DeMarcus Ware: Cowboys need different QB, keep McCarthy for now.

DeMarcus Ware spent 12 seasons wrecking NFL offenses. He now sees a wreck in the making in Dallas, where he played nine of those years and established credentials as a potential Pro Football Hall of Famer.

With Dak Prescott’s finger injury, Mike McCarthy’s underwhelming coaching and a severe imbalance between their offense and defense, Ware is concerned that the Cowboys’ season already is on the brink.

First move? Bring in another quarterback instead of going with untested Cooper Rush.

“The Cowboys should go with Jimmy G,” Ware says of the 49ers’ Jimmy Garappolo. “He’s a guy that can come in and make an impact and also push Dak once he’s back.”

Jimmy G, of course, is San Francisco’s second-string quarterback behind Trey Lance after the team couldn’t trade him and reworked his contract for 2022. Garoppolo barely did any work in the preseason as he comes off right shoulder surgery in the offseason. 

“If not Jimmy, then I would say Andy Dalton,” adds Ware of the veteran quarterback who went 4-5 replacing an injured Prescott in 2020 and now is with the Saints. “If you want to save your season, you need someone to come in and be able to make plays and lead the team. Andy Dalton has done that and he knows the plays.”

McCarthy is currently the favorite to be the first head coach fired at with 3-1 odds, ahead of Carolina’s Matt Rhule (4-1) and Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury (5-1), whose teams also lost on opening weekend. Ware could see McCarthy’s term at the Cowboys’ helm ending prematurely with a losing record for the season, but cites reasons now is not the time to pull the plug.

“If the Cowboys lose eight games, they will get rid of McCarthy,” he says, adding that “there are too many `ifs’ right now to make such a move. The status on the O-Line, Dak’s return, etc. You have to keep something solid. You don’t want to rattle anything else in the system right now.”

Ware, a finalist for the Hall of Fame in this, his first year of eligibility, was the dynamic force on the Dallas defense from 2005-2013 before spending the last three years of his NFL career with Denver. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Broncos. He was a four-time All-Pro, made nine Pro Bowls, and had 138½ career sacks to rank ninth all time.

So he knows defense. And he likes what he sees with the Cowboys, who are led by do-everything linebacker Micah Parsons, the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs.

“Yes, they are a top-five caliber defense because of the talent they have,” he says. “However, they can’t remain that way if the offense can’t score points and the defense ends up being on the field for the majority of the game. If they can’t get breaks that they need between series, they cannot remain a top-five defensive unit.”

Which likely would doom Dallas’ season as much as Dak’s injury.

Barry Wilner was a sports writer for the Associated Press for 46 years, covering the NFL since 1985 and serving as the news organization’s Senior NFL Writer since 2001. He’s attended every Super Bowl since 1987. Wilner now joins the BetOnline editorial staff to deliver expert analyses and picks every week of the NFL season.


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