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October 31, 2012

Danny McCray gets his chance to prove he is more than special teams wiz

Barry Church got a new deal out of three starts at strong safety. He signed a four-year extension worth $12.4 million, including $3.9 million guaranteed, despite tearing his Achilles' tendon against the Bucs in Week 3. His replacement, Danny McCray, now gets his chance to prove he's worth a new deal.

McCray, who is in the final year of a three-year deal with a base of $490,000 this season, has started the past four games. He has 21 tackles and two passes defensed in those four games, while giving up eight catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns, according to STATS, Inc.

"He’s done a good job, and I think he has a lot of those same traits that Barry Church has," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "That special teams mentality that continues to grow. He’s shown us he can play on defense both as a run defender and I think he’s shown us week in and week out that he can be a very competent pass defender as well. So it’s good to see him play and grow over the course of the reps he’s been getting."

McCray played 57 of 60 defensive plays in Sunday's loss to the Giants. He also played 18 special teams plays. That was the hardest part for McCray in getting used to starting. The Cowboys have reduced his special teams role from four units to two, even though he is their best special teams player.

"I am more comfortable [on defense] than the start," McCray said. "Game by game, it’s getting there. I'm a little bit more relaxed, kind of getting a little more feel game by game."

-- Charean Williams 

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