NFL. And when it comes to sacks by a Cowboys rookie, he currently is third, only a half-sack behind Jimmie Jones' 1990 total and two behind the team high of nine set by Willie Townes (1966) and matched by Martin in 1973 - with one game to go.
By the way, this position is not just about sacks. See, the Cowboys ask Ware to play the run, too, and also cover tight ends or backs out of the backfield at times. So let's add this to your a-Ware-ness. He now has 62 tackles, ranking him fifth on the club, and leads the Cowboys with 10 tackles for losses. He also has 19 QB hurries, ranking him second to Greg Ellis' team-leading 21. Yes, he's been that close to having another half-dozen sacks.
That's what the Cowboys were talking about when they decided to use their first, first-round pick on the defensive end from Troy University who they planned to convert to an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. It's not easy changing positions at this level.
"Play pretty good, pretty well," Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said of Saturday's performance. "Yeah . . . yeah . . . but he's got Orlando Pace this week, and as my old player Alvin Garrett said, 'It's a new set of encyclopedias.'"
OK, we get his drift, but confidence in this game means a lot, and Ware must be brimming with confidence after his clutch performance in the game the Cowboys absolutely had to win. And guess what, this one Sunday night against St. Louis just might be another game the Cowboys absolutely have to win if a thing or two falls their way.
So putting pressure on Rams starting quarterback Jamie Martin will be a necessity. No matter the Rams are 5-10, or were beaten this past week by San Francisco, 24-20, Martin was rather sparkling, completing 33 of 41 for 354 yards. Remember, the best way to cover Torry Holt, who leads the NFL with 98 receptions, is to put pressure on the quarterback - especially with the Cowboys banged up secondary (Roy Williams and Anthony Henry).
Would be advisable to, uh, "Ware" Martin out.
"We need him to play like that," Cowboys veteran defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said, knowing the defense has missed that production from the edge. "He probably got chewed out by a couple of people.
"He just needs confidence, and then sometimes they come in bunches."
That's what they say, and those sacks on Saturday were seemingly as plentiful as a bunch of grapes.
You know, it's fine and dandy Ware has recorded at least five tackles in five of the past seven games. And over the course of the first 15 games, we've seen him grow into a more complete outside linebacker. Just remember how the Chargers, 49ers and Raiders took advantage of him running the ball that first month of the season.
But when it comes to defensive ends or outside linebackers, even more so, those pressure guys selected with top picks in the draft, all everyone cares about other than coaches is sacks. They are the deal.
So if that's the case, welcome back, man.
"You know what I mean?" a relieved Ware said, just seconds before being engulfed by that Jones hug.
Yep, sure do.
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