There is one consistent name you’ll see when reading about the Dallas Cowboys most underrated players, Sean Lissemore. There is good reason for the love of Lissemore, I think he is a good player who will get even better this year. There is no doubt that Lissemore will make an impact on the Cowboys moving forward. However, I believe there is another name that is rarely brought up but should be mentioned much more often and that name is Barry Church.
Church is an undrafted safety from the University of Toledo who plays a number of roles for the Cowboys. He has the ability to play both free and strong safety, along with being a core member of the Cowboys special teams units. Church is one of those “role” players that every team has that often goes unnoticed but can play a big part in the success of your team.
For the Cowboys, the biggest reason Church is an integral part of the defense is because of his size and athleticism. At 6-2, 220 lbs. he is the Cowboys biggest, most athletic safety they have. His size plays the biggest part in how the Cowboys use him; especially in a defense that is becoming far more frequent in today’s NFL, the “Big Nickel.” The Big Nickel utilizes a safety as a safety/linebacker hybrid in the front seven of a defense and the Cowboys used it almost as much as any team in the league last year. The purpose is for the safety to be strong in run support and athletic enough to match-up with a tight end in coverage. You need a physical player who has the strength and athleticism to play the position. The Cowboys have those traits in Barry Church and they rely on him in their Big Nickel package.
If you put it in basketball terms, think Dennis Rodman. His specialty was rebounding and we all know how important rebounding is to the game of basketball. Rodman was the best in the league at it which helped the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls win NBA titles. The Big Nickel is becoming that important in the NFL. You need versatile players that can play the Big Nickel and play it well. Barry Church plays it well in Dallas, just how well he plays it may determine how good the Cowboys defense can be this season.
So if you are looking for an unsung hero this season, where do you usually go on Sundays? You go to Church.