Brooks on alternating with Cato: It has its merits
Derrick Brooks said he's okay with sharing time with Cato June as the weakside linebacker in passing situations.
For the first time in his career, a healthy Brooks was taken off the field Sunday for about a dozen plays against the Saints in favor of June, the Colts' free agent.
"Going into the game, they said we were going to get some plays in where you guys will come out and we'll get more of a rotation going,'' Brooks said. "Then the weather. It was hot out there. A lot of guys came in and out and we seemed to be the fresher team at the end of the ballgame. Maybe this will work. We'll see.''
Was Brooks, the 10-time Pro Bowl player, okay with the move personally?
"Ah, again, it's one of those things man, you look at it and say let's see it before you knock it and see what it's like. Again, just coming in off the field, it has its merits. I was a lot fresher towards the end of the game and a lot more guys got some plays. It seems to work and we'll see where it goes from here.''
Brooks left the locker room Sunday without speaking to reporters. He said it was because he had to take his daughter to the airport.
According to Brooks, June did a good job in his place.
"It wasn't like he wasn't used to it. Obviously, in practice, that's what he plays. He went in and did a good job from what I can tell,'' Brooks said.
The free subsitution on defense is likely to continue to keep the older players on defense fresh.
"We've had to take Keyshawn Johnson out of the game and put Keenan McCardell in,'' coach Jon Gruden said. "We've had to take Jerry Rice out on occassion and put Tim Brown in. We've had to take Ricky Watters out of the game and put Charlie Garner in. We're talking about winning football games and Derrick Brooks is a big reason why we're going to win. A big reason. And there's some time in a football game, particularly when the heat index is 130 degrees, that we're going to make a substitution, keep them fresh and put a guy in that's also very talented.
"You can say what you want to say and make it as big of a story as you want to make it. But to me, this is just about winning and taking advantage of two very good players that happen to play the same position.
"I talked to him about the possibility of Cato playing a little bit in the nickel. I'm not going to make this any more than it is. I said yesterday we're going to have an outstanding nickel will linebacker on the field. Derrick will be the starting nickel will. When he gets a little tired, we're going to let Cato play. When he gets a little tired, we're going to let Cato play. Those two guys will colaborate on that position. They both deserve that. It'll be front line news I'm sure when Derrick has something to say. Hopefully, he understands where our team is going and where we're going and I think he understands he's a very important part of this football team.''