Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/9/13
The dust across the Texas prairies had just about settled after the announcement of quarterback Tony Romo's contract extension.For some it made logical sense, tie the man up, make him the cornerstone of everything you stand for.For others it seemed plain ludicrous, the amount of money paid out on a player that has only led his team to one playoff win in his time under center.That debate raged long and hard for a few days, and then to stir the pot a bit more the Cowboys' defensive leader stepped up and fully backed the decision to pay the big bucks out.DeMarcus Ware does most of his talking on the field. This time he chose to publicly state that keeping Romo at the helm was not only the only option but the right one in terms of making Dallas winners again.“I feel like everybody is deserving to whatever is given to him, but at the end of the day, to me it’s put up or shut up. I’m just being straight-up honest with you. Get out there and be productive, and that’s with any player. Whatever they get, they’re deserving of it. You just got to get out there and play and I know he can be and will be the quarterback that is going to be the quarterback that is going to take us to the next level,” he said on Sirius XM's NFL Radio last Thursday.A nice big pat on the back for the offensive leader, from his colleague. Romo will be pleased that some of the flak aimed his way has finally been deflected. Ware has surely now got to shoulder this statement through the season and raise his game at the same time. Yes, he is still the dominant force on the defensive side of the ball and will have to be the first to learn the Monte Kiffin 4-3 system, which should free him up more in his pursuit of the opposing QB.After a stellar 2011, when he recorded 19.5 sacks, he dropped off last year to just 11.5. A healthy total for most pass rushers but this is Ware, and he won't want the trend to continue. He seems to have a breakout year though after a poor one by his standards. In 2008 he dropped the QB a career-high 20 times, after a 14-sack 2007 year, then slumped again in 2009 to have just 11.No doubt he is still one of the premium defensive ends in the game and has 111 sacks to his name in just eight seasons. For the Dallas Cowboys to bring home a winning season (literally, back-to-back 8-8 years don't cut it) then both Ware and the man he has backed so openly need to step up and lead by example in 2013.
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