Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis believes DeMarcus Ware might have been hurt, literally and figuratively, by the move last year from 3-4 linebacker to 4-3 defensive end.
Ellis, who played both positions, is quick to point out that defensive end takes much more of a physical toll on a player than does outside linebacker.
“But I would say, as I said at the beginning of last season, is that there is a concern for DeMarcus playing in a 4-3 defense as that defensive end as an outside linebacker,” Ellis told ESPN Radio 103.3-FM, via the Dallas Morning News. “I had the opportunity to do both and when you’re playing outside linebacker in training camp, I couldn’t believe how my body felt, meaning it felt really good.
“When I played defensive end, it was like, ‘Man, do I really got to go out there and do that again?’ He went from the other end of spectrum. Playing that defensive end in the 4-3, he’s dealing with a 350-pound tackle every single play. When you play outside linebacker and they run the ball away from you, you’re getting a pursuit angle. You’re not even going to get touched.”
To be fair, Ware dealt with injury issues in 2012, when Dallas was still running the 3-4 under Rob Ryan. But he wasn’t forced to miss a game due to an injury until last year--he had gone seven seasons without missing a game before that--when he missed three with a quad injury. That injury aside, he played through a herniated disk in his back and a hyperextended elbow.
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