The way Phillip Daniels played down the stretch in 2005 had to rank him among the top defensive ends in the NFL. There can be no denying that the 6-5, 285-pound defensive end was a leading force for the Redskins in their return to the postseason.
After four seasons in Seattle and four in Chicago, Daniels joined the Redskins in 2004. His first season in Washington was hampered by a series of injuries. Last year, he made up for lost time.
Daniels started all 16 regular-season games and produced 72 tackles and eight sacks. He was superlative in the 35-7 win over Dallas on Week 15 at FedExField, registering four sacks to tie a Redskins record previously held by Dexter Manley and Diron Talbert.
The offensive line the Cowboys employed at FedExField last season on Week 15 featured Torrin Tucker at left tackle, Larry Allen at left guard, Al Johnson at center, Marco Rivera at right guard and Rob Petitti at right tackle.
Veteran NFC East defensive linemen such as Daniels no doubt are keeping track of the changes going on along the offensive front in Dallas.
Bill Parcells is basically facing a task of trying to overhaul the Cowboys' offensive line following the departure of Allen, the 10-time Pro Bowler. Allen, a salary cap casualty in mid-March, has moved on to San Francisco.
Allen is a force who has overwhelmed opponents for 12 years. Any defensive lineman in the NFC East is glad to see him off the schedule and playing in the NFC West for the next two years.
To replace Allen, Parcells is taking a look at Kyle Kosier, a 6-5, 308-pound fourth-year player. Kosier, being touted as "The Replacement" for Allen in some circles, started 11 games for Detroit last year after having played three seasons at San Francisco.
Kosier played his college ball at Arizona State, where he was a teammate of new Redskins safety Adam Archuleta.
Asked about replacing the intimidating Allen, Kosier told reporters: "I've got some big shoes to fill."
Another new face along the offensive line for Dallas is former New York Jets tackle Jason Fabini, a nine-year veteran who played for Parcells in New York.
Much has been made of the move that sends Terrell Owens to the Cowboys but from a purely football point of view the loss of Allen is of equal importance.
The Redskins conclude their 2006 offseason this weekend with mini-camp sessions in Ashburn, Va. They've made key off-season additions by bringing in Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, Andre Carter and others.
In the meantime, the off-season move that saw the Cowboys part ways with Larry Allen is certain to have, in its own right, a demonstrable effect on the NFC East in 2006.