When the Redskins inked free agent defensive end Stephen Bowen last July, they made it clear that upgrading the defensive front was an off-season priority.
Bowen, 27, had played five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before coming to Washington. He joined fellow free agent Barry Cofield, formerly with the New York Giants, as key newcomers on the Redskins' defensive line.
"Talking to the Redskins' coaches [during free agency], they told me how they would utilize me in this defense, and it all seemed to fit," Bowen said. "They called me every day, talking to me, and it showed how important I was to them."
Bowen, 6-5 and 306 pounds, has plenty of familiarity with the 3-4 defense. He played in a similar scheme in Dallas.
Primarily a run-stopper, Bowen has posted 75 tackles and 6.5 sacks in his career.
Defensive ends in a 3-4 typically focus on occupying offensive linemen so that linebackers can swarm to the ball and make tackles, but Bowen brings his own set of skills to the Redskins, especially when it comes to pass-rushing.
He logged his first Redskins sack in Week 1 against New York, taking down Eli Manning as the Giants tried to mount a late-game comeback.
"Getting off the ball is essential," Bowen said. "You never want to be late getting to the quarterback. I take pride in the way I rush. If you ask a lot of offensive linemen that I've played against, they'll tell you I have a variety of moves and it keeps them on their toes.
"That way, they don't know if I'm going to go around them, inside, or if I'm just going to power over them. That's probably my most essential rush, and I like to stick to it."
Bowen lined up against the Redskins twice a year for division-rival Dallas, but now he aims to wreak havoc on quarterback Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense.
Up next, the Redskins travel to Dallas for a Monday night showdown against the Cowboys on Sept. 26.
"It's going to be good, really good," Bowen said with a smile. "I know those guys very well, and I'm going to try my best to bring a win back to Washington."