ARLINGTON, Texas – Last November, DeMarcus Ware stopped by Cowboys practice and offered some pass rush tips to the team’s young defensive linemen – all while wearing business-casual attire.
“This (next) time I’ll have to get my cut-off sleeves and some shorts,” the retired linebacker/defensive end said Thursday at a press conference announcing his role with Drew Pearson as NFL Draft Community Ambassadors.
Ware hopes to be around more next season as a mentor for the Cowboys’ current group. As the Cowboys’ 11th overall draft pick back in 2005, he can relate to 2017 first-round pick Taco Charlton.
Ware sees potential in Charlton, who appeared to get more comfortable in the defensive line rotation as the 2017 season went on.
“When you look at Taco, you see how athletic he is,” Ware said. “And you can develop that each and every year. You’ve got to develop that toolbox, is what I say. But I think with Taco, that first (year) to the second year, you’ve got to see improvement, (and) to the third year. The same thing we’ve seen with DeMarcus Lawrence. You see how well he progressed.
“It takes a little time for pass rushers to progress, but he has all the assets.”
Ware had a different type of transition to the league. In 2005, the Cowboys moved to a 3-4 defense under Bill Parcells. For the first time in Ware’s career he was a stand-up linebacker responsible for rushing and dropping into coverage.
As a down defensive end, Charlton stepped into a scheme similar to his role at the University of Michigan. He had to adjust to fewer defensive snaps as a rookie, but his playing time rose slightly over the final eight games (23 per game to 27) after the Cowboys released veteran Damontre’ Moore.
Charlton collected two of his three total sacks in the final five games.
“Taco did some good things,” head coach Jason Garrett said the week after the season ended. “I thought he got better as the year went on, started to make some impact plays, sacking the quarterback, making some plays sideline to sideline.
“He’ll continue to grow. He’s in a good environment with the veteran players at that position and the coaching that he gets there. So he has to reflect back on this year and build on some of the good stuff and certainly continue to grow in a lot of different ways.”