Friday, October 18, 2013
Kyle Wilber gets ready to start
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- There is some uncertainty about Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware's availability to start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon because of a quad injury.
If Ware can't start, or play a significant amount of snaps, second-year end Kyle Wilber will take over.
"I'm just trying to help our team win," Wilber said. "Of course, I talk to DeMarcus about it. I need all the help I can get."
When Ware made an adjustment to move from outside linebacker to defensive end as the Cowboys switched defenses, Wilber did the same. He needed to add weight, going from 240 pounds to 255. Wilber had problems gaining the weight and maintaining his speed. Currently he's 248 pounds and has the strength staff monitoring what he eats and how much he lifts so he can bulk up to take on tackles and chip blocks.
As Wilber was working on his body, his game needed some focus as well. He struggled with the position at first because he was used to standing up and rushing the quarterback instead of having his hand down on the ground when he started his rush.
Wilber gained momentum as the season moved along and he picked up three quarterback pressures in Weeks 3 and 4, when he also picked up his first career sacks against St. Louis' Sam Bradford. Against the Washington Redskins last week, Wilber sacked Robert Griffin, earned a quarterback pressure and forced a fumble. Wilber received major playing time with Ware out for the second half with his thigh injury.
"Last week, when I went down, Wilber went in there and made a big play on a really great tackle," Ware said of Wilber's sack on Trent Williams. "I know he can get out there and play and me just showing him a lot of the things, his confidence level is boosted through the roof so you got to let him keep playing that way and I know he can get the job done."