Backup strong safety Barry Church said he has the full range of motion back in his right shoulder, too late to do much in the voluntary offseason workouts but just in time for OTAs.
“I thought I was always going to have limited range of motion, so I was frustrated watching everybody else out there,” he said last week at the Cowboys’ sponsor appreciation golf tournament. “I got back in the weight room, the training staff got me right. Now I’m ready to go. Having that full range of motion is key, especially at the safety position.”
Church missed the last three games last year after hurting his shoulder in the December home game against the New York Giants. He had hurt the shoulder earlier in the year also.
Church, at 6-2 and 220 pounds, is a physical player, and he says that can help him in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme.
“The safeties are going to have a big role in the run game this year,” he said. “I don’t have a specific hole to fill, but if anything leaks out, if anything bounces, we’re supposed to be those guys to be there, downhill.”
The shoulder injury interrupted a year in which the third-year safety, undrafted out of Toledo in 2010, was starting to earn the trust of the coaches. Now he has to start over and make a new impression on a new secondary coach, Jerome Henderson.
But he’s shooting big.
“Hopefully a starting role, that’s what my goal is going into this year,” he said. “If not that, then as close as I can be to the starter. Be in the rotation a lot and try to improve our defense as a whole.”
One thing that will help him and the other safeties is the play of the cornerbacks. The drafting of Morris Claiborne has Church optimistic.
“Claiborne is a great athlete,” he said. “He’s going to be able to lock down a lot of the main receivers out there. And we also have Brandon Carr out there, who’s an outstanding veteran. He’s going to be able to lock down everything. We’re going to have a great secondary this year. Definitely going to be an improvement from last year.”
-- Carlos Mendez