The final 10 names on the NFL Network’s list of Top 100 Players of 2012 were revealed last week and Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware landed at No. 6.
Ware, who placed at No. 12 in 2011, said on the unveiling show that, “You’re never happy until you’re No. 1.”
But that doesn’t mean Ware didn’t feel honored to be chosen as the second-highest defender and No. 1 pass rusher.
More importantly to Ware, the list was comprised of voting from fellow NFL players.
Ware, who admitted that he wasn’t following the weekly unveiling, talked about the ranking this weekend while attending a Red Bull 7-on-7 high school football tournament in Dallas.
“It’s all about what your peers think about you,” Ware said. “The outside world can say what they want to say but your peers really let you know where you stand amongst the whole pack. You feel really good about it and it makes you get ready for the season and makes you work a little harder just to stay there.”
Ware was also informed of some praise he recently received from a fellow dominant pass rusher. Earlier this month, Minnesota Vikings All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen told reporters in Minnesota that 25 sacks in a season is possible and he mentioned Ware as someone that could reach that mark.
“With that coming from Jared Allen, who had 22 last year, the sky’s the limit,” Ware responded. “I’ll also flip it back on him, and say, he can do the same thing, and also, Jason Babin. They’re playing really well. But it’s all about how the season goes. If it’s more of a passing season, we’re probably going to have more sacks.”
Ware then looked into a television camera stationed in front of him and said, “Thanks for that, Jared.”
The NFL single-season sack record is 22.5, set by former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan in 2001. Strahan was 30 that season, the same age Ware turns on July 31.
Ware had 19.5 sacks last season and 20 in 2008. Could an improved secondary give him more time to possibly have a career year?
The Cowboys added the top cornerback in the draft, Morris Claiborne, in April and signed arguably the top cornerback in free agency, Brandon Carr, in March. Will those two specifically help his sack total?
“I wouldn’t say help my sack total, I’d say it’s going to help the pressure up front,” Ware said. “A lot of guys are playing really well: Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff. It’s going to give us a little bit more time to get to the quarterback.”
Before reaching 25, Ware would need to become the first player in NFL history to record 20 or more sacks in a single season on two separate occasions. Ware is one of eight players to record 20 or more once but none of those players have repeated that feat.