Matt Ware on Defensive Rules and Fines: Offense Sells Tickets

LBS spoke with Arizona Cardinals DB and former UCLA safety Matt Ware at a recent screening of The Wooden Effect. We talked about how Matt’s been spending his time during the lockout, how his offseason workouts have been going, and we asked for his thoughts on the Kerry Rhodes-Rex Ryan mini-feud. We also got to find out from Matt if Adrian Wilson is as much of a beast in the gym as this video suggests.

In the second half of the interview, we talked about some of the rule changes in the NFL (fining teams for illegal hits) that had the Steelers saying the NFL is going soft. While the changes are nice, Matt says the problem is things happen on the field so quickly it’s hard to avoid certain hits. He also said he understands why the league is protecting its offensive stars. Here’s our interview:

Talking about the defensive changes, Ware said “I like the improvements, but at the same time some of the stuff happens so fast you can’t think about it — you just react. If you’re sitting there lining someone up from 20 yards [away] then that’s one thing, but if it’s a bang-bang play, that’s going to continue to happen because guys are moving so fast.”

We agree, and we’ve said just as much, and that’s part of what makes the rules unfair. These are split-second decisions that defensive players can’t think about, otherwise they won’t be doing their jobs well.

On the rules skewing towards high-octane offenses, Ware said “Offense sells tickets. People don’t want to come watch games that are going to be 3-0.”

Again, he’s right on with that point. But it’s not just the tickets, it’s the overall business of the NFL that demands offense. You don’t get millions of people playing fantasy football and billions of dollars in TV deals with 3-0 games, as he pointed out. That’s just another obstacle defensive players are facing, and it’s really hard when you get flagged for touching quarterbacks like Tom Brady.

Agent Explains Reasons Matt Ware Kept Diabetes Diagnosis Private

Earlier this month, Arizona Cardinals safety Matt Ware received the 33rd annual Ed Block Courage Award. Ware received the award not just for the courage it took to overcome multiple knee injuries in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but also because he overcame his March 2009 diabetes diagnosis.

Learning that Ware had diabetes was a surprise for most media members and fans because unlike other players (Jay Cutler for instance), there was no public knowledge of Ware’s diagnosis. His agent, JR Rickert, explained to LBS it was kept that way for two reasons.

Rickert said that Ware wanted to keep the news private because he was not comfortable letting the public know about a personal medical issue. Secondly, as Rickert explained “there are some conditions that guys have that essentially have little to no impact on the field, so you don’t want to create a question where there really isn’t a question.”

Rickert cited ADD as a similar condition that could be negatively perceived by teams, but is really insignificant. “As long as they’re dealing with it and overcoming it, I’m not sure you want to share that with a club if they don’t know it already because that is a guy’s right to deal with it anyway he sees fit,” he reasoned.

Ware signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in 2008, re-signed for one year in 2010, and is now a free agent.