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Top Position Battles: Safety

One of the positions the Cowboys had questions about heading into the season was free safety. With the release of Ken Hamlin in the offseason, the Cowboys decided to roll the dice on converted cornerback Alan Ball. Ball, and last year’s starting strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh, were figured to be the starters week 1 against Washington. But, there have been plenty of surprises at both safety positions in camp. With the amount of players vying for a roster spot, it was being compared to wide receiver, just without the proven capability.

Things have not gone smoothly for the Cowboys at the safety position this preseason. They have suffered injuries to fifth-year man Pat Watkins and fourth round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah keeping them out of most of training camp so far. Ansah made his debut against the Chargers and did not stand out in a good, or bad, way. The worst news may have come on Saturday when Sensabaugh went down with a shoulder injury. He will be out for at least 3 weeks with a shoulder subluxation. Mike Hamlin, who missed a couple of weeks with a concussion and was being groomed at free safety, will replace him against Houston and possibly until he returns.

There have been some good standouts at the position so far this preseason. Barry Church and Danny McCray have both played strongly in their appearances in the preseason games, and have held their own on the practice field. Where the Cowboys had many questions about depth, it seems now they have even more trying to figure out where to place these guys. They have all proven they can play, now they just need to prove they are worthy of sticking around.

Depth Chart:

1) Alan Ball – Given the free safety spot in the spring. Just needs to be careful not to lose it.

2) Gerald Sensabaugh – When healthy, will start at the strong position.

3) Mike Hamlin – Has looked good in camp and could find himself starting week one.

4) Pat Watkins – If he cannot get on the field and stand out, he will be gone in favor of the younger, cheaper players.

5) Barry Church – Plays well at strong safety. Strong play so far has the coaches questioning.

6) Danny McCray – Has proven to be valuable at both spots. Been a very pleasant surprise in camp so far.

7) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah – Has not had a lot of time, but the Cowboys like his potential so he will stick around during the season.

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