November 20, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive back Barry Church (42) runs with the ball against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A Case For An Upgrade At Safety


Sixteen. This number represents the total number of turnovers the Dallas Cowboys defense produced in the 2012 season. Sixteen turnovers just happens to be fewest created by a Dallas Cowboys defense in franchise history.  Only two teams had fewer turnovers in 2012. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. It should be noted that both of these teams are are picking in the top five of this year’s draft. The Dallas Cowboys defense also finished tied for last in the league with just seven interceptions.

Free agent acquisition Brandon Carr led the team in picks with three, and no one else had more than one. If the Dallas Cowboys hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in the near future, they are going to need to create more than seven interceptions and 16 total turnovers.

Below is a chart that shows every Dallas Cowboys safety in the last two seasons and the total number of turnovers each player created.

 Cowboys Safeties 2011-2012

Games Played

Forced Fumbles

INT’s

Sacks

Gerald Sensabaugh

31

3

2

0

Barry Church

16

0

0

0

Danny McCray

19

1

1

1

Abe Elam

16

1

0

0

Charlie Peprah

5

0

1

0

Totals

87

5

4

1

 

The Cowboys’ safeties during the 2011 and 2012 seasons snatched four interceptions.  Compare this with the San Francisco 49ers safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner over the same period. The 49ers starting safeties produced 12 INTs.  The next chart is a list of other safeties around the league and how they  fared the last two seasons in terms of take-aways.

Other NFL Safeties 2011-2012

Games Played

Forced Fumbles

INT’s

Sacks

Ed Reed

32

1

7

1

Dashon Goldson

30

2

9

0

Eric Weddle

32

2

10

1

Jarius Byrd

32

7

8

1

Thomas DeCloud

32

0

10

1

Ronde Barber

32

2

7

2

 

There is a belief that an increased pass-rush creates more interceptions when in fact that is not necessarily true.  The Denver Broncos led the league in sacks with 52 and had only 16 total INTs, putting them in the middle of the pack in terms of turnovers.  The Atlanta Falcons finished 28th overall in sacks, but had the 5th most INTs in the league. Will an increased pass-rush help improve Dallas’ 30th ranked defense? Certainly. But in order for the Dallas Cowboys to be successful in 2012 they are going to need better safety play.

Safety is a definite need for Dallas come April’s draft. Barry Church was signed to a four year extension in 2012, even after a torn achilles ended his season. It remains to be seen how he recovers from this potentially devastating injury. The other starter, Gerald Sensabugh is coming off of a year in which he really struggled, and does not appear to be a good fit in Monte Kiffin’s defense that requires speed and playmaking ability in the back end. The front office will need to make a decision on whether to keep him and his high salary. The Cowboys did invest a 4th round pick on Matt Johnson in 2012, but he never played a snap during the season after suffering multiple injuries.

If the 2013 Dallas Cowboys can improve their safety play and create more turnovers, the sky is the limit for a team filled with talent. But in order for their defense to reach their potential, major upgrades are needed at the safety position. 16 total turnovers indicate that these changes need to be made sooner rather than later.

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Barry Church Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys Safeties Featured Gerald Sensabugh

  • TA

    update: every team is full of talent. Most teams will improve on it this year. Let’s hope Dallas does the same

  • Ambria graham

    We need a real Safety for sho Cyprien,Vaccaro,Reid,Elam somebody!

  • 101show

    If we can’t. Gets lsu then we will probably get usc…

  • californy

    I want Phillip Thomas Safety in the third rd, or Duke William Safety in round number 5