What a wonderful thing a week is. After Dallas Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Ware left the field last week during a home bout against division rival Washington Redskins, you could feel the air let out of the building. One of the best and most decorated players on the Cowboys roster, Ware always plays a huge part of the team’s defensive strategy. Opposing teams have to game plan against him, unlike any other player on the defensive line. The game was in jeopardy at that point and Cowboys fans everywhere held their breath.
The outcome was obviously a positive one, as we all know. But news broke earlier this week that Ware was going to miss 3-4 weeks with a strained quad muscle and the thin defensive line got thinner. Or so we thought.
During a Thursday interview, Ware disputed the report that he was going to miss almost a month, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas.
“I’m not going to be out three or four weeks,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. Somebody said it. I know my recovery is pretty fast, and I’m feeling pretty good today.”
With the amount of chaos Ware can cause when he’s in the lineup there’s definitely a big upside for him playing. But should he be held out for precautionary reasons? Here’s my take on the issue:
If a guy like ware can go, then he needs to be in there. The defensive line is razor thin right now. Even if Ware isn’t full healthy, he should go for the simple fact he draws extra attention. Offenses have to roll an extra blocker his way to help out the often outmatched tackle. A 80% Ware is better than most defensive ends who are fully healthy.
I can see the point of view of those who want to be cautious. You don’t want to lose Ware for longer than you have to. That’s way my stipulation would be if Ware is to play, he should definitely be watched very closely. Dallas cannot stand to lose the only player on the defensive line they have that has any kind of pedigree. In this style of defense the secondary relies on the front four putting pressure on the quarterback. Ware is the only one who has the stat line that proves he can put pressure on the quarterback on a regular basis.
With all the caution in the world I feel like Ware should play if he’s cleared to do so. This is a division rival, Dallas is playing in a hostile territory, and this is for sole possession of first place in a two team race for the NFC East title. Win this and Dallas will be undefeated in the division and hold a one game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles. Lose, and the Cowboys will be scratching to find the wins necessary to compete in the weakest division in all of football.
All hands on deck for this high stakes division rival.