Eatman: D-Ware's Critics Shouldn't Forget 2012 Witten


IRVING, Texas – If there's one thing that always bothers me when it comes to fans, media and critics, it's how quick they/we are to judge. After a play, a series, a game or even a season, it seems like we watch every game as it's the final one in the history of the organization, and now it's time to give our conclusion.

Every week it happens.

And the latest is about DeMarcus Ware. I guess all of a sudden he's done? Washed up? Can't play anymore?

Just like that, huh? Well excuse me if I'm not buying it.

You know, maybe this is the end for Ware. Maybe he'll never be a good player anymore. But I don't think we've seen anything close to enough to make that judgment.

For starters, I think he's hurt. Just like he was last year, and he limped through the last few games of the season. He wasn't that effective but it was admirable how he at least tried to battle through and get his team to the playoffs.

While the injuries don't seem to be as dramatic this year, it's only because there aren't as many. Ware is still beat up. This time it's a quad injury that kept him out of the first three games of his career. And now it's a back injury that prevented him from practicing Wednesday. Personally, I think that quad injury is worse than he's letting on.

Yeah, he can play through it, but not as the D-Ware we know. What that injury does is take away his explosiveness off the snap. There's no way he can put that leg in the ground, push off, cut and turn and twist like he's done in the past. So the things that have made D-Ware great, he doesn't have in his back pocket right now.

Do we remember Jason Witten, who is about three months older than Ware, both at 31? What about last season when Witten dropped a few passes early in the year. He looked slower than normal and stiff and just not himself.

Was he done? Was it the end for Witten like some knee-jerkers said out loud? Well, actually it was the start – the start of the greatest season by a tight end in NFL history.

So what was the deal? Maybe Witten was just hurt, you know, recovering from a spleen injury that would've put most players on the shelf for the entire season.

Now, I'm not saying Ware is dealing with the same type of injury, but it's obviously something.

He's only a few months removed from the guy who was absolutely ripping Tyron Smith apart in training camp. The same Tyron Smith who people are trying to get in the Pro Bowl now. But back in July and August, Ware was completely unblockable, by Smith or anyone else.

I can't believe it's all gone a few months later.

Yeah, maybe Ware is a declining player. He's 31, he should be. Michael Jordan was declining, too. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are declining players. But still good enough to get the job done, when healthy. [embedded_ad]

I think Ware should be in the same category.

He's the Cowboys' all-time leader in sacks and one of the best players in NFL history. He'll be in Canton someday and of course the Ring of Honor.

When it's officially over for Ware, then let it be over. But this guy deserves a lot more credit than the one who clearly isn't healthy and is having to answer whether or not he still has it.

The guy has been the best player on this team since the moment he's walked in the door, and it was still the case back in August. He gets more time in my book before I'm willing to say it's over.

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