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December 17, 2012

Ware calls this the "closest" team he's played on in Dallas, credits that bond for December surge

The secret to December success for this Cowboys’ team, in the estimation of linebacker DeMarcus Ware, rests with the better chemistry within the locker room.

“This is the closest team I’ve been on in any year I’ve been here. And I’ve been here eight years,” said Ware, who has watched this team climb to 8-6 _ and grab a share of first place in the NFC East standings _ with a 3-0 start to the December schedule. “It’s about how all 11 guys get together, play together with that passion and intensity and do the right things. That’s what we’ve been doing and, this December, it’s been a whole different team.”

And a whole different story. Dallas, with a combined December mark of 26-39 over the past 15 seasons (including this one), already is guaranteed of its first winning record in this month since 2001. In many ways, Ware said the team’s high number of injuries has helped facilitate the camaraderie.

“You’ve got six starters that are out on defense. And you’ve got guys who have taken their spots, who have filled their roles,” Ware said. “It’s really not about the name on the back of the jersey.”

Ware played Sunday with a hyperextended elbow, as well as other ailments. Cowboys’ coaches limited his snaps, particularly in run situations, but Ware said he will be ready to go Sunday against New Orleans.

“I feel good enough to play next week,” Ware said. “I’ve got bumps and bruises, here and there. Elbow, wrist, shoulder. Whatever it is, I’ve just got to get out there and play and do the best I can.”

_ Jimmy Burch

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