Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Did Witten have better year than Ware?
By Calvin Watkins
When you go 6-10, there isn't much to talk about.
But when Pro Football Focus ranked the Top 101 players in the NFL, the series ended last week, we were interested in how many Cowboys made the list.
Jason Witten was ranked No. 11 and DeMarcus Ware was 16th. According to PFF, Witten had a better season than Ware.
Witten led the team in catches (94), and receiving touchdowns (nine) and was second in yards (1,002). Witten also had three games where he had 10 catches and 10 games with at least five or more catches. Of the 201 first downs gained in the air, Witten had 49 of them, including a team-leading 19 on third and fourth downs.
Ware was third on the team in total tackles (according to the coaches stats) with 108. Of course, Ware led the team in sacks with 15.5 and quarterback pressures with 36. He excelled in tackles for loss with nine and forced two fumbles.
PFF had two 3-4 outside linebackers ranked ahead of Ware in Tamba Hali and James Harrison but none in front of Witten.
It seemed as if Ware was doubled and sometimes tripled teamed during the season. PFF said Ware had a strong season, yet there were times where he was one-on-one with a tackle and didn't reach the quarterback. He can't get there every play, but the type of attention directed his way would lead you to believe he was more dangerous than Witten.
Opponents had their trouble with Witten, but with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant emerging as threats, it left the tight end open on several plays, which was amazing considering how good he is.
You could say Witten isn't a great blocker, or not as athletic as some other tight ends in the game, but the goal is to move the ball down the field and that's what he does.
Both players are considered leaders in the locker room and respected across the league. In some ways it's hard to measure just how good a player is on a bad team, which is what the Cowboys were last season.
In good seasons, Ware and Witten are dominant players, but I would think in 2010, Ware was more dangerous than Witten.