DeMarcus Ware talks Dak Prescott’s return, Cowboys defense and expectations (2022)

DeMarcus Ware talks Dak Prescott’s return, Cowboys defense and expectations (1)
Tim Tebow’s tenure with Jacksonville Jaguars ends as quickly as it started by Sravan Gannavarapu
Seattle Seahawks make Jamal Adams NFL’s highest-paid safety, rightfully so by Sravan Gannavarapu

by Cody Williams Follow @TheSizzle20

DeMarcus Ware was once one of the premier defensive forces for the Dallas Cowboys but he has plenty of thoughts on his former team entering 2021 as well as how Sleep Number is helping current and former NFL players get the recovery they need.

Dallas Cowboys fans need no introduction to DeMarcus Ware. The edge rusher spent nine years with the franchise and was the most prolific sack artist in franchise history, holding the franchise career record for sacks with 117.0 accrued while in Big D. And after we just saw two classes of NFL legends inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ware could hear his name called soon as he’ll be eligible for the first time to be inducted as part of the 2022 class.

But before that, the nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro is focused on watching the 2021 NFL season, the Cowboys in particular as he’s more than familiar with the historic organization trying to get back to the Super Bowl glory of the mid-1990s.

Ware has partnered withSleep Number 360® to announce a partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame that show’s Sleep Number’s overall commitment to higher quality sleep for not just the current NFL roster but also its extended players, contributors, coaches, and their families long after they’ve left the field.

And with that partnership, FanSided’s Mark Carman was able to speak with DeMarcus Ware to discuss the upcoming 2021 season for the Dallas Cowboys, covering everything from the reshaped defense to the return of Dak Prescott to how expectations around America’s Team and for head coach Mike McCarthy are just different.

DeMarcus Ware liked the early signs from the Cowboys defense, thinks Dak Prescott needs Ezekiel Elliott and knows Dallas has different expectations.

It’s no secret that the Cowboys defense was a massive issue for the team last season, even before the injury to their quarterback. Thus, the team invested free agency and draft resources heavily on that side of the ball while also bringing in Dan Quinn as the new defensive coordinator. And right out of the gate in the Hall of Fame Game, Ware liked what he saw on the side of the ball he once occupied in Dallas.

“I saw a spark that I wanted to see. I saw guys running around with confidence. Everybody makes a little bit of mistakes here and there, going to that 3-4/4-3 hybrid type defense,” Ware said. “But I saw guys running around like their butts were on fire, especially like the young guys getting fumble recoveries and getting pressure, but running from sideline-sideline, and that’s what I look at. Are the guys actually filling their gaps, keeping their responsibilities? And I saw that on the defense, even though the starters weren’t out there.”

What’s interesting about Ware’s observations on defense is that it speaks a lot about the mentality of the players on the field, not necessarily to any schematic changes that have been made with Quinn taking over the defense. That’s something the Hall of Fame candidate believes is most important to the Cowboys getting better, in addition to the talent of the players involved.

“It’s the talent, I don’t care what nobody says. I went from a 4-3 played with Rod Marinelli, I went from a 3-4 playing 6-technique with Bill Parcells, and then go to Wade Phillips playing 9-technique and getting after the quarterback,” Ware said. “And we were able to change what we wanted to because, the scheme was great, but the players just said, if you call the simplest plays, we’re going to beat the guys on the other side, no matter how they change. So the scheme has a little bit to do with it but the most of it is the want-to, how much are you buying into the system. And a lot of guys don’t like to buy into the system and a lot of guys don’t like to change.”

How these guys buy into the system could go into determining the long-term outlook for Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy. Even with all of the injuries, going 6-10 in his first season on the sidelines has some red flags raised. Ware knows just as much as anyone that expectations are different in Dallas, thus putting the pressure on McCarthy. Yet, there are ways quickly flip the narrative.

“You know how usually they say we just want to see improvement? There’s not improvement when you’re coaching for the Dallas Cowboys. When you lose the first game of the season, they will say your season’s over. That’s just the way the fans are and everything else that surrounds it,” Ware said. “But if you win that first game, — I think they’re playing the first game against Tampa — if you beat Tom Brady, that lets you know where your standards are. That’s just me, I’m a go-getter. For them to be able to beat Tampa Bay that first game would let everybody know that we are able to do this and we’re going to be alright this season.”

For as much focus that is being placed on the defense, though, the offense should be in great shape. Dak Prescott is coming back and working behind an offensive line that’s now healthy. But as the quarterback has missed some time with a shoulder injury in camp, fans have started to get concerned. Ware, on the other hand, doesn’t seem worried.

“It’s all about getting him healthy. He’s not healthy enough to play and training camp is a bruiser on your body,” Ware said. “So letting him get a little time off and get ready for the season, because it’s a long season, and at the end of the day get to what you know. And that’s feeding Zeke, getting Zeke the football and getting into those play-action plays. They have a plethora of wide receivers there, so I think that just getting Dak back healthy is going to be the key.”

The focus on Ezekiel Elliott is something Ware believes is critical to Dallas’ success this season. Not only is it what the Cowboys have done best for years but, with the offensive line intact, it’s what Ware believes will open up the rest of the offense.

“You have all of the offensive linemen back and they’re hungry. Talking to Tyron [Smith], he’s like ‘I can’t wait to get into somebody’s a**.’ That’s what he’s saying. That’s going all the way down the line of offensive linemen,” Ware said. “So guess what, let those dudes run the football, move the line of scrimmage, take a little bit of pressure off of Dak, and now beat you deep with 88, beat you deep with 89 — just calling some numbers out — players that can make those big plays that are out there. I just can’t wait to see them do it, just get back to what they’re used to doing.”

So what does DeMarcus Ware think the Cowboys can accomplish this season? While he called the Philadelphia Eagles a sleeper in the NFC East, the division is Dallas’ to lose in his opinion.

“If they feed Zeke and they run the football like they should to take the pressure off of Dak, yes, I think they can make the playoffs,” Ware said. “I feel like they can go deep into the playoffs in the NFC East.

“I got them winning the division. They can do it. But it’s going to come down to the end. That division can get hot at the end, so we’re going to see what they’re going to do.”

And if that’s what Ware thinks, then we should believe him because he’s well-rested thanks to his partnership with Sleep Number 360®. Not only is the company helping current NFL players, on the Cowboys and otherwise, recover in the ways they need to but, again, is also helping former players and their families do the same.

“When the NFL partners with an amazing company like, you know, Sleep Number 360® Smart Bed, I didn’t know how cool it was until I got one of the beds,” Ware said. “Being a former athlete, recovery is everything. We know how big our regiment for wellness is. But now being part of an initiative to where not just the players that have played get the good stuff, now the Pro Football Hall of Famers get the good stuff.When you have a bed that is smart — and what I mean by that, it has so much technology, from Sleep IQ that tells you how well you’re sleeping from your heart rate from your movement in the bed, then gives you a score in the morning. Or, you know how you want to move up and down in the bed, get comfortable, if you want to go from 5-to-100 in the firmness of the bed, you can do that. ”

Next:2021 NFL Power Rankings after Preseason Week 1

Even though he’s now retired, Ware is still working out hard, and quality sleep is one of the easiest — and most effortless — ways for him to recover in the ways he and other NFL athletes need to.

“Sleep is everything,” Ware said. “So now you can see a lot of guys are getting back on the field a lot faster and, for me being retired, sleeping better.”

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated: 10/13/2022

Views: 6259

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.