DALLAS COWBOYS LEGACY: Ranking sack-master DeMarcus Ware among franchise greats

DALLAS COWBOYS LEGACY - Ranking sack-master DeMarcus Ware among franchise greats - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is just days away.

With just four days until the Dallas Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., one question centers on DeMarcus Ware closing-in on the team’s sack record and where that might put him among the franchise’s best players.

Where does DeMarcus Ware rank among Dallas Cowboy greats?

Barring any significant injury – and if 2012 showed us anything it’s that it takes a lot more than just an average injury to sideline DeMarcus Ware – at some point early this season the Cowboys will have a new all-time sack leader.

The late Harvey Martin has held that distinction since he retired in 1983, sitting at the top of the charts with 114 sacks. Ware currently has 111, meaning he needs just four more sacks this year to surpass Martin as the Cowboys’ all-time leader.

Officially, according to the NFL, Ware already holds the mark because the league didn’t start registering sacks as an official stat until 1982. But the Cowboys have kept the correct stats and Martin has had the lead for 30 years. That will likely change this season, considering Ware hasn’t been held under double-digit sacks since his rookie year of 2005.

So when that happens, what will it mean for DeMarcus Ware’s legacy with the Cowboys? Will it even change at all?

Martin holding the club’s sack record hasn’t been enough to land him a spot in the Ring of Honor. Many pundits believe Martin is the biggest snub of the Tom Landry era and is the most deserving to get into the Ring. However, Ware is seemingly a lock for the Ring of Honor when his playing days are done.

But even if he never plays for a championship team, is it possible for Ware to be considered one of the best defensive players in Cowboys history? Stats-wise, he’ll be more accomplished than Bob Lilly or Randy White and Martin. But those guys have Super Bowl rings.

Just how far does Ware have to stretch the sack record to overlook his lack of team success? Then again, Ware turns 31 next month. He still has a few good years in him and who knows what the Cowboys will do as a team over the next few seasons.

With four sacks, Ware will be considered the very best Cowboys player to rush the quarterback. But just how many sacks will he need to be considered the best defensive player in franchise history?

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let’s take a closer look at the number 4:

  • DeMarco Murray had just four rushing touchdowns last season to lead the team. Kevin Ogletree also had four receiving touchdowns, which ranked him third behind Dez Bryant (12) and Miles Austin (six).
  • The only player drafted No. 4 in franchise history was Scott Appleton, a defensive tackle in 1964. Appleton never suited up for the Cowboys, who traded his rights to the Steelers.
  • Only four players have donned the No. 4 for the Cowboys: Mike Saxon, Toby Gowin, Micah Knorr and Shaun Suisham.
  • Isaac Holt is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in blocked punts with four, all occurring in a four-year span from 1989-92.
  • Dennis Thurman and Dexter Coakley are tied for the most interception returns for touchdowns in team history with four each.
  • Bob Hayes (1970) and Terrell Owens (2007) are the only two players in Cowboys history to record four touchdown catches in a game.
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