IRVING — As a team captain, Cowboys linebacker Bradie James was on the field for the coin toss at Sunday's games against the Bills.
As it turned out, it was one of only two times that he was on the field.
"I think it was a function of how they played," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "Bradie has been playing more in our base defense, and if you follow the Bills, they've been in a three and four-wide receiver set for most of the year."
"We won the game man, that's what I'm here to do," James said. "The only thing I can control is how I react and how I respond to the situation."
This week against the Redskins, James expects things to be a little different.
"Its old school ball this week," James said. "Twelve, which means two tight ends and 21 personnel, so what you see is what you get with them. They're not going to try and sugar-coat anything."
For the last six years, James has led the team in tackles, but that's not the case this season. That distinction belongs to Sean Lee. In fact, James is not even close. He's eight, and his playing time changes from week to week.
"We're competitors by nature," James said. "As a competitor, you want to be doing what you do, but you also have to see the big picture, and that takes maturity and it takes... and it takes a level head, and so that's where I am."
The big picture is focused on the development of Lee, who leads the team in tackles. For James, it means leaving his ego behind.
"Bradie is a mature vet," said teammate and fellow linebacker Anthony Spencer. "He's been here for a long time, he knows how to go about working, he knows how to go about practice, and he knows he's got to get ready because at any time, he can be in the game. He knows that. He gets ready the way he needs to get ready. I'm sure he doesn't like it, but it's part of the job."
James turned 30 in January, and is also in the final year of his contract. That's a bad combination in the business of football.