While this is usually the time of year to spend with family, about a dozen Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have a different agenda for Christmas and New Year’s.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expects outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware to play in Sunday’s winner-take-all battle for the NFC East title against Washington despite being sidelined with a strained shoulder in crunch time of the team’s 34-31 loss to New Orleans.
“Somehow, some way, DeMarcus is going to get himself right to play in this Washington game,” Garrett said during today’s news conference at Valley Ranch. “He’ll battle through anything.”
Ware, a six-time Pro Bowler, never has missed a game in his Cowboys’ career. But he took part in only 59 of 95 plays in Sunday’s game against New Orleans. Ware, the team’s sack leader (11.5), missed the entire fourth quarter and returned for only one play in overtime _ to rush the passer on a third-and-3 situation.
Ware has been playing with a hyperextended elbow and also battled a hamstring ailment earlier this season. Garrett stressed that team trainers will make sure Ware is “functional and can protect himself” during practices this week before he suits up against the Redskins. But he made it clear Monday that he is counting on Ware to be in Sunday’s lineup.
“DeMarcus Ware is such a talented athlete, I think a lot of times, people lose sight of the kind of person he is and how mentally and physically tough that he is,” Garrett said. “He’s a very willful guy … He wants to get out there and help our football team.”
Garrett said Ware’s track record for durability speaks for itself.
“He just somehow, some way gets himself ready to play in a ballgame,” Garrett said. “He hasn’t had the gaudy numbers that he’s had in the past in terms of sacks, but he’s certainly been a productive player for us. I think a lot of that goes to his will and his passion for playing, his passion for his teammates and his love for the game.”
RIVAL HEADLINE: Here comes the mystery team – Dallas Cowboys still a puzzle as finale vs. Redskins approaches
ARLINGTON, Tex. – They were playing this week to decide the meaning of next week, and it’s now clear that it will be winner take all when the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys meet for the NFC East title. The next question for the Redskins is, which outfit should they scout with the playoffs on the line: the Cowboys who can’t solve the riddle of their dazzling but often fatally confused personality, or the terrifying Cowboys who know exactly who they are?
Do you expect the perplexing, dumbfounding Cowboys who suffered yet another upset loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in overtime, 34-31? Or the touchdown-a-minute monsters who almost won a game that seemed unwinnable? Do you plan for the team that can look like a still life? Or the one that can leave you thunderstruck with feats like two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes 35 seconds against the Saints?
Do you expect the strangely complacent team that allowed the Saints to possess the ball for a staggering 41:59 out of more than 64 minutes? Or do you brace for the biting, snap-jawed team that is never, ever out of a game with Tony Romo, who threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns and can make so much happen in such a short period of time? Their late fourth-quarter drives took just 1:10 and 1:14, respectively, the second one ending with Romo’s 19-yard zing to Miles Austin on fourth and 10 with just 15 seconds remaining to force overtime.
“We had a lot of good plays,” Romo said. “But we didn’t get off the field on third down, and didn’t stay on the field enough on third down, and that’s not a good recipe. . . .We didn’t make a play or two that can determine it.”
NFC EAST CHAMPIONSHIP FLEXED TO SNF: Dallas Cowboys and Redskins to end NFL 2012-2013 regular season in dramatic fashion
ARLINGTON, Texas — It had to come down to a final game. Had to. Just like it’s come down to the final drive over and over again. The white-knuckled way the Dallas Cowboys‘ season had gone, it would never end with coach Jason Garrett and his players watching the final day play out with their feet up, coasting into the playoffs. It wouldn’t fit. It had to be like this.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins on Sunday night. Prime time. A playoff spot and NFC East crown for the winner. Just like last year, when it was Giants-Cowboys. Like it should be.