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Instant Debate

When comparing Ware to Romo, OLB more valuable than QB?

The players ranked DeMarcus Ware 12th on "The Top 100: Players of 2011" list, 60 spots ahead of Tony Romo. Which player is more important to the Cowboys?

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Ware, and it isn't even debatable

Is this really something that can be debated? Is there someone out there who said Romo? Ware is the best in the world at what he does. Compare his sack totals since 2005 with, say, Dwight Freeney, and there is no comparison.

  <table align="right" width="315px"> 
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  </table> Ware is a freak-of-nature-type guy. I had him in my top-10 list and didn't think there would be many who would dispute that. Romo might be somewhere around the 12-15 range at his position, and with all the talent on that roster I believe a number of quarterbacks would prosper in Dallas.  

Until Romo gets it done in the postseason and eliminates the kind of key turnovers and blunders that have haunted him at times, then I'm not sure the questions about his consistency and leadership will go away.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Pressure is on Romo to perform and lead

No player is more important that the quarterback. I love Ware, and he is one of the 10 best players in the NFL -- and Romo is not. Frankly, the fact that Romo was recognized as a top-75 player after missing most of last season was a surprise.

However, Ware had 15.5 sacks last season and Dallas still won just six games.

Dallas didn't do much before Romo went down with a broken collarbone, but it's difficult to say the losses were solely on his shoulders. He could have been better, that's for sure. Still, the Cowboys aren't headed anywhere unless they get solid quarterback play.

That's why this season is so important for Romo. If he doesn't take the next step forward, then he could -- and maybe should -- be gone. Ware is going to make his plays no matter what. He's that special. But if the quarterback play -- and leadership from Romo -- aren't better, Ware could have 20-plus sacks and the Cowboys could still miss the playoffs.

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  • Pat Kirwan
  • Even with Ware's dominance, it's Romo

The rankings tell you what's wrong with the Cowboys, or what's wrong with the list. Ware can lead the NFL in sacks all he wants, but until it's Romo who leads the team to the Super Bowl the team isn't going to the big dance. The quarterback is more important than a pass rusher. Romo needs a big season. He only played in six games last year, but if he played all 16 and Ware only played six, the team would have had a better record.

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  • Bucky Brooks
  • It's Romo who drives Cowboys

Ware is a great player, but Romo is the most important player on the Cowboys' roster. Teams are driven by quarterback play, and the Cowboys are no different. When Romo is on his game, the Cowboys light up the scoreboard and have little trouble defeating even elite teams. He has a 39-22 (.639) regular-season record and has completing more than 64 percent of his passes with 118 touchdowns against 62 interceptions for a solid 95.5 passer rating during his seven-year career. Those numbers rank on par with some of the best quarterbacks in the game, and suggest that he is on the cusp of joining the ranks of the elite.

Now, I'm fully aware of Romo's postseason struggles, which have led to questions about his leadership and big game poise. But those issues are part of a natural maturing process that most quarterbacks experience. Eventually, he will find a way to perform well in those games and it will serve as the catalyst to a deep postseason run.

The Cowboys have all of the pieces in place to become a world champion in the near future, but it will be the play of their quarterback that will take them there.

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  • Adam Rank
  • Bennett knows what's up

I'll let Martellus Bennett make the argument here: The Cowboys didn't lose a step when Jon Kitna took over in 2010. And you might argue -- as Bennett did -- that the offense even was better. There is some truth to that, and in terms of this debate there is no dilemma on who is more important to the Cowboys.

Simply put, the Cowboys would have a harder time replacing Ware, who might be the best defensive player in the NFL right now, than Romo. Unless there is a shortage of quarterbacks who are good enough to get their team to the playoffs but then do nothing when they get there.

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  • Dave Dameshek
  • It's Ware, of course

Gimme Ware over Romo. Over the past five seasons, Ware has been the NFL's best pass rusher, and it's hard to imagine he'll be any less dominant in Rob Ryan's attacking defense this year.

Over the better part of that same half-decade, Romo has put up some big stats but only has one playoff victory. That's just not good enough for a guy playing the most important position on the field, especially in an era when most QBs get maybe half a season to prove their value.

It'd be one thing if Jerry's kids leaned on the running game and needed only a steady game manager at quarterback. But Jason Garrett likes slingin' it, which Romo has done quite successfully against the league's weak sisters during the regular season. Come December and playoff time, though, the jury is in: Romo isn't the answer.

I just hope my opinion won't stand in the way of Mrs. Romo setting me up with one of her friends.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • Romo, but only because he's QB

Romo is more important to the Cowboys, but only because he's the quarterback. This question really gets to the core of the dilemma of "The Top 100."

Quarterback is the most important position on the field, so even though Ware is the best player at his position, he can't be as important as Romo. That's why ranking a top-100 list is so difficult.

For example, Aaron Rodgers ranked 11th on the list, just above Ware at No. 12. Rodgers isn't the best quarterback in the league, while Ware is the best pass-rushing linebacker. But because of the value of the positions there isn't a huge uproar about where they landed. Either way, Romo is the triggerman on a vertical passing offense, a unit that needs a passer who thinks quickly and can make the intermediate throws. Not to mention he handles the ball on every snap. Because of that, a really good QB like Romo is always going to be more integral to a team's Super Bowl hopes than a great linebacker like Ware. Only in the rarest exceptions -- like the 1986 Giants with NFL MVP Lawrence Taylor -- does this not hold true.

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