Josh Brent is making a name for himself in the defense. Every time he starts, he makes something happen.
“Making a name for this defense, the Dallas Cowboys defense” the third-year nose tackle said Sunday night after his forced fumble helped the Cowboys wrap up a 38-33 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. “That’s what it’s about – show everybody how we can play, and this is how we need to play from here on out.”
Brent, starting in place of injured Pro Bowl veteran Jay Ratliff, knocked the ball out of the grip of Eagles rookie running back Bryce Brown in the fourth quarter. Morris Claiborne picked it up and ran it in from 50 yards, giving the Cowboys a 38-27 lead.
“I was just trying to make the tackle, just wrapping up, happened to force the ball loose,” Brent said. “Mo happened to pick it up for six.”
Brent, a a seventh-round supplemental pick in 2010, was starting Sunday night for Ratliff. He played in Ratliff’s place in the first four games of the season and recorded 15 tackles, a sack and two quarterback pressures.
But even when Ratliff came back, Brent continued to make plays. At Carolina, he had a quarterback pressure that resulted in an interception for Claiborne. At Atlanta, he split a sack with DeMarcus Ware. Against Cleveland, he broke up a pass. And on Thanksgiving, again starting for Ratliff, he had four tackles and a pressure.
“It’s a step forward always, when it’s a win,” he said, asked if he believes he has taken a step forward this year.
Brent came in 10th on the team in tackles.
-- Carlos Mendez