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.
Here are the historical notes compiled after todays game with the New York Giants:
The Dallas Cowboys had three receivers top 100 yards tonight (Jason Witten, 167; Miles Austin, 133; and Dez Bryant ,110) for just the second time in franchise history. The first was at San Francisco (11/10/63) as Frank Clarke (190), Lee Folkins (112) and Billy Howton (107) were the first Cowboys trio to accomplish the feat.
Dallas finished the game with 415 net passing yards – the sixth-most in a game in franchise history:
Single-Game Passing Yards (team history)
Miles Austin finished second on the team with nine catches for 133 yards today. His 133 yards marked his third 100-yard outing of the season and the 14th of his career. His 133 yards today were the ninth-most in a game in his career:
Austin’s Single-Game Yardage Total
Austin’s nine catches today upped his career total to 245 to pass Kelvin Martin (237) for 13th in franchise history.
Austin’s 133 yards today upped his career total to 3,855 to pass Doug Cosbie (3,728) for seventh in team history.
Dez Bryant finished third on the team in both receptions (five) and yards (110) today. His 110 yards marked a career-high, his second 100-yard game of the season and the third of his career.
Bryant upped his career receptions total to 149 to pass Don Perkins (146) for 29th in team history.
Bryant improved his career receiving yards total to 1,977 to pass Timmy Newsome (1,966) for 28th in franchise history.
Bryant had a career-long 55-yard catch today.
Lance Dunbar had a 44-yard kickoff return today for the longest kickoff return of the season to date.
Dwayne Harris tied his career-long punt return of 14 yards today.
Felix Jones rushed 13 times for 19 yards and touchdown today. He now has 507 career rushing attempts to become the 12th Dallas Cowboy with 500 rushes.
Jones’ rushing touchdown today was the 10th of his career to make him the 18th Dallas Cowboy with 10-or-more rushing scores.
Danny McCray picked off his second career pass today.
John Phillips notched his second career touchdown reception – the first was also against the N.Y. Giants (12/11/12).
Tony Romo finished today’s game 36-of-62 for 437 yards. His 62 attempts established a club record while his 437 passing yards were a single-game career-high and good for third in club history:
Single-Game Passing Yards (Team History)
|Don Meredith||460||@SF (11/10/63)|
|Troy Aikman||455||MIN (11/26/98)|
|Tony Romo||437||NYG (10/28/12)|
Romo’s 437 yards was his second career 400-yard game (first was 406 vs. Tennessee, 10/10/10) and his 34th career outing with 300-or-more passing yards.
Romo also rushed for his fifth career touchdown today.
DeMarcus Ware’s sack today was his fifth straight game with at least a half sack – the fourth such streak in his career.
Ware has 13.5 career sacks against the Giants – the second-most against any team in the league (Philadelphia, 15.5). He also has 13.5 sacks of Eli Manning – more than any other quarterback he has sacked in the league.
Ware now has 107.0 career sacks to take sole possession of third place on Dallas’ all-time unofficial (pre-1982) sack list:
Jason Witten led the team with a club-record 18 catches for a team-best and career-high 167 yards. Witten now owns the top-three and is tied for fourth for receptions in a single-game in club history:
Dallas Cowboys Single-Game receptions
|Jason Witten||18||NYG (10/28/12)|
|Jason Witten||15||@Det (12/9/07)|
|Jason Witten||14||@NYG (12/6/09)|
|Lance Rentzel||13||WAS (11/19/67)|
|Jason Witten||13||CHI (10/1/12)|
|Dez Bryant||13||@Bal (10/14/12)|
Witten’s 18 catches tied for the third-most in a game in NFL history (Brandon Marshall, 18, vs. San Diego, 9/15/08) and were the most by a tight end in NFL history.
Witten’s 167-yard performance tied for the 20th-best single-game total by a league tight end and was a club tight-end record.
Witten also extended his club tight end record of 100-yard outings to 16.
Witten upped his season catch total to 51 to give him his ninth career and ninth consecutive season with at least 40 catches. He is now tied with Jeremy Shockey for the third-most 40-plus catch seasons and the third-most consecutive 40-catch seasons among tight ends in NFL history.
40-Plus Catch Seasons by a Tight End
|Shannon Sharpe||11||7||1992-98, 00-03|
Witten’s 51 catches thus far also marked his ninth career and ninth consecutive 50-catch season for the second-most by a tight end behind Tony Gonzalez (14 total and 14 consecutive) in NFL history.
Witten now has 747 career receptions and trails Michael Irvin by only three for tops in team history.
Without a doubt, there is one major focus for this Cowboys’ team in 2012 and that’s getting to the playoffs and possibly doing some postseason damage as well.
Team goals come first and that hasn’t changed. Obviously everyone from the front office, coaches, players and definitely the fans are hungry for that success.
I felt the need to preface that before mentioning a few interesting individual accomplishments that are on the horizon for the 2012 season.
For the stat geeks out there who love milestones, this season could, and should, have a few big ones. In fact, three to be exact could happen around the same time of the season.
The three main faces of this current team are all in position to break franchise records this year.
For starters, tight end Jason Witten is closing in on Michael Irvin’s all-time receptions record of 750. Witten is currently in second place with 696 receptions and needs just 55 catches to surpass “The Playmaker.” Witten has averaged more than 77 catches per season in his nine-year career and since his rookie season in 2003, Witten hasn’t had a season with less than 64 catches.
Next let’s go with DeMarcus Ware, who has 99.5 sacks, currently in fourth place in club history. But Ware needs 15 sacks to surpass Harvey Martin (114.0) as the Cowboys’ all-time sack leader. While the NFL didn’t make sacks an official stat until 1982, the Cowboys have always kept their own stats and still acknowledge Martin as the leader, followed by Randy White (111) and Ed Jones (106). That’s why there are some places where Ware is recognized as the all-time sack leader already. But after 15, he’ll have the most of any player in any era.
And quarterback Tony Romo can move up in the record books as well. While he currently ranks fourth in club history with 149 touchdown passes, just an average season would likely put Romo in first place, ahead of Troy Aikman and his 165 touchdown passes. Danny White (155) and Roger Staubach (153) are both currently ahead of Romo as well. But for a guy who threw 31 last year, getting to 17 shouldn’t be a problem as long as he stays healthy.
Those are three of the biggest milestones. Obviously, winning the team’s first division title since 2009 or getting a second playoff win since 1996 far outweigh those individual accomplishments. But for a season with so much hype already surrounding it, those are three more things to watch for.
The Dallas Cowboys don’t often pick back-to-back in the top 10, but twice before, it has meant something ‘Super’
When the Cowboys selected Morris Claiborne two weeks ago in the NFL draft, it marked only the fourth time in club history that they made back-to-back picks in the top 10.
The team picked Claiborne at No. 6. It followed the previous April selection of offensive tackle Tyron Smith at No. 9.
Two selections in a row that high could be a sign of good things to come.
In 1974 and ’75, the team took defensive end Too Tall Jones at No. 1 and defensive tackle Randy White at No. 2. Those choices served as the foundation for two Super Bowl teams and a 68-27 record over the next six years.
In the 1960s, the Cowboys had four consecutive top-10 picks. They took linebacker Lee Roy Jordan at No. 6 in 1963, then defensive tackle Scott Appleton at No. 4 in 1964, quarterback Craig Morton at No. 5 in 1965 and guard John Niland at No. 5 in 1966.
The Cowboys made the playoffs every year from 1966 to ’73, reaching six conference championship games and two Super Bowls.
For the sixth straight year, The Associated Press has included outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware on the All-Pro team. And he’s a first-team pick for the fifth straight season.
Ware finished second in the NFL with 19 ½ sacks, just missing becoming the first player in league history to record two 20-sack seasons in his career.
The NFL listed four linebackers on the All-Pro team as Ware joins Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and San Francisco teammates Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman.
For Ware, he becomes just the fourth player in Cowboys history to have six All-Pro selections, joining Randy White (eight), Larry Allen (seven) and Bob Lilly (seven).
While Ware did finish with nearly 20 sacks, there was a thought he could seriously break Michael Strahan’s sack record of 22.5, which is still standing although Minnesota’s Jared Allen came close this year with 22.
After seven games, Ware had 12 sacks, thanks to his first-ever four-sack game against the Eagles. But after that game, Ware’s pace slowed, about the same time he suffered a stinger injury that lingered for most of the final month of the season.
Ware now has 99 ½ sacks for his career and is fourth place in Cowboys history, behind Harvey Martin (114), Randy White (111) and Ed “Too Tall” Jones (106).
FRIDAY PRESS CONFERENCES: Jason Garrett | Rob Ryan | Miles Austin | Film Session | Bonus Randy White video
Jason Garrett spoke to the media for the final time before heading to New York to face the Giants.
Rob Ryan talks about what his defense needs to do to improve after their last outing against the Giants.
Austin: Ready To Get Out There <—click here
Miles Austin talks about the long wait for Sunday nights game.
Film Session: Jason Pierre-Paul <—click here
Judd Garrett takes a look a key part of the Giants defense.
Randy White Remembers ’93 Against Giants <—click here
Randy White talks about the Cowboys trip to New York in 1993 that saw them clinch a playoff spot.
A group of Santa’s get ready for a halftime performance.
Here are notes compiled by the Dallas Cowboys’ staff:
The Dallas Cowboys did not throw an interception today, and it marked Dallas’ fourth straight game without throwing an interception. It is the longest streak for the Cowboys since 2009 (four straight, 11/26-12/19).
The Dallas Cowboys avoided a shutout today with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The last time Dallas was held scoreless was at New England (11/16/03). It also extended their streak of home games without a shutout to 166. The last time Dallas was shutout at home was against Philadelphia (9/15/91).
Read more …
Here are the notes compiled by the Cowboys’ staff:
Today’s win gave Dallas its eighth win of the season to guarantee a .500-or-better finish for the 34th time in franchise history.
The win improved Dallas’ Saturday record to 15-12 and its Saturday night record to 5-2.
The Dallas defense held Tampa Bay to just one first half first down. It was the fifth time since 1991 – as far back that can be researched tonight – the defense accomplished the feat:
at N.Y. Giants………. 9/13/92
at Washington………. 10/2/94
at Philadelphia…….. 10/10/99
atTampa Bay………. 12/17/11
Through 14 games of his rookie season, Dan Bailey has been true on 32 field goals. His 32 field goals made in 14 games is second in team history over that span:
Player (Year) FGM FGA Pct.
Richie Cunningham (1997)…. 33 35 94.3
Dan Bailey (2011)……………… 32 36 88.9
Chris Boniol (1996)…………….. 27 31 87.1
Rafael Septien (1981)………… 26 31 83.9
Richie Cunningham (1998)…. 24 28 85.7
Bailey’s 32 made field goals thus are fourth through an entire rookie season in NFL history:
Player (Year) FGM FGA Pct.
Ali Haji-Sheikh (1983)…………. 35 42 83.3
Richie Cunningham (1997)…. 34 37 91.9
Chester Marcol (1972)………… 33 48 68.8
Dan Bailey (2011)……………… 32 35 88.6
Kevin Butler (1985)…………….. 31 37 83.8
Mason Crosby (2007)………….. 31 39 79.5
Sammy Morris made his Dallas Cowboys debut tonight after signing with the club on Dec. 13. Morris finished his first outing with 12 carries for 53 yards (4.4 avg.).
Romo has thrown for 3,895 yards this season to rank fourth in a season in club history:
Player (Year) Yards
Tony Romo (2009)……. 4,483
Tony Romo (2007)……. 4,211
Danny White (1983)…… 3,980
Tony Romo (2011)……. 3,895
Drew Bledsoe (2005)…. 3,639
Romo’s 29 touchdowns this season are tied for second in a season in team history:
Player (Year) TDs
Tony Romo (2007)……. 36
Danny White (1983)…… 29
Tony Romo (2011)……. 29
Danny White (1980)…… 28
Roger Staubach (1979) 27
Tony Romo (2008, 09). 26
Romo completed 23 pass completions today to give him 317 for the season. His 317 this season are the fourth in a season in team history:
Player (Year) Comps
Tony Romo (2009)……. 347
Tony Romo (2007)……. 335
Danny White (1983)…… 334
Tony Romo (2011)……. 317
Troy Aikman (1992)…… 302
With his 133.9 rating, Romo now has 42 career games with a passer rating of at least 100.0. He has the second-most 100-plus rating games in team history:
Troy Aikman………… 44
Tony Romo………….. 42
Roger Staubach…… 37
Danny White………… 33
Craig Morton………… 24
Romo’s three touchdown passes today was his 24th career game with three-or-more touchdown passes, the most in team history:
Player 3-or-more-TDs (games)
Tony Romo………………… 24
Danny White……………….. 20
Roger Staubach………….. 17
It was also Romo’s fifth game with three-plus touchdown passes this season to tie the third-most in a season in team history:
3-or-more TD games
Player (season) (season)
Tony Romo (2007)……………… 6
Tony Romo (2008)……………… 6
Roger Staubach (1979)………. 5
Danny White (1980)……………. 5
Tony Romo (2011)……………… 5
DeMarcus Ware’s sack today upped his official club sack record to 96. Among all-time (pre-1982 included) club sack leaders, Ware’s 96 put him past Jethro Pugh (95.5) for fifth:
Career sacks, including pre-1982
Player (Years) Sacks
Harvey Martin (1973-83)……………… 114.0
Randy White (1975-88)……………….. 111.0
Too Tall Jones (1974-78, 80-89)….. 106.0
George Andrie (1962-72)………………. 97.0
DeMarcus Ware (2005-11)……………. 96.0
Ware’s 16.0 sacks thus far are the second-most in his career (20.0 in 2008) and second in a season in club history:
Player (Year) Sacks
DeMarcus Ware (2008)……. 20.0
DeMarcus Ware (2011)…… 16.0
DeMarcus Ware (2010)……. 15.5
Jim Jeffcoat (1986)………… 14.0
DeMarcus Ware (2007)……. 14.0
Ware’s sack tonight was his first career sack against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are now only four teams in which he has not had a sack – Denver, Jacksonville, Miami and San Diego.
Jason Witten’s 77 yards today upped his season total to 849 for his sixth season with 800-or-more yards. His six tie Shannon Sharpe for second all-time among tight ends:
800-plus yard seasons (Tight End)
Tony Gonzalez……. 11
Shannon Sharpe…… 6
Jason Witten………… 6
Antonio Gates……….. 5
Witten has reached the 800-yard mark in each of the last five seasons (including 2011) to give him the second-most consecutive 800-yard seasons among tight ends in NFL history. Tony Gonzalez has the most consecutive (seven).
All-time among club pass catchers, Witten’s six 800-yard seasons ties Bob Hayes for third while his five are good for second:
800-plus yard seasons (Dallas Cowboys)
Michael Irvin………… 8
Tony Hill………………. 7
Bob Hayes……………. 6
Jason Witten………… 6
Consecutive 800-plus yard seasons (Dallas Cowboys)
Michael Irvin………. 8 (1991-98)
Jason Witten……… 5 (2007-11)
Bob Hayes………….. 4 (1965-68)
Drew Pearson……… 4 (1974-77)
Tony Hill……………. 4 (1978-81)