DeMarcus Ware attacks the game of football with seemingly reckless abandon. He uses his tremendous athleticism, speed and long arms to get past lineman and terrorize quarterbacks. But it’s his “motor” that keeps him going and sets him apart from other pass-rush specialists. Not only has Ware averaged 13 sacks a season, he’s also played every game of his five year career and averaged over 70 tackles a season as well. That motor comes in handy. It could also get him in trouble – especially if the league goes to an 18 game schedule.
Last December, against San Diego, Ware bolted past the quarterback and collided with a teammate, suffering a scary neck injury that ultimately led to him being carted off the field and rushed to the hospital. He was OK, but it was close enough for him and everyone watching to be reminded that a player’s career could be over instantly on one play.
The chances of that type of life-altering injury are even greater when playing with the ferocity of Ware. And they are even greater later in the season as players’ bodies wear down. Now add more games. The wear and tear grows exponentially at the end of the season and the amount of opportunities for injuries grows even more.
Is 18 vs. 16 that big of a deal? Yes and no. But where is the line drawn and what is best for the players – especially since individual players probably wouldn’t see a significant bump in pay because rosters would have to expand?
DeMarcus Ware joined Galloway and Company on ESPN Radio Dallas to discuss an 18-game schedule, Albert Haynesworth, the Cowboys’ left tackle position and baseball.
On the idea of an 18 game schedule:
“18 games. That’s a lot of games. People don’t realize. We already have five games in the pre-season this year plus 16 regular season. If they’re trying to take away two games from the pre-season and add them to the regular season, there are going to have to be a lot of changes. It’s a lot of wear and tear on your body too. A guy like me though, I like to play football, so I’m ready for it… When you think about it, people and just players in general can barely make it through a regular season. When you two more games to it, it’s going to just make it even longer. We’ve already got 53 guys on the roster. You’re going to have to bring in extra guys for help, to be honest. This is a different kind of sport. This is not basketball. It’s not baseball where you can play 100 games. We only have 16 games because of how brutal it is on your body. You have to look at that. People will probably have shorter careers because of that.”
On if he has sympathy for Albert Haynesworth:
“I think if you’re going to be a franchise guy, you got be what we call the company guy. At the end of the day, he should be able to play different positions. I know he can do it if he wants to do it. I think he needs to do whatever he needs to do to help the team out.”
On the team letting Flozell Adams go:
“Flozell, when I first came in, took me under his wing. He’s a good friend of mine, so you know exactly how I feel about that situation. It’s a business. Being at left tackle, you got to be able to protect Romo and I think we got the best guy for the job.”
On Doug Free starting at left tackle in place of Adams:
“I went against Doug Free all through OTAs and the minicamps we had. He’s a ready player. He played about 4-5 games last year… He has a little bit of the game time experience. It’s just going to take him getting used to playing 16 games because right now, he’s penciled in as a starter. Going against him in OTAs, I was really comfortable with what he was doing against me. In general, he’s been doing really well… I think there shouldn’t be a concern at all. Once he gets playing and gets the confidence he’s got from OTAs and just getting out there, it’s just going to be a new name that’s playing left tackle. He’s just a great player to be honest. We’re used to seeing Flozell Adams and we got to get used to seeing another guy playing left tackle.”
And on if he is any good at baseball:
“I feel like I’m a monster when I get on the baseball field. I played a little bit in high school. I was going to play in college, but I couldn’t. I’m glad I played football.”