FOXBORO To hear coaches talk up another talented player is a common ritual in all sports.
But to hear Patriots coach Bill Belichick expound with superlative after superlative about Dallas' defensive stud DeMarcus Ware had to make you wonder, just how good is he?
Well, the Patriots found out the hard way that the five-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker is good . . . really good.
Ware's play was huge for a Dallas defense looking to prove itself against a New England offensive attack that has been among the NFL's best all season.
The Cowboys wound up losing, 20-16, but it wasn't Ware's doing. He racked up five tackles (three for a loss), which included a pair of sacks while consistently applying pressure on Brady.
Prior to Sunday's game, Belichick was asked about Ware in relation to Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
"Ware does all the things and he's the best player that we've faced this year," Belichick said. "He does all the things you want him to do. He's strong against the run; he can rush the passer; he's great at pursuit; he's got power; he's got speed; he's got good technique; he's good at pass coverage; he's an asset to your pass coverage if you want to drop him (back into coverage). I can say all those same things about Lawrence Taylor."
Ware's head coach, Jason Garrett, echoed similar sentiments following Sunday's loss.
"He's been an outstanding player for a long time, and he's certainly a guy who is one of the marquee players in this league; not only on our football team," Garrett said.
But what you see on the field, Garrett says, is only a portion of what makes him such a special talent.
"He's a guy that goes about it the right way," Garrett said. "He wants to be great. He works hard in practice to be great. He plays hard every Sunday to be great. He wants to be one of the greats. He certainly has the talent to do that, but more than that, he's approaching it that way. It's great to see."
The rest of the NFL?
Not so much.