IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.
With 23 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today’s question centers on a 12-year old NFL record.
23) With Focus On Rush, Can Ware Challenge Sack Record?
When the 2012 season came to an end, no player was physically beat up more than
He wasn’t nearly the player that has become one of the greatest Cowboys players in franchise history. But offseason shoulder surgery and extensive rehab on his other setbacks have Ware thinking he will be right at 100 percent when training camp starts next month.
And with the Cowboys switching to the 4-3 scheme, Ware said he expects more focus to be on the pass-rush. In the 3-4 defense, Ware played the outside linebacker role, where he would often drop into coverage. However in this scheme, he knows what his job will be:
“Rush the quarterback. Get up field and bring’em down.”
Ware has had no problems doing that in his career. He’s got 110 sacks, just five away from surpassing Harvey Martin (114.0) as the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks.
But what about something even bigger than that?
Twice in his career, Ware has flirted with the NFL’s single-season sack record of 22.5, set by Michael Strahan in 2001.
In 2008, Ware had 20 sacks and finished with 19.5 in 2011, just missing becoming the first player in NFL history to record two 20-sack seasons.
He should be healthy now. He should be in a defense that will allow him to rush the quarterback even more.
Can he get to 23? That seems like a lofty goal but one that Ware will likely have in his sights as he prepares for his ninth pro season.
Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let’s take a closer look at the number 23:
- The Cowboys have picked 23rd overall three different times in club history, getting Duane Thomas in 1970, Jim Jeffcoat in 1983 and Shante Carver in 1994.
- While 16 players have worn No. 23, the longest-tenured player in the jersey was defensive back Robert Williams, who wore it from 1987-93. Tashard Choice is next, wearing No. 23 from 2008-11.
- Currently, free safety
Brandon Underwoodwears No. 23.
- Safety Darren Woodson ranks 11th on the Cowboys all-time list with 23 interceptions.