Ware: ‘No big difference’ in switching to 4-3 defense

DeMarcus Ware said last month that he wasn’t 100 percent but he was “good enough to play” if there was a game the next day. The Dallas Cowboys defensive end did not participate in team drills during organized team activities or mini-camp because he was recovering from January shoulder surgery.

Ware recently told USA Today’s Chris Strauss that he’s back to 100 percent.

That means Ware should be a full participant when training camp begins on Sunday.

When asked what the Cowboys’ biggest challenge will be entering the 2013 season, Ware pointed to consistency.

“[We need to] be able to week in and week out do the same thing,” Ware said. “Not having the ups and downs in certain games. You’re going to have some adversity but being consistent is one thing we’ve been harping on. On defense, getting more turnovers and giving [Tony] Romo back the ball as many times as we can because we know he can be effective with it.”

The Cowboys are hoping a switch to a 4-3 scheme will lead to more turnovers on the defensive end. Dallas forced 16 turnovers in 2012, only three teams finished with fewer.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment going from Rob Ryan’s alignment to the system being implemented by Monte Kiffin is that Ware is moving from outside linebacker to a defensive end. Some think it will be a difficult transition. Ware says he doesn’t see it that way.

“I think people are overplaying it,” Ware recently told Yahoo.com’s Doug Farrar. “I mean, you’re going to have adjustments going from a 3-4 to a 4-3, but there aren’t as many moving parts with your linebackers, so it’s a little easier playing a 4-3. I’m still playing outside contain and rushing the passer, and now, I’m just putting my hand in the dirt. I mean, there’s really no big difference — there may be for some of the interior guys and the linebackers, but going from outside linebacker to defensive end, you’re doing the same thing.”

Ware battled through injuries last season but he didn’t miss a start, finishing with 11.5 sacks, his lowest total over the last three seasons. With Ware no longer dropping into coverage in Kiffin’s scheme, his sack numbers could increase back to his 2011 (19.5) and 2008 (20) totals.

Ware is 19th in NFL history with 111 career sacks and he’s the second-fastest player to 100 sacks, behind only Reggie White.

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota