DeMarcus Ware's injury in yesterday's game scared many of us, but it's now not seen as something too serious. In fact, Coach Phillips said in his press conference today that Ware is considered day-to-day. That's great news!
Having been released from the hospital with what is considered a sprain at the base of the neck, Ware is feeling much better and could be back soon.
"There is a possibility - again he came back a lot better today," Phillips said. "He was let out of the hospital early last night. He came back a lot better today so we will just have to see."
Though it is a shortened week because Dallas travels to New Orleans for a Saturday night game, Ware has yet to be ruled out. That's even better news for the Cowboys. Going up against the number one rated passer in the league in Drew Brees, they will need all the pass rushing help they can get.
Hat tip to OCC for the FanShot.
So what happens if Ware is not able to go on Saturday? The team could very well look to rookie Victor Butler to start.
The 6-2, 246-pound Butler has three sacks in limited playing time, all of which have come late in games. Phillips said the rookie, who played defensive end at Oregon State, is still learning the Cowboys' scheme and adjusting to playing outside linebacker.
"He's not a real big guy," Phillips said, "so that's part of it, too."
With or without Ware, I think we can all agree that the Dallas pass rush is rather inconsistent. Until recently, Jay Ratliff and Keith Brooking had been getting a rush up the middle. Perhaps Stephen Bowen can play a more prominent role against the pass-happy Saints.
If Ware is out, who is going to demand double teams? It's time for Anthony Spencer to step his game up one more level. DWare may make the game, but he'll be banged up. I saw Spencer maul the Chargers' tackles at times, yesterday. Although both the Saints' tackles are listed at 6-5, 315 lbs., Spencer brings a strong power rush.
Like Coach Phillips said, Butler is not too big a guy; and neither is the other option: Steve Octavien. He's more of a LB in the mold of Al Singleton instead of a DE/LB tweener like Ware and Spencer.
Whoever it is must be able to cover, too. Both RBs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas each have caught more than 30 receptions.
Speaking of covering - what's up with the third-and-longs? The secondary could definitely use some help on passing downs. Can't blame it all on the lack of a pass rush, but something's got to not give.
For the season, Cowboys' opponents have converted four times in seven chances on third-and-12, an abnormally high rate. In the last five games, Cowboys' opponents are 11-for-34 on third-and-eight or longer, also higher than the league average.
TE Martellus Bennett will return to practice, but is not expected to play until the Redskins game.
FS Ken Hamlin will also return to practice this week. His status will probably depend on whether he participates fully or on a limited basis.
Phillips put the blame on the offensive line, not Marion Barber, for coming up short on the goalline.
"He hit it up in there good, but there was somebody there that we felt we could have come off and blocked. They played it a little bit different from what we had seen, but it wasn't that much different. We felt like we should have scored.''
Here's what Jason Garrett had to say about the series.
"Those were three different plays,'' Garrett said. "We had knocked them off the ball fairly consistently on that drive. Logic tells you we should be able to do it again."
"They did a good job making the stand.''
Week 16's Cowboys @ Redskins matchup will remain on Sunday Night Football.
The NFL and NBC have decided that Week 16 game between the Cowboys and the Redskins will remain in prime time.