DeMarcus Ware has made the Pro Bowl six years in a row and is arguably the Cowboys' marquee defensive player. Last year he had 19.5 sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Over his career, he has posted over 100 sacks, becoming the 29th player in NFL history to do so.
But for all the accolades and achievements, Ware has yet to take that leadership role and make Dallas a powerhouse defense. It’s one thing to log the sacks, it’s another to inspire your team to make a run for the Super Bowl.
This is no knock on Ware as a player, but when the defense was so stifled last year (even after bringing in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan), there was no rally cry. Last season, the Cowboys went a disappointing 8-8, in large part due to defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter. In five games, Dallas went into the fourth quarter with a lead before surrendering to a loss. They were close to 13 wins, but instead lost their last regular-season game in a winner-take-all scenario to the New York Giants.
This year Ware turned 30 (like his teammate tight end Jason Witten). He’s a veteran and maybe the best linebacker in the league, but has no rings to show for it. In the time he’s been with the Cowboys, they have won one playoff game.
With the Cowboys adding a slew of defensive rookies, it’s time for Ware step up big time as a leader on the field. He’s talked about breaking the sack record set by Michael Strahan for a single season. But statistics don’t always translate to winning seasons. The defeatist attitude the Cowboys showed last season has to go.
When Jerry Jones brought up the idea that the window for the Cowboys winning a Super Bowl is closing, Ware sided with his owner. He knows there’s a limited time this team can make a play for postseason success.
“I feel like my standpoint, we’re a better team then we were last year, and it’s going to show on the field.”
Ware, more than anyone on the team, can make that possible.