IRVING, Texas – Following a lighter work week, DeMarcus Ware said he felt fine and ready to play Sunday against San Diego.
But Ware isn't under any illusions. He said his issues with stingers, which troubled him in the Week 2 games against Kansas City and St. Louis, will likely persist as long as he plays football.
"As long as you play – it's a car crash every time," Ware said. "Sometimes, like last year, I didn't have one. This year it started right at the beginning of the season, but you just figure out how to cope with it and keep going."
The Cowboys have helped Ware cope by keeping him away from contact. The perennial Pro Bowler, who set the Cowboys' all-time sack record last week, did not practice in pads on Wednesday. But Ware said he's experienced enough to have learned how to recover from stingers.
"You figure out what makes it go away. What, nine years now? So it's like you get out that and you tweak a finger – 'Ok, cool. I know exactly what to do to rehabilitate it and just keep rolling,'" he said.
Ware joked that the best form of rehabilitation would be time off, but he said that acupuncture and chiropractic alignment help alleviate the problem.
"When you get a stinger, your arm goes numb, then after that – probably about five minutes – you're back at it again," he said. "That's one thing I've been blessed with. A lot of guys that get stingers lose a lot of their strength, but I can go right back out there and keep playing. So I don't feel any difference."
The lightened load is something Ware said helped the recovery process. With so many years spent in the league, he said he could afford to miss Wednesday's practice as long as he is present for Thursday and Friday's routines.
"You've got to see how guys are going to set you, getting a feel of when they're snapping the ball – a feel of the game – on Thursdays," he said. "They're still going to do run plays on Thursday, so I just think that you've got to get out there and have a couple of days where you can sharpen your iron."
DeMarco Murray secured his spot as one of this week's FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week on Friday afternoon.
Murray's 175 rushing yards last week against St. Louis earned him a place as one of Week 3's "Ground" nominees, along with the Jets' Bilal Powell and Carolina's DeAngelo Williams. Fans had all week to vote on the winner and Murray, whose total against the Rams was the second-highest individual effort this season, came out on top.
This is the fourth time a Cowboys player has won the award since its inception in 2003. Murray also won it in 2011, and Julius Jones won it twice (2004 against Seattle and 2005 against Carolina).
Peyton Manning, who comes to AT&T Stadium to face Dallas next week, won the Week 3 "Air" award.
Dez Bryant hasn't been on the injury report at all this week, after finding himself on it throughout the week leading into the Rams game with a back injury.
Bryant said early this week he thought he'd be 100 percent, and nothing's happened in the last few days to change that. He's still getting treatment on the back to make sure it stays that way.
"It feels great," he said. "I had two full day practices underneath my belt. It feels good to go 100."
The Cowboys didn't need Bryant at his fullest to take care of the Rams, using a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray. Bryant gave a noticeable fist pump every time he watched the Cowboys' running back carve through the St. Louis defense. Bryant said he expects to see more of the playmaking running back everyone knew Murray was since college.
But Bryant may get more looks this week against the league's worst-ranked passing defense. San Diego's allowing 340.7 passing yards per game, which is 7.7 yards worse than the Redskins, who own the 31st ranked passing defense.
The receiver said he likes to keep his thoughts private on how to exploit teams, and he really hasn't focused on the numbers.
"I'm telling you the truth, I really don't pay attention to it," Bryant said. "We go out and we practice and we watch them on film and try to see where we can attack them at, find their weakness and attack them."
* -Rowan Kavner* [embedded_ad]
Bringing the Tickets
Rookie tight end Gavin Escobar is headed back to San Diego, where he spent his collegiate career. He'll have plenty of friends and family in attendance, including his girlfriend, who still lives in California. In all, the former San Diego State Aztec said he had to buy 20 tickets for Sunday's game.
"It'll be great to play in front of them," he said. "I haven't seen a lot of them in a while. So hopefully I can see them a little before the game. But really, I'm not there for that. To me, this is a business trip."
Escobar is coming off arguably his best game as a pro last week when he caught his first touchdown pass – a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo in the Cowboys' 31-7 win over the Rams. Escobar nearly scored two touchdowns but couldn't get his feet in bounds on a corner fade route earlier in the game.
Overall, the rookie tight end said he's feeling about the progress he's making.
"I think I'm getting more and more comfortable in the offense," Escobar said. "Last week was good to get (a touchdown) but there's a lot more I need to work on. But it helps the confidence."
This year, Escobar has three catches for 40 yards. His 13.3 yard average currently tops all Cowboys receivers.
- Nick Eatman