DeMarcus Ware spent nine seasons (2005-2013) with the Dallas Cowboys and made his mark as not only one of the best pass rushers of his time but in NFL history. He recorded a franchise-record 117 sacks in Dallas and finished with 138.5 for his career (played final three seasons with the Denver Broncos), good for ninth all-time.
Ware will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2022 and should get in on his first try. His former teammate, Tony Romo, is also eligible for Canton next year but will have a much harder time getting enshrined. The seven-time All-Pro appeared on the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] recently to discuss his former team, and predictably Romo’s Hall of Fame case came up, and his thoughts were intriguing.
“From his resume, yes. If it’s going off championships, no,” Ware said. “If it’s one of those things where you’re looking at a Hall of Fame quarterback according to how many titles they won, he won’t make it. But, from the way he played and the stats that he put up, all of that? Yes. He’ll make it for sure.”
That’s a very interesting take from Ware. Yes, championships matter in sports, especially when it’s the quarterback position in football. However, notable Hall of Fame signal callers Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Warren Moon are three of the best to ever play under center, and none have championships on their resume.
If we’re going off of Ware’s point about if the criteria for the Hall of Fame when comes to quarterbacks is based on numbers, he’s right about Romo. He’s currently ninth all-time (97.1) in quarterback rating and tied for 10th all-time in completion percentage (65.3) with Peyton Manning, who was selected to the 2021 class recently. He also has the best quarterback rating all-time in the fourth quarter.
When you add 34,183 yards (Cowboys record) and 248 touchdowns it makes Romo’s case very strong.
Romo has built a reputation over the last few years as one of the best analysts in the business alongside Jim Nantz for CBS Sports. Ware also mentioned how Romo is viewed through the media could also help his case.
“Especially with his image now in the media, being a big-time guy on television. So, he is the perfect candidate for it,” Ware said. “To also promote the Hall of Fame classes and stuff, so it makes sense. … I don’t know exactly what the criteria is, but going off those two sets of parameters, yes and no.”
Since Ware being such a dominant pass rusher during his career it was only right that the name of DeMarcus Lawrence came up. Like any other player that rushes off the edge, Lawrence needs the pieces around him upfront to do their part as well. Ware talked about what Lawrence’s role is coming off the left side, and what others around him need to be to help make him successful.
“You know the thing is, like, everybody has their role, Ware said. “And what they do, right? You got the speed guy. You got the power guy. Inside you got the anchor. And then you have just a beast, right? Demarcus Lawrence needs to be that beast on that left side because he’s going against that right tackle and is right in that quarterback’s face. When you talk about adding guys to the roster, you’ve got to add that anchor.”
The Cowboys tried to add an anchor last offseason but it didn’t materialize the way they wanted it to. They signed veteran defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, but the former suffered a quadricep injury in August and got released, while the latter was off the roster by October due to poor performance and weight issues according to the team’s owner Jerry Jones.
Although he had an up and down rookie campaign, Neville Gallimore providing some promise on the interior in 2020 with his combination of speed and power. Also, the return of Randy Gregory gave the Cowboys another threat to get after the quarterback from the edge opposite Lawrence. He registered 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 10 games.
Even though Gallimore and Gregory can cause havoc upfront, Ware didn’t see the anchor in the middle in 2020 that the Cowboys defensive line needs and stated that’s what his former team should add so that Lawrence and others can produce at high levels.
“I didn’t see the anchor last season, the guy where you see him and know he’s a run stopper,” Ware said. “Because they got the ball ran on them a lot this season. But, that run stopper is also a push-the-pocket guy. The only thing they do is put their hands on the dude in the middle, take two guys and just push them back to the quarterback so guys like Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith can get around the outside. That’s what I would add into the Cowboys defensive line. Where is that anchor guy? At the end of the day, on first and second down, he eats. But on third and fourth? Those outside guys do what they need to do.”
The Cowboys will have a chance to add a dominant presence on the interior of the defensive line in April’s NFL draft. Alabama’s Christian Barmore, Florida State’s Marvin Wilson, North Carolina State’s Alim McNeill, and LSU’s Tyler Shelvin are names to watch in that regard.