METAIRIE, La. — When April 20 rolled around and the NFL officially released its schedule, Jermon Bushrod looked for one date and one date only – the Dallas game.
Then he saw it. Thanksgiving Day and nationally televised.
And then he knew when the questions would have to be asked about his sub-par performance against Dallas in the 2009 season.
“I’ve been anticipating it probably since I saw that it was on the schedule,” Bushrod joked. “I knew that this was going to be a big week. I’m not going to dwell on the outcome. I’ve just got to continue to fight and stay hungry.”
The truth is, Bushrod wasn’t alone in having a bad game against the Cowboys that December night. But his play was highlighted because he went up against DeMarcus Ware, who was supposedly too injured to play after suffering a neck injury the week prior.
Ware did play and wreaked havoc on the Saints’ offense, going through Bushrod to finish with two sacks, three quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, including one by Drew Brees that ended the Saints chances of a come-back win.
Ware wasn’t expecting to play, either.
“I was surprised in that going into the game I didn’t think I was going to play at all and going out there, I felt really good about the situation, but the thing is going out there and having a good game,” Ware said.
This time, there’s no doubting Ware will play. Bushrod knows what’s about to blow his way.
“He’s pretty much the total package when you look at a pass rusher,” Bushrod said. “No weaknesses. You’ve just got to play within yourself and play within the scheme I guess you could say.”
You’ll get no argument from those who follow the league. In five and a half seasons, Ware has amasses 73 sacks, including 8 ½ this season. He hasn’t missed a game and has 395 total tackles, 19 passes defensed, and an interception.
For Bushrod, it could be a chance at redemption. He doesn’t look at it that way, though. Instead, he’s just trying to get better each week and not worry about last season’s game against Dallas.
“You just take the positives and try to fix the negatives on past experiences against this team,” Bushrod said. “That’s all you can really do. You can’t dwell on the outcome because obviously it wasn’t in my favor or in my team’s favor.
“You’ve got to take what was good out of it and learn from the mistakes.”
And this time, he’s ready for Ware.
“I know a guy like that, he’s going to bring it play and play out,” Bushrod said. “I don’t expect anything less of him. I’m going to fight and give it everything I have.”