Yeah, the elbow. That’s it. It was the elbow.
Or, when it comes to DeMarcus Ware’s dramatic drop in production in 2013, was it the shoulder? The double-teams? The absence of Anthony Spencer. The neck stingers? Or, perhaps it was merely age?
With Spencer out with a season-ending injury and Jay Ratliff released, the Cowboys needed Ware more than ever last year. And, let’s face it, he wasn’t there for them.
He missed three games with a thigh injury and was bothered by a right elbow. And, in the end, he produced only one sack the final six games and a career-low six as Dallas again missed the playoffs. Ware dominated Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith during last summer’s training camp in Oxnard, Calif., but was a shadow of his Hall-of-Fame self during the regular season.
Ware thinks he knows the reason, and is getting it surgically repaired next week. It’s his right elbow in general and an exposed nerve in specific, something that’s bothered him for two years. Ware is a warrior who has proven he’ll play through pain and play at a high level.
But I’m afraid his decline isn’t reversible, or correctible via the knife. He’ll be 32 when next season starts and his body is breaking down.
Ware wasn’t double-teamed much, if at all, down the stretch of the season. But he simply wasn’t a factor. And, at this point, I’m afraid it’s delusional to think we’ll see a return to dominance by No. 94.
In fact, the Cowboys are thinking long and hard about Ware’s roster spot. As they should.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.