For starters, DeMarcus Ware underwent successful surgery on Thursday for a shoulder injury that plagued for most of the second half of the season.
Ware also battled an elbow, hamstring and even a nagging neck injury during parts of the season, leaving him battered and bruised as he limped to the finish line this past year.
At the end of the regular season, Ware said he planned on being fully ready for the start of the season, and possibly training camp.
But although he will be entering his ninth pro season, things will be a tad different for Ware, and most of his defensive teammates.
It appears the Cowboys are ready to switch over to a 4-3 scheme, moving Ware from an outside linebacker to a defensive end, a position he played in college at Troy. While some will argue that rushing the passer is still rushing the passer, it will keep Ware on the line of scrimmage more next season.
You might wonder how that works for a guy that had multiple injuries this past season. Then again, DeMarcus Ware has never missed a game in his career.
He's always considered one of the best pass-rushers, run-stoppers, playmakers on the defense, but he's rarely mentioned as being a tough guy, but his ability to play through injuries should be a testament to his toughness.
But a 4-3 defensive end is different than a 3-4 outside linebacker who sometimes drops back into coverage. This is a constant collision course at the line for every snap.
When Bill Parcells drafted Ware back in 2005, he talked about the necessity of the switching schemes, primarily to preserve Ware's health. He said at 250-260 pounds, Ware wouldn't be able to take type of constant pounding.
Then again, let's not forget the Cowboys were playing more four-man fronts this past year than ever before. Not only is the nickel defense a four-man front, but the Cowboys did play some 4-3 towards the end of the season.