If there has been a more consistently rugged, damn near unblockable pass rusher over the past five years, we dare you to name him. Last year he had 11.5 sacks to go along with 5.5 forced fumbles and 56 tackles. Numbers that for him, are a regular occurrence.
He’s been downright dominant and is on the short list for the best defensive players in Cowboys history. He leads the franchise in forced fumbles and multiple sack games (behind Reggie White, he’s the second fastest player to hit the hallowed 100 sack mark in NFL history), he’s had double-digit sack totals for seven consecutive years, he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, and was named the NFC Defensive Player Of The Year in 2008. On top of that, he barely misses any games, every year coming out and playing 16 games a season of hell-raising D. Basically, he’s the last person you want to see if you are an offensive lineman.
At 6’4, 258 he has plenty of power, but his footwork, arm maneuvers and the diversity of angles he uses puts him in elite status. Also, he’s fast. When we say fast, we mean, he’s quick off the snap and has tremendous pursuit speed. That’s the potent combination every draft day GM hopes to find when picking new players. So, if you’re a mobile QB such as RG3, and you decide you’re gonna elude the rush by running out of the pocket, Ware can chase you down from behind, often coming from the other side of the line to do it. He ran a 4.56 when he was drafted out of the University of Troy in ’05 and he seems to run even faster now.
This season the Cowboys are switching from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3, meaning Ware will go from an outside linebacker position to a defensive end. There should be no slack off however, something he recently told the Dallas Morning News:
you’re going to have adjustments going from a 3-4 to a 4-3, but there aren’t as many moving parts with your linebackers, so it’s a little easier playing a 4-3. I’m still playing outside contain and rushing the passer, and now, I’m just putting my hand in the dirt. I mean, there’s really no big difference — there may be for some of the interior guys and the linebackers, but going from outside linebacker to defensive end, you’re doing the same thing.”
Ware had shoulder surgery back in January, but should be ready to go for the start of the regular season, which for Cowboy fans matters a lot. He’s been the best player on their roster for the last several seasons and is just as responsible for the team’s underachievement as anyone else. Though he hasn’t had the inconsistency that has plagued his teammates and coaching staff, some of the burden still has to fall on him. If the Cowboys are to finally put together a legitimate run, Ware will have to play the best ball of his career.