Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware is used to getting plenty of attention on the football field. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Ware was asked just how often he's double-teamed during a game.
"Every play," he said, laughing.
That's the kind of respect Ware gets around the NFL, and for good reason – his 109.5 sacks rank third among active players 19th on the all-time list. But, he said, what separates the good defenders from the truly scary ones is the ability to produce in spite of that extra attention.
"I look at it as, if you have two guys on you, you still need to figure out how to get there," Ware said. "Sometimes you have guys who play really well one year and don't play well the next year because after awhile (other teams) know what they can do and they start scheming for that guy. But just like a train, you can slow it down but it's going to keep rolling. You just have to be effective at whatever comes your way."
For the second time in three weeks, the Eagles will be looking to keep that train in the station. Ware has 15.5 sacks in his career against the Eagles in the regular season, including 6.0 last season. But when the Eagles and Cowboys met in Week 10, Ware was held to half a sack and two tackles.
Keeping Ware that quiet again would be helpful to rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown, who are in line to start on Sunday at quarterback and running back, respectively. The Eagles' offensive line is once again in a state of uncertainty, but Ware knows better than to take that for granted.
"We played them last time and they blocked us up pretty well," Ware said. "But it's week-to-week. You really don't know what you're going to get and what type of matchup it's going to be."
One important matchup will be Ware and the Cowboys' pass rush against Foles, who will make his third start at quarterback. The Cowboys had spent the days leading up to their first matchup studying for Michael Vick. But Foles relieved Vick in the second quarter of that game after Vick left with a concussion. What did Ware see from the rookie?
"How much pocket poise he has," he said. "But also a guy who can sit back and he can gun that thing. He has an arm. And he can move around in the pocket a little bit. You don't have to be a runner, you just have to move around and get away from the guys who are rushing the passer … When he came in he did a good job."
Like the Eagles, the Cowboys are looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. And while neither team expected their records to be where they are now, Ware expects a fight on Sunday. After all, it's the NFC East.
"The teams that usually play the best are teams that (are) going through a lot of adversity," Ware said. "I just feel like some of the things that have happened out there, they're going through a lot of adversity, they're going to push really hard this game. I know it's going to be a battle this game. Any NFC East game is always going to be a hard one."
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