As Dallas Cowboys fans have seen in the first two preseason games, this defense will be in for a long year. The main reason because of that is the absence of Sean Lee. Because of the ACL injury Lee suffered in OTAs, the Cowboys will be relying on inexperienced players like Anthony Hitchens and DeVonte Holloman to fill the important middle linebacker position. Although it may sound completely crazy, the Cowboys should give Barry Church the chance to play the position.
Although the Cowboys’ defense was horrid in 2013, one of the few bright spots was Church, who finished the year with 135 tackles. Church would’ve likely broken out the year before, but he suffered an achilles injury in Week 1 which kept him out of the remainder of the 2012 season. Church is the perfect epitome of a strong safety. He isn’t the best in the coverage aspect of the game, but he does a great job at coming up and making plays around the line of scrimmage. One defensive player who has been playing very well in the preseason is seventh round draft pick Ahmad Dixon. Like Church, Dixon excels against the run, but he needs coaching against the pass. With that knowledge, the Cowboys should move Church to the linebacker position and Dixon to the starting strong safety position.
Moving Church to the middle linebacker position would be quite risky, but the Cowboys have a glaring hole at arguably the most important position on the defensive side of the ball. Church is instinctive and he does a great job reading offenses. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli needs to be unique this year for this ragtag group of players to gel. Church has the makings to be a solid linebacker in Lee’s absence.