Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant (81) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys free safety Barry Church (42) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking Down the Dallas Cowboys’ Safety Position: Barry Church

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys secondary finished at the very bottom of the NFL in 2013. The Cowboys gave up 27 points per game and 415 yards per game in that very forgettable season. The pass-rush was abysmal, as was the coverage. Cornerbacks played without confidence often playing with poor technique and step behind. Safeties looked lost, overmatched, and out of position to make routine plays.

The Defense needs an overhaul.

The Cowboys are deep into a defensive line rebuild already but absolutely nothing has been done to address the secondary. With high priced CBs Brandon Carr & Orlando Scandrick on the roster already, the secondary already accounts for its share of money. Throw in former first round pick, Morris Claiborne, and you can see the Cowboys have invested a hefty amount.

The next few days we will look at the safeties. With limited money and draft picks invested in the 2 safety positions, it’s easy to see why upgrading here may be in the Cowboys best interests. Let’s start by taking a look at what we have on the roster already.

Today we start with Barry Church


Barry Church


6’1” 218lbs

The anchor of the Cowboys safety unit is Barry Church. Church, the undrafted free agent from Toledo was a priority free agent for the Cowboys following the 2010 NFL Draft. Church was an intriguing playmaker in college but it was unknown how his skills would translate in the NFL.

The Cowboys brought him in based on his physical toughness, nose for the ball, and natural instincts. He was seen as a true SS who would excel in the box but lacked range to play in coverage. Church began flashing plays in training camp from day one, quickly becoming a fan favorite to onlookers.

Church dealt with a couple injuries since joining the Cowboys but played well enough to earn a four year contract extension that runs through 2016. He never developed into a great coverage safety but has become a more complete safety than many thought he could and is no longer seen as a major liability in coverage.

Church will cost the Cowboys $2M, $2.25M, and $3.25M against the cap the next three years. These moderate costs give the Cowboys excellent value at the starting SS position and almost guarantee he will remain on the roster for the entirety of his contract (and possibly beyond).

He’s a better than average safety with a lower than average cost. Players and contracts like that are how successful teams are built.

At age 26 Barry Church is the clear elder statesmen of the position unit and the rock upon that this secondary is built. With Church entrenched at  SS the Cowboys are sure to apply all focus on finding a FS. That FS of the future may be on the team now or may be picked up in the draft.

We continue to look at the Safety position in the coming days to see if the answer may already be residing on the roster.

Next up: J.J. Wilcox

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