IRVING — In a circumstance that is typical of their season, especially along the defensive line, the Dallas Cowboys will get Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware back for Sunday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints, but might be without defensive tackles Jason Hatcher and Nick Hayden.Hatcher has not practiced all week because of a stinger (compressed nerve) that sidelined him in the third quarter Sunday against Minnesota.Hayden is hobbled by a bad back. He was held out of practice Thursday after being limited in practice on Wednesday.While there is a good chance Hayden will try to play on Sunday, Hatcher calls himself a game-time decision and he doesn’t sound too optimistic.Hatcher, who is in the midst of a career year with a team-leading seven sacks, said it’s a long season and he has no plans to jeopardize his future over one game. The Cowboys have a bye next week, giving him two more weeks to get stronger if he doesn’t play.Hatcher said he knows his body and will determine before the game if he has the strength he needs to play. He has been dealing with weakness and numbness in his shoulder all week.Jarius Wynn and Drake Nevis, holdovers from what has been a revolving door on the defensive line, are the primary backups at tackle. The Cowboys also signed tackle Everett Dawkins this week. He could become the 17th defensive lineman to take snaps this season.The sack raceWare isn’t where he wants to be or where he usually is in the NFL sack totals. He has four, which leaves him is tied for 37th in the league. Twice he led the league in sacks, and he has finished in the top 10 every year except his rookie season of 2005. Ware is only three sacks out of the top 10, though he trails NFL leader Robert Mathis of the Colts by 7.5.“I’m behind, so I guess I’ve got to hop on the saddle and start riding a little bit,” Ware said Thursday.Ware has missed the past three games with an injured quadriceps. He returned to practice Wednesday, and though he was limited in both practices this week, he expects to play Sunday.Romo’s takeThe shifting of the blame for the Cowboys’ woeful running totals has gone from offensive coordinator Bill Callahan to quarterback Tony Romo and back and forth.The Cowboys, coming off a team record-low nine rushing attempts in the 27-23 victory against Minnesota, have called 346 passes to 183 runs this season.There is a belief that Romo has changed many running plays to pass plays at the line of scrimmage, intensifying the disparity.“I don’t care,” Romo said. “We won the football game. You can say whatever you want. It doesn’t really bother me. “It’s about winning the games. If you’re worried about things other than that, then you’re not in the right job as a player or a coach. Our football team takes that approach every week.”“Like we’ve said 50 times, everyone wants balance. ... At the same time, you have to call a game to win.”Briefly• Receiver Dez Bryant was limited in practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a tight back. • Receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety J.J. Wilcox didn’t practice Thursday and are expected to miss the Saints game, returning after next week’s bye for the Nov. 24 matchup against the New York Giants.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr