clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys Offseason 2015: Did The Cowboys Improve? (Safety Edition)

Did the Cowboys improve at Safety this offseason?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our look at where the Cowboys may have found improvement from last season until now, we shift focus to the defensive side of the ball. Let's take a look at the back end and work our way forward.

2014: Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, C.J. Spillman, Jakar Hamilton
2015: Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Danny McCray

(Of course Byron Jones may be a consideration here, but we'll stick with the safeties listed on the roster for now and deal with Jones when we get to the cornerbacks.)

SS1- Barry Church

Just a solid player for this team and also a good locker room presence. When looking at the safety position for the Cowboys, the presumption is they will have a better pass rush this season. Church is not All-World by any means, but you could certainly be worse off at the position. He is a willing tackler and has been outstanding in helping this defense stop the run. He's another Romo-esque story of a guy who had low expectations and made the most of it. For some time now, Church has been a very solid contributor.. PFF had him at +2.1 for the season, but again these numbers can be skewed a bit considering the Cowboys' defensive backs were having to do way too much. Church is the least of my worries heading into training camp.

FS1- J.J. Wilcox

People tend to forget that Wilcox is just now entering his fourth year in the position. When Dallas drafted him, he had but a year's experience playing safety. There is a lot of things he's learning on the fly. Wilcox has had flashes of brilliance and moments that are quite head-scratching. He's a thumper, which can be amazing to watch when he is in the position to make the play. He's got a knack and focus to haul in a few picks, but he tends to take poor angles at times. Nonetheless, Wilcox isn't exactly in the column of a guy you must replace. The only issue that most can point out is that he's a better fit to play strong safety than free. Now with Byron Jones on the team, we will see if they will keep him at corner or let him compete with Wilcox.

SS/FS 2- Jeff Heath

We seem to be many days removed from the time where Heath was starting games. As much as he was made into the scapegoat for those times, in spot-duty Heath has not been bad. He's a very solid contributor to the special teams unit and is a decent tackler. The Cowboys like the effort that they get from him and believe that in a pinch he is a better option than many would believe. He's also got some good versatility that the coaching staff loves. Though Heath doesn't look to be an heir-apparent starter some day, he's good for the role he currently holds.

SS- Danny McCray

Spillman was on a one-year deal and the Cowboys have moved on. However, the familiar face that is McCray will be roaming the special teams unit once again. McCray was always very solid on special teams and will help spell the loss that was the Cowboys' Swiss-army knife in Dwayne Harris. McCray is a good tackler and like Heath should never see extended duty, but fits a role for this team at a cheap price.

My take: Unless we're discussing the versatility of some corners like Byron Jones and Corey White; this position is practically the same as last season. The only true improvement would be if the pass rush holds their end than this unit should look pretty good. Dallas has some undrafted talent there in Ray Vinopal and Tim Scott on the roster, however it's unlikely either is anything more than a practice squad player.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys