IRVING -- Standing underneath a sign that says, "Champions Finish", the Cowboys' best player was talking about expectations.
DeMarcus Ware knows there are expectations when it comes to the Cowboys, but coach Jason Garrett has underplayed them. There was no talk this summer about the Cowboys going to the playoffs or winning a Super Bowl.
All around Valley Ranch you see signs the Cowboys were once a big deal in the NFL. Pictures of Super Bowl rings and title games, and more pictures of the logos of the five Super Bowls the Cowboys have won.
This organization is a big deal in terms of marketing and the power of owner Jerry Jones, but the on-the-field product recently hasn't been very good.
A 6-10 season in which the coach was fired sparked numerous changes this offseason. There will be at least seven new starters opening night when the Cowboys visit the New York Jets and of course the roster changeover will have at least 19 new faces.
Ware understands more NFL experts will talk about Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago as potential contenders in the NFC.
"I think right now, we're the underestimated [team]," he said. "Not underrated. We got good guys, it's just [people] saying, They're not going to do nothing. They're underachievers,' or whatever they want to call it."
In his time with the Cowboys, Ware has won two division titles, one playoff game, and seen his coach get fired. He's also played with two different outside pass rusher to compliment him in Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer. With Spencer unable to consistency get to the quarterback, it's forced Ware to fight through constant double-teams and chip blocks on his way to the quarterback. He's led the NFL in sacks twice, including last season with 15.5.
There is this perception that as good as Ware is, his team has underachieved badly.
"It doesn't even bother me at all because I look at it this way: This is what I do [play at an elite level]," Ware said. "I'm going to have to do it regardless."