Recently, the Dallas Cowboys have had a good run of finding bottom-of-the-roster players and developing them into serviceable and even starting caliber players.
I don’t know if it’s good luck or if it’s the scouting department doing a remarkable job, but whatever it is; it’s working. Take starting safety Barry Church, for example.
In 2010, the Cowboys brought Church in as an un-drafted free agent; no one could have guessed that two years later he’d be a starter, but that’s exactly what happened. There were some who thought Church could have been a Day 1 starter in 2011, but the Cowboys went with free agent acquisition Abe Elam because of his familiarity with, then defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan’s defensive scheme.
Church didn’t let that bother him. Instead, he continued to prove his worth on special teams and sub-packages as a safety-linebacker hybrid, where he showed flashes of what he could do on the field, and in 2012, he became a starter.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Church tore his Achilles in the third game of the 2012 season and missed the remaining 13 games. Fast-forward to 2013 and the Cowboys are back at OTAs and minicamp, and Church, well he’s right back to where he left off.
Church has looked good in practice according to Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com and has also gone on the record as saying that he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to make the best of his opportunity. What the Cowboys want to see in training camp is that Church truly is healthy and see what, if any, effect that torn Achilles is going to have on his style of play.
Not knocking Danny McCray, who filled in for Church last season, but if the Cowboys have to rely on him once again as the starting safety, it’s going to be a long season.