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Rookie Ware shines in Cowboys' win

Dallas Cowboys rookie Demarcus Ware looks ready to be an NFL linebacker.

SEATTLE (Aug. 22, 2005) -- Dallas Cowboys rookie Demarcus Ware looks ready to be an NFL linebacker.

In one half, Ware forced two fumbles, recovered one, had an interception, a sack and three tackles in Dallas' 18-10 preseason victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

"I was a little more comfortable with the defense and what the guys are doing," Ware said. "On a scale of one to 10 I'd say it was an eight."

Jose Cortez was 3-for-3 on field goals, connecting from 44, 37 and 46 yards for Dallas (1-1).

A defensive end at Troy, Ware was the 11th pick in the draft and is making the switch to outside linebacker with the Cowboys, who are moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

He had two tackles last week against Arizona, but made an impact in just two minutes against Seattle (1-1). Still, he received little praise from his coach.

"He got a sack and got an interception. Let me look at the film," Dallas coach Bill Parcells said. "I didn't think he was great, if that's what you want."

On Seattle's first possession, Ware beat Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson, stripped quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and fell on the fumble at the Seattle 33. Cortez then made his first field goal.

Late in the first quarter, Ware showed his ability in pass coverage. After Hasselbeck had connected with tight end Jerramy Stevens on consecutive plays, Ware dived in front of Stevens, corralling the interception. Ware said it was his first interception ever.

"He played hard, played fast, really came off the ball," Hutchinson said of Ware. "I think he's going to be a good player in this league."

Hasselbeck's interception broke a string of 10 straight completions to start the game. Hasselbeck was 12 of 15 for 135 yards, but coach Mike Holmgren found fault with the first half.

"While we did some good things with our first group in the first quarter, we were careless," Holmgren said.

Late in the first half, Ware made perhaps his most athletic play. With reserve quarterback Seneca Wallace scrambling out of the pocket toward open field, Ware dived and jarred the ball from Wallace's right hand, knocking the fumble out of bounds.

"He picked the right time ... to have his best combination of what he can do pressuring the quarterback, but also what he has gained in camp," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "It shows that he's catching on."

Hasselbeck led one scoring drive for Seattle, completing six passes on the 80-yard march. He found second-year receiver D.J. Hackett in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard TD that gave Seattle a 7-3 lead.

"It didn't really feel like we started out well. Most of our drives, by the second play of the drive, it was first-and-15 or first-and-20," Hasselbeck said. "We put ourselves at a disadvantage that way."

Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe was 7 of 11 for 56 yards, playing into the second quarter. Julius Jones had 12 carries for 58 yards, 44 coming on Dallas' lone touchdown drive of the half. Bledsoe threw an 11-yard TD pass to fullback Lousaka Polite with 5:45 left in the second quarter.

Bledsoe was given a little more freedom with the offense this week, and Parcells was pleased with his progress learning the Cowboys' system.

"I thought he did a pretty good job tonight doing what we asked him to do," Parcells said. "We gave him a little more latitude. ... There's a lot of lessons there and hopefully we can go forward."

Dallas played without defensive end Jason Ferguson (ankle) and guard Marco Rivera (hamstring), both free-agent signings.

Seattle's sloppy play continued into the second half. The Cowboys added a safety with 5:40 left, after Seattle quarterback David Greene was pressured by safety Justin Beriault and linebacker Eric Ogbogu, and ran past the end line at the back of the end zone.

Seattle also had a fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Jordan Babineaux called back on a penalty. Seattle finished with 12 penalties for 105 yards.

"As clean as we were against New Orleans, we were that sloppy against Dallas tonight," Holmgren said. "We were just careless. That was kind of how it went."

A week after shining against New Orleans in a 34-15 win, Wallace was constantly pressured by Dallas and was 8-of-20 for 69 yards. Last week, he was 12 of 20 for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Dallas backup Drew Henson didn't fare better, finishing 4 of 10 for 38 yards and an interception.

Rookie running back Marion Barber had 62 yards on 18 carries for Dallas.

Josh Brown had a 36-yard field goal with 12:47 left that pulled Seattle within 16-10.

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