Called out: Cowboys’ Ware promises to be a force

Posted Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information What have you done lately? DeMarcus Ware has missed three games with a quadriceps injury, but his sack totals and impact plays are way down:
YearSacksYearSacks
20058.0201015.5
200611.5201119.5
200714.0201211.5
200820.020136.0*
200911.0
*In 10 active games

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

The question was put as delicately as it could be put to DeMarcus Ware.

Are people correct to think your sack totals are declining because you’re getting later into your career?

The response was not delicate: “Tell them to get in front of me and see if they can block me. Then we’ll go from there.”

With that answer, the franchise’s all-time sack leader signaled his intention not to fade away as the Dallas Cowboys go into the final three games with a chance to win the NFC East, a task that could require them to win all three games.

“It’s December. It’s when the lights come and you’ve got to separate yourself,” the defensive end said.

Owner Jerry Jones, executive vice president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett all said it this week — Ware needs to perform. The quadriceps injury is behind him, and he needs to perform.

“He needs to be more productive,” Garrett said. “He understands that. We understand that.”

Jerry Jones said in a radio interview, “He should actually be in the prime of his career, candidly, strength-wise, explosion-wise. That’s one of the things we got to, I think, count on, is him having more impact in the game as he moves away from his injury.”

Ware said he heard the owner’s message.

“Oh, I hear that,” he said. “I said it to myself before he even said it. After that Monday night game, he came back and said it on Tuesday, and I feel him. I feel the same way. In key situations and at key times, players should step up and be their worst critics and at the end of the day, go out and practice and correct what you need to correct to be more effective for that next week. And I feel like I’m progressing and doing that.”

Ware declared himself at full health last week. But against Chicago on Monday night, when the defense didn’t force a punt, he registered only one sack, and it was late in the game, with the outcome already decided.

Since coming back from the quadriceps injury that kept him out three games (the first missed games of his career), the ninth-year pro has two sacks in four games. He has six for the season. Unless he gets two more, he’ll end up with a career low.

“I think every week you have to be your worst critic,” Ware said. “That’s me. I know I haven’t been playing the way I need to be playing, so you go back to the drawing board and say, hey, what am I doing wrong? What do I need to change to be effective? It’s the small things. It goes back to fundamentals, doing the bags, doing the tackling drills, doing those types of things. It’s the small things you do good that make you great.”

Ware has long been great. His 117 sacks rank 18th in NFL history. Since 2005, he has more sacks than anyone in the league.

But with only 24 tackles, he is headed toward a career low. And he has not forced a fumble this season, which would be a first for a player with 32 career strips.

He made an interception on the first play of the season, but that is his only contribution to the Cowboys’ 25 takeaways.

“I see a guy who is close,” Ware said, asked what he sees of himself on film. “I hit the quarterback like three times, and actually hit the ball three times. The thing is, those plays were converted a while back, and those are the plays that we really need, and those strip-sacks and making those big plays — we haven’t been doing that, getting those turnovers like we need.”

Ware said he is not frustrated by anything.

“I see myself getting there,” he said. “But it’s making those big plays when the opportunity arises. Just hitting the ball is not doing any good — you have to knock the ball out. You got to make those big plays, and I haven’t been doing that, so I’ve got to start doing that this week.”

He said there are no excuses. He is healthy. He is ready to be a disruptive force over the last three games.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” he said. “I know that for a fact.”

So he believes he can be the DeMarcus Ware of old?

“What’s my name?” he said to the reporter who asked.

DeMarcus Ware.

“All right. Ain’t nothing changed.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Friday, October 24Full Scoreboard
Kansas City 10/24 8:07 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game Three. Series tied, 1-1.
Full Scoreboard
Friday, October 24Full Scoreboard
Dallas 10/24 7:00 PM ET
Orlando 
New York 10/24 7:30 PM ET
Toronto TV: MSG, TSN2
Minnesota 10/24 8:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: CSN-CHI
San Antonio 10/24 8:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CSN-HOU, NBA TV
Miami 10/24 8:00 PM ET
Memphis TV: Sun Sports
Phoenix 10/24 9:00 PM ET
Utah 
Sacramento 10/24 10:00 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: TWC SN, D
Denver 10/24 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TV: CSN-Bay
Portland 10/24 10:30 PM ET
LA Clippers TV: FSN-PT, NBA TV
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego21Final | Box
Denver «35Gridiron Replay
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Friday, October 24Full Scoreboard
Dallas 10/24 7:00 PM ET
New Jersey TV: FSN-SW, MSG+
Tampa Bay 10/24 8:00 PM ET
Winnipeg TV: SUN, TSN3
Vancouver 10/24 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: TVA 2, SNE, SNO, SNP, Alt
Carolina 10/24 9:30 PM ET
Edmonton TV: SPSO, SN-W
Columbus 10/24 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim TV: FSN-OH, FSN-PT
Full Scoreboard