Reality Bites; Bradie James
Patrick D. Starr
We had to find out more about the newest Houston Texans acquisition in linebacker Bradie James. We asked our good friend K.D. Drummond who covers the Dallas Cowboys for the SB Nation on Blogging the Boys. I asked K.D. some questions on James and what the Texans and their fans could expect from the veteran. Reality is not always nice and you will find out from K.D.
James will be brought in to compete for a starting position with Darryl Sharpton, and camp battles are always fun, this one will be one to watch.
Are you at all surprised that Bradie James ends up back with Wade Phillips and Reggie Herring?
It makes sense after the fact, because although Dallas fans were down on both Brooking and James heading into 2011, the prevailing sentiment was that James had much more left to contribute as a starting caliber player. There was a drop in his play as he was routinely getting exposed in the passing game. From the looks of the contract he received though, Houston isn't expecting much from him. He had a horrible year as a part-timer, but there is the possibility that he just didn't fit the scheme that Rob Ryan wanted to implement; couldn't handle those responsibilities.
James' production was at an all time low, even with 13 games started, what was the reason for the drop?
As I stated in the last question, his play was already dropping off somewhat, and then there was the emergence of Chuck Norris, also known as Sean Lee, who you couldn't take off the field. Therefore James only received 414 snaps in '11. Some Cowboys fans were ready to move on from James, but our lack of depth at the position (read: Bruce Carter's slow injury recovery and Keith Brooking) plus all the dead money we were eating from other cuts kept him in house until his contract expired. James' problem was that he simply couldn't cover anybody, and there was no masking that. The Cowboys were in a situation where Brooking couldn't stop the run without being knocked 5 yards backwards and James would be abused in the passing game. They were swapped based on game situation.
He has been a staple in Dallas since 2003, what has he meant to the community and organization?
James spent his first two years as a backup, brought in under Bill Parcells as a mid-round pick. Once he started, he continuously led the team in tackles and was one of the few vocal leaders on defense. As soon as your play starts to erode though, you can't lead; those two things go hand in hand. You can't yell at someone else if you're a big part of the problem.
Keep hearing that James was on his "last leg" in 2011. Is there any validity to that statement?
Oh, it's true it's true. Only 414 snaps played after averaging 945 the previous three years. Dallas was able to limit his exposure on passing downs to where he was only targeted 16 times. He gave up 13 completions and 4 touchdowns. It's actually worse when you consider the end zone pass interference he committed on a deep bomb to a fullback against San Francisco in Week 2.
Let us know, does James have anything left in the tank and is he still starter material?
Again, there is a possibility that James just didn't fit Ryan's scheme; however his pass defense and pass rush haven't been stellar in some time and that includes time under Wade. I don't see how he could be starter material with those liabilities; especially the way the NFL is such a passing league now. I give Wade a lot of credit for rising from the mess in Dallas, but if he can turn James back into a serviceable starter, he'll deserve assistant of the year consideration (again).
Special Thanks goes out to K.D. you can follow him on Twitter for all the latest Dallas Cowboys news.