Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
As we discussed earlier in the blog cycle, former Cowboys outside linebacker Greg Ellis made the startling revelation Wednesday that All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware actually tried to "hide" on the sideline in some games so that Ellis could receive more playing time. This raised several questions in my head, such as where's the best hiding spot on the sideline for the league's top pass-rusher and who on the staff is in charge of finding Ware when he's attempting to hide from Wade Phillips?
Fortunately for us, Ware appeared on SIRIUS NFL Radio's "The Opening Drive" with Bob Papa and Randy Cross this morning. And Papa and Cross quickly asked him whether there was any truth to Ellis' hide-and-seek story -- as told on the Dallas radio affiliate, ESPN 103.3. Here's the transcript of Ware's response courtesy of the good folks at "The Opening Drive."
Bob Papa: "I want to get your thoughts on what [Greg] Ellis said yesterday, saying that you would sub out so he could get on the field.”
DeMarcus Ware: "You know, on the concept of hydration, I think I was probably going off the field maybe to get hydrated [laughs]. But I think that everybody at the end of the day got ample amount of time and I went back and looked at a lot of the things, and I, what, played in like 95 percent of the plays? And, you know, maybe sometimes guys rush better against certain guys, so I don't know. I don't know what the deal is, but at the end of the day, I did what I can do to help the team out last year.”
Papa: "Give the fans – because fans are going to read the story in the Dallas Morning News and some people heard the interview – I want you to give the fans the real perspective of what it's like during the course of a game as far as how it goes when you need to take a blow and you kind of come out of the game and you know who's coming in for you. Maybe just to kind of clear it up because I can see how this thing – it's already a headline – I want to give you the opportunity to explain to the fans how the dynamic works during the course of a game.”
Ware: "I mean, so if you think about, if you're out there playing what, nine or 10 plays, you're going full speed, you're giving it your all, and all of a sudden your body gets fatigued and you really can't go anymore, but you have this next guy that's maybe the second-string guy or whatever that comes in that's going to do better than you can do in three plays. So would you rather have a player that's out there just trying to give it his all and he's not doing anything, you get a touchdown scored on you because the guy's tired, or would you rather want to give that guy two or three plays off and so when he comes back in there, he's getting sacks, he's making those big plays to get the offense back the ball? And that's the main thing: you gotta have that rotation. I think we had that rotation last year. So you gotta rotate guys in and out to make sure everybody's fresh and everything goes really clean and clear.”
Randy Cross: "We try to tell fans, especially Cowboy fans on a regular basis, because I can see where they would perceive the comments Greg made as sort of a swipe at the coaches. But so often, the coaches get kind of rolled under the proverbial bus because of what happens on the field, but the ultimate responsibility in a lot of ways, don't you think, DeMarcus, is, and whether you're talking about hydration, whether you're talking off-season training, no matter what it is, and it goes down to also the performance of a team on the field, ultimately it's the players' responsibility, isn't it?”
Ware: "Yeah, and that's the same thing like I was saying like sometimes guys, if you leave it up to the players, they're like, 'OK, I don't want to go out any plays. I want to try to make every play.' But a team player is going to say, 'OK, I'm tired right now. I can't give you anything else. Could you put this guy in?' And this next guy is going to come in here and he's going to make the plays that I should be making at full steam ahead or whatever. So I just think that then once you go back in there, you're fresh, you're fresh and you're back going again. So you gotta have that rest throughout the whole game. Got to.”
So we didn't really get a confirmation or a denial from Ware -- and who could blame him? If Ware really was ducking behind Flozell Adams to help Ellis get some plays, I'm sure he doesn't want the coaches to know. In all honesty, it sounds like Ware was simply trying to get a breather. Now, Ellis can interpret that however he chooses. I'll make a call to a defensive assistant today and see if he ever had trouble locating Ware on the sideline.
You'd think coaches would have a pretty good idea of where their 20-sack pass-rusher is standing. But I could be wrong. Are you guys enjoying this saga? Should I move onto something else like Twittering?
Oh and by the way, my Thursday column is actually running on Friday this week. I know many of you schedule your weeks around the column, so I wanted to get that out there. Thanks again for your constant support -- especially in the comments section.