Linebacker Zach Thomas believes the 3-4 defense is the best-fit scheme for him and something he played well in during his last three years in Miami. Thomas is also changing his body in Dallas. He has been working with strength coach Joe Jurazsek, who was at Texas Tech when Thomas was in college, and has muscled up to 240 pounds for the first time in his career. That's well above his usual 225 pounds he played at most of his career.
''I don't want to get too big or too stiff,'' Thomas said. ''I feel good out there on the field.''
Thomas, who is 5-foot-11, says his weakside linebacker spot in the 3-4 is more protected that you would think. Fullbacks rarely get a clear shot at the position because of the stunting on the defensive line. The weakside position was the leading tackler (Donnie Edwards) in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense in San Diego. Last year's weakside guy, Akin Ayodele, was fourth on the team in tackles which helps gives a indication why he is no longer here.
- Rick Herrin