IRVING -- One of the overlooked aspects of the Dallas Cowboys' loss to the New England Patriots last week was the outstanding job cornerback Orlando Scandrick did on receiver Wes Welker.
Scandrick, playing in his first game since suffering a sprained ankle in the season opener, held Welker to 45 yards on six catches. Both were season lows.
It was simply a continuation of what has been an outstanding season so far for Scandrick, who had an excellent training camp and was rewarded with a five-year, $27 million contact extension in the preseason to possibly replace veteran cornerback Terence Newman.
Scandrick's play has prompted much speculation about whether he will supplant Newman this season.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said there is no reason to make a change in the starting lineup, considering that Newman, Scandrick and fellow cornerback Mike Jenkins play a lot on a defense that ranks fifth in the league.
"When things aren't broke, you don't fix them," Ryan said. "We're very talented out there on the corner."
Ryan compared the situation to the Mavericks' decision to bring J.J. Barea off the bench rather than put him in the starting lineup during their NBA title run last season, even though Ryan didn't actually know Barea's name.
"You've got that shooting guard out there with the Mavericks, then that little guy [Barea] comes in and [plays super], but the other kid starts," Ryan said. "They just win the championship, so who cares? I don't know what his name is, but [he] is quick."
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick compared DeMarcus Ware to Lawrence Taylor. That was flattering for Ware.
Rob Ryan went even further. He said Friday that Ware is the league's best defensive player. Ever.
"I mean, I saw Superman I and II but never saw the third one," Ryan said. "I know Lawrence Taylor is obviously a fantastic player, but the best player I've ever seen on defense is DeMarcus Ware without a doubt."
Ware, with seven sacks this season, is on his way to his sixth consecutive double-digit sack season. He had eight sacks his rookie season. Ware has 87 sacks for his career.
"He's just unbelievable," Ryan said. "His athletic ability; he's smart; he loves the game; he's so physical. In my limited vocabulary, I can't describe him, so maybe one of you guys can. It's ridiculous how good he is."
Ware said his sore back, which has limited him practice this week, is feeling good, and he will start Sunday.
"I feel good -- 94 percent," Ware said in a reference to his jersey number.
Ware credits fellow linebackers Anthony Spencer and Victor Butler with helping him get to the quarterback this season. Ware had eight sacks at this point last season, with three of them coming against Houston.
"They've helped me get a lot of rest," Ware said. "They've helped push me to be even more of a leader, knowing they're right behind me looking up to me. With Victor, Spencer and Alex [Albright], they're playing really good."
Guard Montrae Holland has hoped since he got cut by the Cowboys before the season opener that he would get another opportunity to play in the NFL this season.
But never in his wildest dreams did he think he would walk off the street and into the starting lineup the same week.
That will be the case for Holland, who was re-signed by the Cowboys on Tuesday and will start at left guard against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Holland spent the past three years with the Cowboys before being cut after training camp.
"I know the offense because we put everything in during training camp," Holland said. "I know the players. It's been a good transition."
Holland said he is in good shape and not worried about his conditioning in the game.
Cowboys Stadium parking lots will open at 10 a.m. Stadium plazas and gates will open at 1 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.