The Valley Ranch Review: Keith Brooking Brings his Love for the Game; Rich Behm Returned Home

The words "veteran" and "linebacker" go hand-in-hand when talking about Dallas' new inside guy Keith Brooking. Even while entering his 12th season, Brooking realizes he has a lot to learn with his new team. Of course, his familiarity with Wade Phillips' defensive scheme has helped to ease his transition from the Falcons.

"It's up to me to come out here and familiarize myself with the players, the coaches, the system - and I have a history with Wade in this system before, so (it's a matter of) just refreshing that, the terminology ... all those things. With rookies, though, you're getting the whole kitchen sink thrown at you, so obviously it depends on the particular player, and depends on what point they are in their career(s)."

[snip]

"But even though I'm a 12-year veteran, at times out there, my head's spinning. Regardless of how hesitant you are, in your mind, you may think before the ball is snapped that you're going to do the wrong thing, but make sure you if you do, you do it at 100 miles an hour. That's really important for the coaches to see that. My head's spinning right now - I think we've installed every defense in our system, and we ran every play in our system today. They're throwing a lot at you right now, to see how you handle it, but the main thing is that if you make a mistake, you make it going 100 miles an hour."

Brooking plans to prove himself and bond with his teammates through his love for football.

"I just try to come out here and show the guys how important football is to me, because it means a tremendous amount to me, and I try to show that with my work ethic, my desire and my love of the game," he said. "This locker room is full of guys like that, so I'm fitting right in - it's been an easy transition. I love our locker room, I love our guys, I love their mentality, I love their work ethic - they work extremely hard, and it's the most talented team I've ever been on ... by far. It means a lot, when I come out here and see how hard the guys are working together, as a family, because that's what we are."

Todd Archer reports that scout Rich Behm returned to his home on Friday.

The Cowboys have said Behm's job is waiting for him when he is able to return to work. In addition to scouting duties, he is responsible for getting video for the college scouts on the road as well as setting up highlight tapes on prospects before the draft.

More VRR after the jump.

Jeff Legwold at FOXSports puts the Cowboys, Wade Phillips, and Tony Romo on "the hot seat."

1. Cowboys: If things were really going the way Jones had planned, the team's new digs would have something else besides "Cowboys Stadium'' on the marquee, as well as a big check to go with it. The team is essentially living in the past, is swimming in expenses and hasn't won a playoff game since 1996. That's America's team all right, stuck in a prolonged recession and staring at a hefty mortgage.

[snip]

1. Wade Phillips, Cowboys: When your team owner slaps a gag order on everybody except himself, which is exactly what Jerry Jones did earlier this offseason, it isn't a good sign that he's all that interested in what anybody else has to say. Toss in a new palatial new stadium with a mountain of debt service along for the ride, and you have a recipe for an owner desperate for wins to sell all that he needs to sell, with patience being pretty far down the things-to-do list.

At least our QB didn't come in at #1.

3. Tony Romo, Cowboys quarterback: With Owens' release, it is most certainly — good or bad, happy or sad — Romo's team now. Fans snipe at his high-profile girlfriends, his vacation plans and how much time he spends on the golf course. That's because he doesn't have a playoff win to go with his $65 million contract. And until he does, folks will continue to snipe.

Regarding the "Razorback", Coach Phillips feels it is necessary to prepare his defense to be able to react to the formation. With the popularity of last season's WildCat, more teams may include some variations into their offensive playcalls.

Phillips also acknowledged that they're tinkering with the en vogue system to get a more in-depth look at it from both an offensive and defensive standpoint, considering the number of teams who have implemented the formation in their offense.

"We want to look at that and be prepared for it defensively and offensively and maybe have some options in that area," Phillips said.

"We will see if it goes any further than that. It depends on what we can do certainly. If we feel like we can utilize and do some things from it and still help our offense or at least look at it defensively and come up with some schemes to stop it, this is the time to work at it."

Oddsmakers released the futures odds to win Super Bowl XLIV. They've got the Giants leading the NFC at 10-1 odds, with the Cowboys close behind at 14-1.

The Giants should once again be competitive after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles (14/1) in last year’s postseason. But they cut troubled receiver Plaxico Burress in the offseason and are trying to replace him with rookies or inexperienced players so it’ll be interesting to see how oddsmakers play with New York’s odds as the season draws closer.

The Cowboys are always an intriguing bet because of how talented they are, but it remains to be seen if this team can ever get over the hump. This will essentially be a make or break year for quarterback Tony Romo, who will be without receiver Terrell Owens after the team decided to part ways with him in the offseason.

In case you missed it--No Pacman. Phew!

Eight bucks a beer didn't stop 19 people from getting arrested for public intoxication Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. That sounds tiny considering the 60,188 who attended. Nevertheless, tsk, tsk. There was also one DWI arrest and one assault arrest.

Evidently, Jerry Jones tried to get boxing's "pound-for-pound" best fighter in the world, Manny Pacquiao, to fight his next fight in Cowboys Stadium. Instead, MGM will play host.

A month ago, right after Pacquiao stormed past Hatton in two rounds, Arum said he got a lot of calls from people wanting to host the next fight of the charismatic Filipino pound-for-pound champion. Arum mentioned Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, as one of those who wanted to host the fight at The New Stadium, as well as offers from Abu Dhabi, San Francisco and New York.

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