ESPN.com NFC East blogger Matt Mosley said in an entry yesterday that the Cowboys made the right decision in drafting Ware over Merriman.
Of course being a Cowboys fan I agree with his assessment, but the only way to truly find out is to simply break down the numbers.
Shawne Merriman, better known as “Lights Out,” was drafted by the Chargers out of Maryland 5 years ago. So far he has amassed an impressive total of 39.5 sacks, his career high coming in 2006 when he notched 17.
That was also the same year that Merriman tested positive for steroids and missed four games, dashing any hopes of breaking the all time sack record.
Delving deeper into Merriman’s stats, in 2007 he had an imposing six sacks in the month of December. If you can recall, that’s the year that the Chargers went to the AFC Championship to face the Patriots.
Shawne had an ok showing in the playoffs that season where he totaled 13 tackles and one sack. However he did have a game or two where he had four or five tackles where he wasn’t really noticeable.
Within the AFC, Merriman does his best work against the Kansas City Chiefs where he sacked their main signal caller four times and had 16 tackles in 2007.
Shawne missed all of last season with a knee injury, which will probably take him at least a season and a half to fully recover from. Will his sack totals decrease due to lack of burst off the line?
Shawne has never had over 70 tackles in a season, so will his tackle total suffer as well?
At first look it seems as if the Chargers were right in their choice. Merriman has a motor that never quits and gives 110% on the field.
However there is a cloud of deceit around his true abilities. Did the steroids contribute to the 17 sacks or was it just pure strength and skill?
Moving on to DeMarcus Ware.
He was drafted the same year as Merriman out of Troy in southeast Alabama.
Ware had his best statistical output last year as he had 20 sacks, 84 tackles, and 6 forced fumbles. He also had 84 tackles in 2004 coupled with 14 sacks.
Ware has more career sacks than Shawne with 53. But to Ware’s advantage, Merriman was injured all of last season.
DeMarcus seems to do his best work against the Giants of New York. Last season he had 12 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
Ware also remains consistent as the game progresses. Like Merriman he has 6 sacks in the fourth quarter, but Ware has more tackles than Shawne during the final period amassing 17.
Another situational stat shows that Ware has 3 sacks on 3rd and long, forcing the team opposing into an obvious 4th and long situation.
Merriman on the other hand had no sacks and only 1 tackle on 3rd and long in 2007.
Comparing these two players is like appraising the abilities of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The thing about Jordan and Johnson is that there is one player that is better than the other. You know the one with 6 championship rings?
Well, that’s kind of like Ware and Merriman without any rings between the two.
Over and above Ware just seems to be the better overall player. He tackles, shows up in crucial situations, and had 20 sacks through an injury riddled season.
Both players will prove to be great by the end of their career. But at this moment in time, who would you choose? The player with the knee injury or the guy with 20 sacks?
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Though Promising, We Need To Relax About Safety Kavon Frazier
With the addition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to the Cowboys' defensive coaching staff, fans are hoping that Dallas will create their own "Legion of Boom." Of course this is a lofty goal, but one worth pursuing nonetheless.
If the Cowboys are to recreate the Legion of Boom they will need their version of two vital pieces: Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks defense works, in many ways, because of these two players. Thomas' ability to play centerfield and literally defend sideline to sideline gives the Seahawks the freedom to use Chancellor where he's best, as a box safety. Chancellor is a big, physical safety who defends the run effectively in the box and can blanket tight ends in man coverage with his size and athleticism.
These safeties are arguably the most critical pieces to the Legion of Boom, though having a shutdown corner in Richard Sherman certainly doesn't hurt.
Realizing Chancellor's importance, Cowboys fans are hoping that current safety Kavon Frazier can fulfill this role in Dallas. Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 Frazier has made his home on Special Teams. As an impressive tackler in both punt and kick coverage, Frazier earned himself time at safety down the stretch of the 2017 season.
All in all, Frazier played rather well. Against the Washington Redskins he stepped in and made a few splash plays at the line of scrimmage, causing Cowboys Nation to lose their minds. After that impressive Thursday night game, however, Kavon Frazier didn't really reach that same level of performance.
Frazier is still a liability when asked to cover, especially when asked to play as a two deep safety. He also struggles when taking angles at times, though playing downhill as a tackler is his best attribute. Frazier actually reminds me a bit of Barry Church, though over time Church became more refined in coverage than Frazier currently is.
Some have argued that Kavon Frazier's presence should stop the Cowboys from considering a first round safety. I would disagree, and actually believe that if Florida State's Derwin James is available, the Cowboys should consider making that pick.
If you could combine the athleticism and coverage abilities of Byron Jones with the physicality and "box safety" qualities of Kavon Frazier, you'd have a fantastic safety. Unfortunately, this isn't the Marvel Universe and we are left without any super heroes in the back-end.
Hopefully Kris Richard will figure out how to correctly place all of these pieces in the Dallas Cowboys secondary going forward.
Maverick Carter: LeBron James Considered Cowboys During NBA Lockout
Maverick Carter is a pretty important man in the world of sports. As a business man, entrepreneur, and manager of one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James, Maverick Carter is certainly used to making headlines.
This week, while on former NFL running back Arian Foster's podcast "Now What? with Arian Foster," Carter claimed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once attempted to negotiate a contract with LeBron James.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, Carter claims that Jones contacted LeBron James and discussed bringing him in as a Cowboy while the NBA was without games.
"Jerry Jones, being the smart marketer he is...one day out of the clear blue sky LeBron got a contract I think it was for like one year, a couple million bucks to play for the Dallas Cowboys." - Maverick Carter.
Carter then states that LeBron may have the paperwork framed in his house to remember these discussions with Jerry Jones. LeBron's fandom for the Cowboys has been well documented, as has been his high school football prowess.
We may never know how "real" these discussions were, and of course it is long over now, but just imagining LeBron James getting a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys would break the internet.
You can check out the full episode of the podcast here, and I highly suggest listening to the other episodes Arian Foster has to offer.
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
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