DeMarcus Ware starts at right outside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
He finishes at the quarterback.
In between, he’s all over the place.
The Seattle Seahawks’ left tackle, Russell Okung, will match up with Ware some of the time Sunday. Their right tackle, James Carpenter, will face Ware other times. Tight ends, running backs and even interior offensive linemen will contend with him.
Ware, who collected four of his 12 sacks in Week 8, lines up across the formation. He has six of his sacks from the left side of the defense and six from the right, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
This matchup appears particularly tough for the Seahawks. They’ve allowed 28 sacks, most in the league, despite already having a bye week. The Cowboys’ 21 sacks on defense rank sixth among teams with seven games.
The St. Louis Rams attempted 33 passes and took only one sack at Dallas two weeks ago, but they averaged only 9.8 yards per completed pass. Ware had the one sack, plus two of the Cowboys’ six quarterback hits.
Seattle has taken 20 sacks in its four road games this season, and at least four in every game but the one against Atlanta, when the Falcons had zero.
Penalties are another concern for the Seahawks’ offensive line. The line has committed 19 accepted and declined penalties this season. That includes 12 in four road games and seven in three home games.
The Cowboys expect more of the same. After the Eagles ran over their defense — the first time that has happened in the Rob Ryan era — the Cowboys have no doubts the Seahawks and every team hereafter will try to copy Philadelphia’s game plan.
“I think you’ll see some of those plays run against us that Philadelphia was able to have success with,” Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. “If you’ve got a blueprint of a great house, you probably want to follow it. We’ve got to figure out how to break into that thing and shut it down. If we do see plays that Philly had, I’m sure we’ll be ready for it this time around.”
The Eagles gained 495 yards in the 34-7 victory over Dallas. Michael Vick passed for 279 yards, using the middle of the field, and ran for another 50 yards. LeSean McCoy ran for a career-best 185 yards and two touchdowns.
But the Seahawks don’t have Vick or McCoy or Brent Celek or Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson. They rank 31st in total offense, and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has rushed for only 80 yards in six games this season and 615 for his career.
“They’re kind of unique in what they have with Michael Vick. Michael’s an amazing player,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a conference call with reporters at Valley Ranch. “Right off the bat, he’s scrambling around and making some yards, causing some problems for guys, thinking they don’t know if he’s going to take off and run or sit in the pocket. He found some space and started hitting guys all over the field and, man, the thing just snowballed with the running game. Michael had a great factor in that, as he’s always going to have a factor as you defend him. You’re thinking about him the whole time and you’re trying to design things so he doesn’t control the game. They just handed the ball off and made a bunch of yards. They really probably played the game differently than even they expected to where they ran it so effectively against the best rushing defense in the NFL.
“I’d like to think that we could learn something from it, but we might have to get a moped or something for our quarterback to ride around in to be like Michael. We’re not as fast as he is.”
Vick’s not faster than a moped, Carroll was asked.
“Well, maybe, that’s probably not right,” Carroll admitted. “Call it a Harley or something, all right?”
IRVING — Bruce Carter said Wednesday that Sean Lee is the teammate that has helped him most since Carter was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in April.
Coincidentally, an injury to Lee’s left wrist could result in Carter getting defensive snaps earlier than the Cowboys’ coaching staff had planned.
With Lee possibly sidelined for Sunday’s game against Seattle, Bruce Carter, who saw time on special teams last week in Philadelphia, could be forced into action.
“It’s an opportunity for me to step up and show my teammates what I can do,” Carter said. “I want to go in and fill that void.”
During his Wednesday media session, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was noncommittal about Carter lining up at inside linebacker against the Seattle Seahawks, stating that Carter “just hasn’t played enough football in this scheme.”
However, fellow inside linebacker Bradie James said that it didn’t matter if Bruce Carter was ready or not.
“It doesn’t matter now,” James said. “He has to be ready. We need him to get up in there and really get his letter. When you’re in college you got to earn that letter, and that’s where he is. This is big boy football. We’re all helping him out. We’ll help him out as much as possible, and he’ll be ready.”
Now his top priority is studying plays and getting familiar with the teammates he’s lining up alongside. Garrett cautioned that Wednesday’s practice was only the third padded-session that Bruce Carter has participated in. But that’s something that Bruce Carter didn’t sound too concerned about.
“It don’t really matter,” he said. “It’s just hitting, so it’s the same thing you did in high school and college. So it’s not really that much of a difference if you don’t have any pads on. Just making sure your technique’s down and focusing on your fundamentals.”
Another obstacle could be overcoming the pressure of stepping in for the Dallas Cowboys’ top inside linebacker. Sean Lee leads the Cowboys in combined tackles with 51 and interceptions with three.
“It could be a lot but I try not to really think about it,” Carter said. “I try to go out there and control what I can.”
Second-round pick Bruce Carter made his NFL debut and his first career tackle Sunday against the Eagles. He hopes to see some spot duty on defense for the first time this week.
With Sean Lee’s status for Sunday’s game in doubt, the Cowboys are trying to get Carter up to speed on the defense. He could play some snaps in relief of Bradie James and Keith Brooking if Lee is unable to play. The Cowboys have no other inside linebackers besides, Lee, Brooking, James and Carter, though Orie Lemon is on the practice squad.
“I think he has a long way to go,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Carter. “He just hasn’t played a lot of football in this scheme yet. I thought he did a really good job in the game as a special teams player, and he just needs to get more and more comfortable, playing on the field in this defense. He’s a smart guy. He does pick it up well in the meeting room and when he’s watching tape. He just needs to have reps added and really that’s the case for any player, particularly a young player who has missed as much time as he has. He’s picking it up well. He’s been productive in practice. We’re hopeful he can take the next step and get in the game and be productive as well.”
Carter missed all of training camp and the first six weeks of the season while rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee from last November while he was at North Carolina. He played only special teams against the Eagles, stopping Jeremy Maclin on a punt return at the end of the first half.
“It definitely felt good to get my first tackle and get that underneath my belt and move forward,” Carter said.
He said he will stay late this week, trying to cram for Sunday.
“It’s an opportunity for me to go in and step up and show everybody what I can do and help this team out,” Carter said. “I don’t want the team, especially on defense, to fall any from where [Lee] was. I want to go in there and fill that void.”