INDIANAPOLIS– Jason Garrett wants to make sure DeMarcus Ware gets more practice time in the future.
The head coach said he met with Ware on Wednesday, just days removed from the defensive end's elbow surgery, but he didn't get into contract talks.
"One of the things he and I have talked about a lot is that he needs to practice football more," Garrett said. "He hasn't practiced enough football over the last couple of years because of his injuries. We've got to get him healthy. Certainly there is a lot that goes into decisions when you're talking about a guy like DeMarcus or some other players on our football team. But we feel like he is a cornerstone piece, and we're excited to get him back healthy and playing again."
Injuries have hampered Ware for the last two seasons, including problems with his elbow, shoulder, neck, hamstring and quad. Garrett said Ware should be given a tremendous amount of credit for playing through most of those injuries, as it wasn't until last season that he missed the first three games of his career. But many believe Ware could be wearing down.
Garrett wouldn't discuss Ware's deal or the possibility of a pay cut for the defensive end. Instead, he focused on the need to get Ware healthy again. He said there's a balance between resting him to make sure he's healthy and ensuring he's getting enough practice, but the head coach values practice time for players of all ages. [embedded_ad]
"He simply hasn't been able to practice very much, and what happens is -- I don't care how great a player you are at any position – your skills start to erode, if you will, over the course of the week," Garrett said. "You need to do the things necessary to get yourself ready to play in the game. Again, hats off to him for playing through the number of injuries that he did to get himself ready to play on Sunday. But you've got to get him healthy enough to practice to play as well as he can play."
Garrett believes the injuries played a significant role in Ware's lack of production last season, even if Ware brushed off that notion during the year. Garrett also said he still believes Ware can get back to being an elite pass rusher.
"I think if you watched him in training camp and the early part of the season, you saw him transition pretty quickly," Garrett said. "But again, a lot of the injuries started to creep in on him and he was practicing less and less and fighting through these things and wasn't quite himself as the year went on. So hopefully with him, the big question is health, getting him healthy and getting him back to his old form."