In a recent piece, SI.com’s Doug Farrar, an excellent writer, whom I happen to follow and enjoy reading, included DeMarcus Ware as one of his most overrated defensive players in the NFL. He said this:
"“Ware was behind the positional eight-ball last season in Dallas, where defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had Ware playing end instead of pass-rushing linebacker for the first time in his career (it was one of Kiffin’s many disastrous decisions). We’ll see if a return to his optimal position in Denver will bring Ware’s greatness back. He needs to be outside the tackles so that he can use his turn around the edge.”"
This one is hard for me, because I do respect Farrar. But this is going beyond the pale. After being drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Ware proceeded to rattle off one of the most remarkably consistent and dominant runs, as an edge defender, in the history of the NFL.
In his first 8 seasons, Ware amassed 111 sacks. He also earned 7 trips to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors 7 times, too. But in 2013, Ware had a marked drop off in production, and as you can see, there was much hand-wringing over it.
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It’s true that Monte Kiffin put Ware out of position last year, in the Cowboys’ scheme. But people must also consider the fact that he was fighting injuries throughout the entire season. Even still, Ware notched 6 sacks, bringing his career total to 117.
When he left Dallas, he left as the franchise leader in sacks. Even in what many consider to be a sub-par 2013, Ware earned a +9.7 overall grade via ProFootballFocus. In fact, the only area he graded out in the negative was in penalties, with -0.6. Stop the presses!
We’re talking about a player who has had a remarkable run of good health, throughout his career, and then following one injury plagued season, we’re going to diminish him as a player and call him overrated? No, sir.
Jerry Jones is already ruing the day that he released DeMarcus Ware. Have you seen the Cowboys’ defense in action? It’s sad, really.
Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Broncos paid Ware, as well they should have. The 3 year, $30M deal, with $16.5M in full guarantees, is excellent, in my humble opinion. And protects the Broncos.
I know, I know. Ware is 32 years old, you say. The Broncos overpaid him, right? Wrong. DeMarcus Ware is going to have a monster year in Denver.
With Peyton Manning and the #1 offense in the NFL, establishing multi-possession leads, opposing offenses are going to have to throw, early and often.
That’s going to allow guys like Ware and Von Miller to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. This pass rushing duo has already gone on record as to what their aspirations are for this season.
Via Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Ware said this back in June:
"“We want to have as many sacks as one team.” Me and Von talk all the time about it. He threw a number out there, and I said, ‘Why not be the tandem that can say it was the best in the league ever.’ That’s what you want.”"
I’d say the over-under on Ware’s sack tally this year is 12. I know it was only preseason action, but did you see how explosive he looked last week vs the Seahawks? When he was in the game, he was a constant force and terror behind the line of scrimmage.
I’m sorry, but I’m of the belief that calling DeMarcus Ware overrated, after one inury-riddled year, and one that saw him playing out of position, is jumping the gun and an exercise in hyperbole.
Should we consider Von Miller to be overrated after a 2013 season that saw him be suspended for 6 games and then tear his ACL in week 16? He only notched 5 sacks, afterall. Nevermind the fact that he was the highest rated linebacker, regardless of whether it was 4-3, or 3-4 scheme, in all of the NFL last year, according to PFF. +42.8, ya’ll.