IRVING, Texas -- The dominant version of DeMarcus Ware is on the way.
“There is no doubt in my mind,” Ware said. “I know that for a fact.”
Ware, 31, readily admits that this has been a disappointing season for him. He certainly isn’t satisfied with having a career-low six sacks and no forced fumbles for a Dallas Cowboys group that ranks dead last in the league in total defense.
However, Ware has the utmost confidence that he’ll return to being one of the most productive pass-rushers in NFL history as the Cowboys fight for a playoff berth in the final few weeks of the regular season.
“What’s my name?” Ware said, prompting a response that confirmed that he’s still DeMarcus Ware. “All right. Ain’t nothing changed. I don't feel like nothing has changed.”
But his production and durability have undoubtedly been different this season, changing drastically for the worse.
Ware’s streak of 134 consecutive games played was snapped when he sat out three weeks due to a strained quadriceps. His streak of seven consecutive seasons with a double-digit sack total is in jeopardy.
“Get him healthy and get him ready to go,” coach Jason Garrett said. “And really focus on this challenge right here. Don’t worry about how we got to this point. Just get going. Put your hand on the ground and go affect the ballgame. He’ll do that this week.”
Added Ware: “There are no excuses. I just say get ready for it this week.”
Ware, whose 117 career sacks rank 18th in NFL history and are the most since he broke into the league in 2005, said he didn’t feel completely healthy until Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bears. He didn’t make an impact in that game, recording a sack during garbage time, but he left Soldier Field believing he was on the verge of breaking out again.
“I see a guy who is close,” Ware said, adding that he feels as strong, quick and explosive as ever.
Ware also hears a lot of the talk about the performances that have fallen far below his All-Pro standards. He agrees that the Cowboys need more from him, as has been stated by owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones, among others.
However, Ware takes exception to the doubters who consider these disappointing few months as evidence that a steep decline has started for a probable future Hall of Famer.
“People can say what they want to say,” Ware said. “Tell them to get in front of me and see if they can block me. Then we’ll go from there.”
Unfortunately, Ware has to face NFL left tackles, not critics. He hasn’t won nearly enough of those matchups on the field this season.
That needs to change starting Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. You have Ware’s word that it will.