Brooking is proving critics wrong now

Keith Brooking fired up the Cowboys again before the playoff game against Philadelphia. (See video below.)

Keith Brooking fired up the Cowboys again before their playoff game. (See video below.)

Since I’m probably heading out to Flowery Branch for a season-wrap news conference — barring a break in the fascinating world of college defensive coordinators — I figured this would be a good transition to getting into the Falcons later:

Congratulations, Keith Brooking.

It was understandable that Brooking was pumped for the Cowboys-Falcons game in October (which somewhat turned both teams’ seasons around — the Falcons’ in the wrong direction). It was somewhat comical — and certainly out of character — how he trash-talked his former team and mocked them during Dallas’s win. (He later apologized for the trash-talking. But when asked about taunting the team by flapping his arms like a bird during the game, he responded, “I ain’t apologizing to anybody.”)

And when Brooking fired back at the host of his own weekly show for bringing up the Cowboys’ past December and playoff failures, we understood where he was coming from. But again, it was out of character for a guy who seldom, if ever, said or did anything inflammatory in Atlanta.

But the new Keith Brooking has to be feeling pretty justified about everything today. The Cowboys destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, one more reason why I never bet any more.  Brooking was strong again in the NFC playoff game, and has been an inspirational leader for the Cowboys’ this season (see video below). The new atmosphere has clearly been good for him, because it looks like he’s making more plays than he’s missing.

It helps to be playing on a better defense in Dallas. But that shouldn’t diminish the accomplishments of a player many (most?) Falcons fans believed was toast. Consider this brief analysis from the Dallas Morning News:

Talented mercenaries have always been available in the NFL’s free-agency era. But the Cowboys paid for a rare free-agent commodity when they signed Brooking: leadership. This type of character player with gas left in his tank rarely becomes available. He gave the Cowboys 106 tackles on the field and direction in the locker room.

Finally, if the Cowboys reach the Super Bowl when some thought Brooking’s career was over, it would be somewhat ironic. He played in the Super Bowl with the Falcons when he was a rookie in 1998.

And now, here’s the video.

Keith Brooking fires up Cowboys with pre-game speech

173 comments Add your comment

A

January 11th, 2010
11:57 am

He’s an idiot, and I’m a Tech fan

Upstate Falcon

January 11th, 2010
11:59 am

Where did this come from. He never showed that much energy in Atlanta, much less leadership!

gatorman770

January 11th, 2010
11:59 am

Dang! Maybe I’m first
The Falcons really screwed the pouch letting Brooking go!

mitbulldawg

January 11th, 2010
11:59 am

dean

January 11th, 2010
12:03 pm

Whatever the reason he used to be resolved to loseing. I used to listen to him on the morning radio shows and he would talk matter of factly about losing saying, “I hate losing but what can you do”. So now he’s a fired up leader. Whatever, he didn’t have the inner drive to do this in his prime and now does it because he has a chip on his shoulder from being let go. He was good but imagine what he could of been if he were as driven then as he is now. What a waste of talent! Add that to the list, along with his behavior during the Falcons/Cowboys game, as reasons he should NEVER be elected to the Falcons circle of honor!

Matt

January 11th, 2010
12:03 pm

106 tackles? Whoop de doo! Where were most of those tackles made? If anything like his Falcons stats, too far down the field. What about sacks or tackles for loss? I would venture those numbers are VERY low.

DirtyDawg

January 11th, 2010
12:05 pm

The Falcons ‘let Brooking go’ because he was ’screwin’ our pooch. He can’t cover crap, and never could. If they guy had simply ‘moved on’ and kept his trap shut, he too might have found himself a ‘minority owner’ of the Falcons somewhere down the line. Of course he might have had to do something ‘worthwhile’ in order to earn it, but at least Arthur would have felt better about him. When the career’s done Keith, better stay in Dallas…they don’t know you like we do.

C. Tampa Ironworse

January 11th, 2010
12:08 pm

Is it just me…or did Brooking look like he was trying too hard to “fire up” the Boys? Seemed a bit labored and unnatural. And by the by…if Turner runs like 2008…Falcons win 11 games in 2009. So not having Brooking is a non issue.

dean

January 11th, 2010
12:09 pm

He must be on the roids!

Dawglessville

January 11th, 2010
12:10 pm

Brooking will always be criticized because he is a race lightning rod just like Steve Nash, Brett Farve, Mike Vick. I’ll never understand why Brooking and Nash catch so much heat and get hit with the “over-rated” tag (That is subtle racism like “athletic” tag). Good for him. Have fun. He’ll be OK and so will the Falcons with out him.

VAFALCON

January 11th, 2010
12:10 pm

KIETH 3:16

(arizona-falcons playoff game last year if you don`t know what that means)

Reid Adair

January 11th, 2010
12:10 pm

Fuinny how Keith Brooking became a trash talker and a taunting player after going to Dallas.

Coincidence? I think not.

Player evaluation

January 11th, 2010
12:12 pm

If the Falcons had kept Brookings, Foxworth, and Grady Jackson :
The defense would have been much stronger.

MR

January 11th, 2010
12:13 pm

Another bunch of idiots. Brooking was not finished when he left Atlanta. The Atlanta coaches were always playing him out of position. The last time Wade Phillips was his coach he was outstanding on the outside. Dallas plays the 3-4 and Brooking thrieves on the outside. I am glad he got the chance to go somewhere he would be appreciated by the coaches and the fans. Atlanta does not deserve a pro team. All you heard this year was how big a mistake was made when drafting Matt Ryan. Well just give it time and he will be playing somewhere else and beating the Falcons. ‘A’ you are biggest idiot of all.

FalconsFan

January 11th, 2010
12:19 pm

Brooking is still not an impact player. I have watched several Cowboy games and have yet to see him make one gamechanging play. He is not an outside linebacker he is still on the inside. He is a role player he is taking off the field on most passing downs. I used to like Brooking until his antics in the Falcons Cowboys game but the guy is on a much better defense where he can hide. Demarcus Ware is the man on that defense.

C. Tampa Ironworse

January 11th, 2010
12:28 pm

Player Eval – Who is Brookings? I’m aware of Keith Brooking but not Brookings.

MR – the only thing Grady Jackson adds to a team is an additional “Weight Baggage Charge” on domestic flights out of Hartsfield.

Falcon Phil

January 11th, 2010
12:30 pm

He was overpaid and did little with the falcons. Good riddance!

PreyDawg

January 11th, 2010
12:31 pm

So Brook finally pulled his head out for a season and decided to play a little. He dogged it for at least his last 5 seasons at Atlanta. I have TIVO I have watched him over and over and over pile jump (as I saw him do twice this past weekend) and then get up pumping his arm like he made the tackle. He is a pile jumper, a stat hog, and was an absolute liability on D his last 5 seasons in Atl.

The way I see it he owes the Falcons a lot of money because he stole for several years. He spent the vast majority of his time cheerleading and playing patty cake tied up with the single running back assigned to block him. I know what I saw with my own eyes on TV (again TIVO not a single view of a play) and in person. The guy is a pretender. PERIOD.

Tech Fan Since 1950

January 11th, 2010
12:31 pm

Same old Falcons’ mentality like DirtyDawg will get Atlanta no where. It’s been that way most of the 40 plus years the Falcons have been in existence. You can’t have good football teams, no matter what the talent level, without leadership. Matt Ryan seems to be a leader and with more experience he’ll bring more to the table. Defensively there is not an apparent leader for the Falcons and that is where the absence of Keith really shows. I never would have thought I would be a Cowboys fan, but with Tashard and Keith onboard the stampede is on at least for the playoffs.

PreyDawg

January 11th, 2010
12:33 pm

Oh. And one other thing. After the Cowboys game trash talking/apology/not apology/ we now also know he is a classless jerk. The Falcons owe him Zip. They paid him millions and made him a star in this town. Lofton carried him his last year here.

YellowJacketFalcon

January 11th, 2010
12:33 pm

Brooking is a d-bag. MR have you even watched any of the Dallas games??? Brooking RARELY gets in on any tackles only thing I saw him do Saturday was follow McNabb out of bounds. Good riddance to a talentless jerk.

bugman

January 11th, 2010
12:36 pm

Over the last couple years I have seen a lot of posts on these blogs regarding Brooking and how he was unfit to play for Atlanta. I always considered him an above average LB and most importantly, a stand up guy character-wise as well as a leader in the locker room. Granted, I was really pissed at him last year for the missed tackle that (in my mind) cost us the wild card game in Pheonix but hafta admit that I don’t think it should have cost him his job.

I know plenty of bloggers will say “good riddance” but I never really understood how ya’ll think you can readily replace the intangibles that he brings to a team. Do you consider Peterson a replacement for Brooking? I sure don’t. And the part (that I can relate to) that hurts most in letting him go is the LB corps is really no better than when he was here and you just dumped a guy that bled red and black and gave his heart and soul to the Falcons for 10 years. The only thing I guess I can liken it to for us average joes is working 20 years and getting laid off then being replaced with a worker that is ≤ you. Then getting an ‘atta boy’ and that snazzy Timex on your way out the door. Sadly, kinda like the US military.

I wish him luck and a Super Bowl ring (something Atlanta may never see)!

Carl

January 11th, 2010
12:37 pm

I am among those who didn’t lose any sleep over Brookings’ departure, and the Falcons seemed to think they could replace the departing defesive players with upgraded quality. It is a bit ironic, however, that 2 of the defensive standouts in the playoffs so far are Brooking and Foxworth. Guess the crystal ball at Flowery Branch needs some polishing up.

Vick Supporter

January 11th, 2010
12:42 pm

Good for Brooking….it seems like every player that leaves the Falcons get better as a player, including this guy..

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20100111_Pass_to_Maclin_will_go_a_long_way_for_Vick.html

brookingshater

January 11th, 2010
12:42 pm

brooking is gone and i am soooo glad……….he single handledly lost the falcon/cardinals game last year and showed his I.Q. as the result.

All I'm Saying Is...

January 11th, 2010
12:42 pm

Brooking had gas left in the tank but he showed an inability to cover backs going out to catch a pass. He did not have the speed or quickness to keep up with them or tight ends, for that matter, unlike the great linebacker in the middle in Chicago whose name escapes me. Brooking also was not a leader and certainly not a vocal one in Atlanta. He may have been playing out of position when he was put on the outside but fact remains the Falcons had somebody better to play inside linebacker otherwise Brooking would have had that job.

The Falcons made a calculated decision to get younger on defense in one off-season and since statistically the Falcons defensive ranking overall improved from last year to this, I guess the Flowery Branch brain trust was right. If it were up to me, I would have kept Grady Jackson and Domonique Foxworth given our troubles stopping the run and our alternatives at the cornerback position (Chris Houston is average at best and Brent Grimes is a nickel corner at best) and let Brooking go too.

In Dallas, Brooking has some great lineman in front of him not average or below average (Babineaux, etc.) and more than one solid player (Abraham). Plus the Dallas lineman tend to be every down players not situational like Abraham. With that type of talent up front, any linebacker can play well if you define playing well as making a lot of tackles.

What I want to know is how is Brooking doing in covering backs and tight ends going out to catch passes? Can he sprint back fast enough to get into zone coverage? Does he get sucked in by play action and misread the playing letting his man run free down the field (like he did against Phoenix in our playoff loss on that proverbial 3rd and 16 play)?

And, by the way, Brooking attracts criticism because some deem him over-rated. Like I typed, if you define a great linebacker by the number of tackles they make, then Brooking is having a great year. I look a little deeper and also examine how they are in pass coverage as well as in how many of those tackles are for a loss. Plus this whole rah-rah, standing in the center of the circle, causes many to focus on Brooking because he is getting all of this credit for being a great emotional leader for the Dallas defense while most conveniently ignore how much better the talent is around him and forget about what his performance in Atlanta was which was sub-par.

Nash attracts criticism because of his salary and the fact that he never plays defense. Brett Favre attracts criticism because of his prima donna ways (see recent dust-up with Childress as if the head coach cannot decide to remove him from a game) and the fact that he could never decide if he wanted to retire and stay retired and then all the turmoil he brought upon the Packers when they finally decided to move on (guess that Aaron Rodgers is pretty good, huh?). Vick attracts criticism because of the extreme heinousness [sp.] of his actions (killing dogs) and the fact that he lied at first and said he didn’t know anything about it and then the truth comes out with him as the ringleader. While its not always about race, it does cause numerous additional folks to come out of the woodwork and pile on.

All I'm Saying Is...

January 11th, 2010
12:44 pm

Sorry meant to type Brookings.

FalconsFan

January 11th, 2010
12:47 pm

When we let the veterens like Brooking go it was to give the younger players a chance to develop. Foxworth played good on Sunday but Brooking a defensive standout. You must have been watching a different game than me. The Falcons actually offered to keep Brooking but he didn’t want the reduced role that he has now with the Cowboys. Watch the game this weekend and see how many times they take him off the field.

PaulieOldSchool

January 11th, 2010
12:47 pm

You know, something’s been bugging me for awhile now. Wasn’t Jesse (The Hammer) Tuggle basically forced into retirement by Brooking’s arrival on the Falcons? I was living in MI then, second worst mistake I ever made, but to stay on point, I remember that Tuggle was starting and then, all of a sudden, Brooking was starting and Tuggle was gone, and not too pleased about it. My main point is, everyone’s time comes. It was time for new talent here. 56 was lucky enough to sign a contract with Dallas, and, hey, Keith, good luck in the playoffs. I know where I’d be throwing the short pass when he was in the game. I lost whatever positive feeling was left after the AZ game last year when I saw him perform in the DAL/ATL game this year. Little talent left and positively no class. Somebody holler back if you remember the Tuggle/Brooking sequence the way it really happened. Thanks.

John

January 11th, 2010
12:47 pm

My enduring memory of Number 56 as a Falcon was watching his over-matched butt running three steps behind the guy he was supposed to be covering in passing situations. “This guy is Pro Bowl material?” I used to ask myself.

Brooking in Atlanta was a nice component, but never a player you could build a defense around. In Dallas, he’s beneficiary of the personnel around him.

It’s good to be in the right place at the right time.

Paulitik

January 11th, 2010
12:56 pm

Besides being animated during the pre-game huddle, what exactly has he done? Has even had a solo tackle in the last 2 games? I think he maybe had 2 in the Atlanta game. He’s just an overrated pile-jumper and pretty much always has been.

M Anthony

January 11th, 2010
12:56 pm

Interesting how the fans here paint Mr. Brooking with so much bad play and hate. Let me see, he and his team are still in the playoffs and the falconettes and their fans are at home watching Mr. Brooking and the Cowboys play on tv. Must be some of that same attitude running through this city. You remember how last week the falcons had such a great season yet they are at home watching the playoffs on the boob tube.

FalconsFan

January 11th, 2010
12:58 pm

Paulie the Falcons were getting rid of Tuggle so Brooking could play MLB and instead of going to another team he choose to retire. A true class act and a true Falcon ring of honor member.

retired on the lake

January 11th, 2010
1:00 pm

PaulieOldSchool believe your right.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

January 11th, 2010
1:01 pm

I would have bit Brooking’s plodding butt if they’d let me in the stadium while he was playing for the Falcons. Even I could outrun him, despite the paint on my rear end and my age.

retired on the lake

January 11th, 2010
1:03 pm

JWS

January 11th, 2010
1:04 pm

There is a reason his nickname is the “6 yard Sheriff”…

Wow! 106 tackles. 3 sacks, 1 TFL, 7 PD’s, NO INT, NO FF. But hey, you can’t put a price on leadership. I mean DeMarcus Ware was a nobody until the great leader arrived.

Kyle

January 11th, 2010
1:06 pm

It’s all the defense. He played on crappy defenses. When you play on a good defense, like dallas has, then two things happen. your mistakes are covered up and you do play harder because you don’t want to be the one with the blame.

collegeballfan

January 11th, 2010
1:07 pm

From Ramblinwreck.com

Georgia Tech juniors Morgan Burnett (S), Jonathan Dwyer (RB) and Derrick Morgan (DE) will enter their names in the NFL draft, all three players confirmed Monday.

Josh

January 11th, 2010
1:13 pm

Nobody is louder and prouder about a 4-tackle game than ol’ Brookie. (For the record, ONLY 38 players had more tackles this past weekend than Keith Brooking).

D'ville Dawg

January 11th, 2010
1:16 pm

yeah, not missing Brooking – not at all, Schultzie…..Falcons were better at LB without Brooking – not sure about the purpose of your column here – If you are trying to take a shot at Dimitroff/Smith, well go ahead but you are WRONG!!!

Keith Brooking was and IS past his prime – he’s proved capable of making tackles 5-10 yds down the field – he has always been able to do that and he still can – no doubt. I have watched several Cowboys games this year and never saw him make an impact. 100 tackles is 100 tackles but he makes no impact.

Bad column……..Brooking went to a better team than Atlanta – that is all he did. If the Cowboys would have signed somebody else, they would be just as good if not better.

FalconUGAFan

January 11th, 2010
1:17 pm

Hey Vick Supporter great article:

“It goes to show, with that completion, that the hard work after practice – working on my accuracy – has really paid off,” Vick said. “I learned how to be a pro” from McNabb, Vick said. “I learned a lot about defenses. The film study. The preparation. What it takes. I know that’s going to take my game to another level.”

Too bad he didn’t do that for us. You know…Prepare

Ben in Albany

January 11th, 2010
1:20 pm

“And the part that hurts most in letting him go is the LB corps is really no better than when he was here”

Actually they are! Lofton being tied for sixth in the league in tackles with 133 (one tackle behind Ray Lewis and had 10 more solos than Ray) and Peterson with 109 are both higher than the Falcons 2008 team leader in tackles Mr. Brooking with just 102. The new and improved Brooking of 2009 only got 106. Falcons made the right choice!!!

PMC

January 11th, 2010
1:22 pm

So you’re saying now that he’s out of Atlanta he’s finally paying with the passion and the energy he was paid for when he was here?

The guy is an excellent football player ok. He is generally a jovial nice to the media guy and a very good leader in the locker room even if he does lose his mind sometimes. That said. He never fit as well in the schemes we had here since Wade Phillips left. That’s not all his fault but he made insanely large money here while not making Ray Lewis type plays and he wondered why he got criticism? REALLY?

I respect him as a football player and as a man….but the anger that he had about leaving and going to a far better situation in Dallas…. is absolutely ridiculous. All that anger I guess is fueling him to be better than he has been the last several years so good for him and good for Dallas getting that monkey off thier back.

C

January 11th, 2010
1:22 pm

Brooking can eat it. Dallas sux.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

January 11th, 2010
1:22 pm

PLAYOFF WINS:

Joe Cool – 3

Matt The Fool – ZERO

Ravens are 1 win away from 2nd straight Championship Game

Brooking & Foxworth are proving just how over-rated Dimitroff really is.

From the the injury, damaged goods in Jerry & Moore, to cutting Brooking & Foxworth, to drafting a 5th year senior with 22 PICKS as a senior, Dimitroff has been a total failure.

The Newsome/Harbaugh regime has produced a 3-1 playoff record in the same time frame as Dimitroff/Smith regime.

hop

January 11th, 2010
1:25 pm

the brains at flowery branch told brooking that he was over the hill as a player and that is why he is upset and right fully so.

i am a dawg fan but this guy has been a high character person who always represented tech and the falcons with class!

the treatment by the falcons organization and the fans in atlanta has been awful,but keith is getting the last laugh as the defense was horrible this year with the falcons and the cowboys are riding high with their new found leader!

PMC

January 11th, 2010
1:26 pm

Anthony Spencer is the reason Demarcus Ware is even better now. Dallas also has a much stronger secondary having lived through the youth movement they had the last several years. Keith Brooking is a nice piece for them but it’s not like he’s some superhero playmaker.

The Falcon brass had a choice between Brooking and Peterson, Peterson was thier guy… this is no different than it is at any other company in America when the leadership changes. They chose Peterson and wanted to see what they had in the guys they drafted…. Brooking is MUCH MUCH better in Dallas than he played in Atlanta the last several years…. some of that is definately the different schemes and bad coaches we had. No one needed a change of scenery more than him.

JWS

January 11th, 2010
1:27 pm

Just by way of comparision, look at the player that replaced him.

Mike Peterson: 3 more total tackles, 2 more FF, 1 more INT. Sure he had had 2 less sacks, but considering he was probably sent on the blitz just a handful of times, then I am ok with that.

Also, more of MP’s tackles were solo then the pile jumpers.

Just on a side note, KB hasn’t intercepted a pass or forced a fumble in 4 years now.

Again, though, he is a great leader…not a game changer, but a an awesome leader. Thankfully he isn’t leader by example because Dallas would never get a turnover.

BuckCommander

January 11th, 2010
1:27 pm