Over the last eight years for the Dallas Cowboys, serious discussion for who has been their most valuable player would most likely come down to three names: quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten, and outside linebacker-turned-defensive end DeMarcus Ware. And while a legitimate case can be made for both Romo and Witten – Romo playing the NFL‘s most important position and Witten being a model of consistency – you’d kind of be hard pressed not to go with Ware, a player who probably more than anyone else on the team, is vital to the Cowboys’ success.
It is the prime reason why Ware’s comments regarding his health heading into Cowboy training camp – which kicks off Sunday in Oxnard, California – are great news for the team. According to profootballtalk.com, through an ESPNDallas interview with Todd Archer, Ware said that come Sunday, he’ll be “out there doing everything” in training camp, meaning that his shoulder is recovering nicely from offseason surgery, which is unquestionably positive news.
Throughout his career, the eight-year pro has remarkably never missed a game despite his injuries and has been the premier pass rusher in the NFL in that span. To put into perspective how great of a career he has had to this point, he became, in 2012, the second fastest player to record 100 career sacks, second only to Reggie White. And honestly, over the last four seasons, he has been the only consistent pass rusher on the Cowboys.
In that period, he has recorded 57.5 sacks – or 38 percent of the team’s total 153 sacks in that span – including 19.5 in 2011. And amazingly, last year when he recorded 11.5 sacks, a figure that would have been a career year for some pass rushers was considered a down year for the future Hall of Famer .
His impact on the field and what he means for the other Cowboy rushers, particularly Anthony Spencer, can’t be overstated either. Play after play, teams throw double and sometimes triple teams Ware’s way, with a tackle, tight end, and a fullback to chip just in case he gets by. And if team’s put their offensive tackles on an island one on one against Ware, very rarely does he not find his way to the quarterback. His commanding of such attention allows Spencer to go man to man against the opposite tackle, opening the door up for him to get his.
Now playing defensive end, Ware’s assertion that is shoulder is “94 percent” also bodes well heading into camp because he can get more acclimated to his new position not only by drilling with his team during camp, but playing against other teams in preseason without any limitations or restraint.
There i no question that his own proclamation about him being closer to 100 percent health is the best possible news for a team that really can’t go too far without No. 94 on the field.