He didn't make the top 10 like many of us thought he might, but Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware was ranked the #12 best player in the poll being run by the players and being presented on the NFL Network. His inclusion in the rankings caps the Cowboys run of six players making the list - Jay Ratliff, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Andre Gurode, Jason Witten and Ware.
Ware joined the NFL Network in studio for the show, and took some good-natured ribbing from analyst Marshall Faulk. While Ware (sort of jokingly) said he deserved to be #1 on the list overall, Faulk told him that he had Dwight Freeney as a better pass rusher on his list. Ware took it all in stride and revealed his top five pass rushers in the league besides himself - (1) Julius Peppers, (2) Dwight Freeney, (3) Jared Allen, (4) James Harrison, (5) Clay Matthews.
Since the 2005 season, Ware has led all the NFL in sacks with 80 quarterback takedowns.
Last week, over at USA Today, a group of panelists rated the top outside linebackers in the league, lumping 3-4 and 4-3 players together, and Ware came out on top of that list.
Ware is a beast, boasting a rare combination of elite speed, size, athleticism, technique and burst. He is a consistently disruptive and productive quarterback nightmare who led the league with 15 1/2 sacks and the Cowboys with 36 quarterback pressures in 2010 despite being double- and triple-teamed much of the time. He notched an NFL-high (and career-best) 20 sacks in 2008 despite the constant attention from offensive schemes geared to neutralize him.
Solomon Wilcots had these comments on Ware:
"DeMarcus Ware is quietly the best," Wilcots says.
"Ask offensive linemen around the league, they'll tell you Ware is the game's most complete, all-around outside linebacker," Wilcots says. "He's as good a defensive player as anyone and fundamentally sound against the run more so than just a pass rusher."
"I've watched Rob Ryan design game plans to get lesser guys to the quarterback last season in Cleveland," Wilcots says. "Rob will build that Cowboys defense around Ware."
Congrats to DeMarcus Ware on the recognition he is receiving, truly no Cowboys is more deserving.