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Sunday, December 30, 2012
Big Decision: Demarcus Ware should play situationally

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

DeMarcus Ware has been playing with essentially one arm for a while.

His right arm is a mess. He has been battling through a hyper-extended elbow and shoulder strain.

He missed 36 snaps last week -- more than he missed the last three games combined -- because he aggravated one of the injuries and spent much of the second half on the sideline. With a playoff berth a stake, perhaps it's time for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to make a bold move.

This is the week to make Ware a situational player and maximize his effectiveness. That means no wasted snaps where he's dropping into coverage.

Use him in passing situations only -- and it doesn't matter whether it's second or third down. The idea is to maximize his efficiency. In this game, it's better to get 35-40 dynamic snaps instead of 60 ordinary plays because Ware is hobbled.

It's not ideal and Ware won't like it. But the idea is to give him an opportunity to be a game-changer with a playoff berth at stake.

Rarely with a phenomenal player such as Ware does less equate to more, but this is one of those times.

Victor Butler struggles against the run and has a groin strain, but he's a guy with a propensity for making big plays.

The Cowboys will need some to slow down Washington's offense.

So this is a good day to get Butler on the field, especially if it helps an injured Ware maximize his ability Sunday night.