The Cowboys’ top defensive player, DeMarcus Ware, summed up the offseason in glowing terms for the defense.
He said the players were aggressive and comfortable with the plan.
“When I think about the defense, from last year to this year, it’s sort of like night and day,” he said Thursday at Cowboys Stadium after the final minicamp practice and the last work of the offseason until training camp. “There weren’t a lot of mistakes we were making. Guys were really aggressive, really comfortable. In the defense, whatever Rob called, we were ready for the situation.
“I feel really good about the defense, how things are progressing. Especially the young guys”
The Cowboys will likely have at least four new starters on the defense in 2012 – safety Brodney Poole, cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr and inside linebacker Bruce Carter. Defensive end Sean Lissemore might win a job, too.
“I think it was just a great offseason,” Ware said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement, always. But we’ve gotten a lot better.”
Training camp is scheduled to begin with the first practice July 30 in Oxnard, Calif. Ware said it should be competitive defensively.
“Brandon Carr, Claiborne, a lot of the younger linebackers – defensively, it’s a battle out there,” he said. “You can see those guys and the tenacity that they bring. It’s going to be good.”
DeMarcus Ware joins SportsCenter to discuss if the Cowboys’ window to win a Super Bowl is closing, what they learned from last season, drafting defensive players with their first four picks in 2012 and playing in a tough NFC East.
Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware didn’t come out and say the word Super Bowl but as he said “you know what I’m talking about” when he said his teammates have been motivated in off season workouts to do more than just make the playoffs and just win the NFC East Championship next season.
“We are not just looking for the playoffs,” Ware said. “We are not just looking for the NFC East championship. We are looking for the big thing that really quantifies what a team means. You already know what I’m talking about.”
Ware said the Cowboys are motivated by the bitterness of 2011 when they finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs. The Cowboys lost five games after taking a lead into the fourth quarter, including an NFL-record three by 12 points or more, and were blown out by the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in a winner take all game for the division title and the playoffs in the season final.
Ware said Cowboys can learn from the Giants and what happened to them “could have been us.”
He says that’s the focus of the team’s offseason workouts where the Cowboys are not just working hard but showing more leadership than in the past.
The leadership issue is a buzz word for the Cowboys because of the late season and late game collapses in recent years. Instead of being defensive, Ware, whose leadership has been criticized in the past, said everybody is stepping up because they are tired of losing.
“It’s just that,” Ware said. “It’s been eight years. Guys are tired of losing. Guys are trying to step up. It’s lead by example and it’s vocal. It’s a lot of young guys coming in so we go tot lead by example. We also go to say what needs to be said.”
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware and receiver Laurent Robinson practiced again Friday, so they’re likely to be ready to play Sunday night against the New York Giants. Ware had a neck stinger in last week’s game, and Robinson had a shoulder injury. Both sat out Wednesday’s practice but returned Thursday.
Again missing practice were quarterback Jon Kitna (back), tight end Martellus Bennett (ribs), defensive back Danny McCray (ankle), running back Phillip Tanner (hamstring) and nose tackle Josh Brent (knee).
Safety Abe Elam missed practice to be at his father’s funeral in Florida. He also missed practice, but he is expected to play Sunday.
DeMarcus Ware joins The Fan for his weekly show.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues to work towards the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware talks to the Miami media about playing in Rob Ryan’s defense.
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The DeMarcus Ware Show