and executed well enough to win and that's where we kind of lacked that. We had an opportunity to take advantage of different things, different opportunities in the game and we didn't overcome. We had a turnover and gave up some big plays. Basically we know that we could do better. The good thing is it wasn't a playoff game it's still early and we got time to fix some things.
BTB: Let me ask you about the controversial stuff that is going on right now. The media is really playing up the comments that T.O. made after the game. What's your take on that, does that get into the locker room in any way? Does anybody talk about it or joke about it with T.O. after that kind of stuff blows up in the media?
Bradie: I mean you just said it, the media said that stuff, T.O. isn't saying it. What's crazy is, for you to say it like that shows you guys know (the fans) that the media just wants to blow it out of proportion because part of it is their job and they want to have something to talk about. Is it right, is fair to us? No. But nobody cares about that, they just think that we're supposed to go out there and play football. But, you know, we're not going to allow the media to come into the locker room and stir up a mess, that's basically what they're doing. They want to stir up some things to tear us apart but you know that's part of the job, this is not our first rodeo. As long as we know that T.O. is humble and we're not at each others' throat, it's fine.
BTB: In the 3-4 defense fans talk about the SILB and the WILB, can you give us a brief idea of what the differences in responsibility between those two positions are?
Bradie: The strong-side which we call the "Mike" and the weak-side that we call the "Mo," they're two totally different positions. The "Mo" is basically the playmaker, the defense is designed for him to make the majority of the tackles. He's covered-up, there's a linemen always slanted to him so he doesn't take on the lead blockers, unlike myself. I'm not covered-up so I'm the more physical guy and the "Mo" is the finesse guy. I'm asked to go in there and take on the lead blockers, take on the linemen so it will free up other guys to make plays. I'm more like the physical guy, the battering ram and the other guy, the "Mo" guy is the clean-up guy.
BTB: How's it been having Zach Thomas in there playing beside you? We hear about how smart a player he is and how much he studies, has that helped you guys out on the field, does he communicate with you guys.
Bradie: As the "Mike" I do the majority of the communicating. One thing about what Zach brings is, just to see a guy his age have a motor like he has; it pushes everybody else because you know if you don't make the play, Zach will make the play. So it's kind of like an internal competition to continue to go out there and get to the ball carrier. Just to see the way he prepares and goes about it everyday, he's a model and a testament to how you stay in the league a long time, and he is doing the same thing he's always done.
BTB: You mention you are the communication guy, how is the new radio helmet working now that you got a few games in with it?
Bradie: Just like anything that is new you got to get adjusted to it. With that being said, I'm get used to it, I'm getting more comfortable with it. I'm almost comfortable with it but sometimes like with any radio communication the thing goes out so I have to do a lot of extra-studying to make sure the defensive coordinator and I are on the same page. I need to know at critical parts of the game because you can't control when the radio might go out, so I need to know at certain points of the game what he would probably call. Make sure that everybody is in the huddle and gets the call. You can be in a bad situation and if everybody is playing the same defense you got a better chance of to be successful than having 10 guys play the right defense and one guy playing the wrong defense.
BTB: Do you revert back to the hand-signals if you have problems getting calls in on the helmet?
Bradie: Yeah, but you only have a certain amount of time and the offense knows if you are having communication problems and sometimes if they see me, sometimes they can tell and they might just rush out of the huddle and they'll go "check with me." What that means is that they have a pass or run "check" at the line depending on how we are lined-up. It's been something to get used to because out of all the times I've played football I've always had hand-signals.
Click the link below to keep reading, there's plenty more from my Bradie James interview.
BTB: Another thing that floats around in the fans perception is that this defense isn't as dynamic as they would like; not seeing the turnovers that Wade mention in the press conference, things like that. Is there a possibility you guys could do more stuff around blitzing or press coverages or do you think it's just a case of those things will come in time?
Bradie: Really you play this game...the Super Bowl championship won't be won, you won't be handed a Lombardi trophy, until you play the full set of games. With that being said, turnovers and all those things come in bunches and I'm sure that Stew (Brian Stewart) and the coaching staff will put us in position to make plays. It's on all of us to go out there and continue to make plays. We're not pressing the panic button, one week somebody says we're dynamic then the next week you lose a game and people say the defense isn't worth anything. That's why you play the 16 games on your schedule, you can't tell yet and it's not like we're 0-4. We're 3-1. Like I said, the championship is not won after four games.
BTB: How about time of possession, does that really affect a defense later in the game, in the third and fourth quarter? Can a defense end up getting tired if the offense isn't controlling the ball? Does that really end up affecting the defense?
Bradie: I don't know too much about that, I'm sure people are trying to dissect why we didn't beat the Redskins. Maybe time of possession came about. You leave anybody out there on the field long enough and they will get tired, offensively or defensively. So that really doesn't matter. Like I said, it's still early in the season, that really doesn't matter to us. We just got to get off the field, if you don't get off the field on third downs, you're going to be on the field for a long time. So this is our first game being on the field for a while, that's something we can improve on and we will improve on it to be good.
BTB: Looking at the Bengals game coming up, are you preparing for Carson Palmer or Ryan Fitzpatrick? How do you guys approach that when it's unknown who will be at QB?
Bradie: To be honest with you, we don't know who will be the QB and we as players don't get film until Wednesday morning. So Monday and Tuesday you're just getting your body back right from the past game. 90 - 95% of the time the players don't get film yet, so I haven't watched too much film on the Bengals. When we check it out tomorrow, then I'll know who we'll be playing.
BTB: Talk about Brian Stewart some, maybe about his philosophy and how he goes about getting you guys ready for games. Can you talk about that process?
Bradie: We have a simple formula and the number one thing is to win the game. After that, we have a formula that we stick to, you got to stop the run, eliminate big plays and you create turnovers. When you accomplish those three things it gives you a chance to be successful. That's what we try to stick to each week. Now this is the NFL and we have no excuses but, you know, the other team is getting paid to play, too. Every week we try to go out there...I wish we could shut people out every week, but being a realist about the situation that doesn't happen all the time. But you got to have some structure, some foundation, and the way Stew approaches the game he allows us to be free and not worry about making mistakes, just having us out there making plays.