Projecting Barry Church in 2013
I love the way safety Barry Church fits into Monte Kiffin’s defense and I think he’s poised for a big year. At Dallas News, I projected his 2013 stats.
Prior to the 2012 season, Church led all Cowboys defenders by making a tackle on 10.5 percent of his snaps in the previous two years. At 6-1, 222 pounds, he’s always showed promise as a run defender. Church’s perceived weakness has been in coverage; on 15 targets prior to the 2012 season, Church allowed 12 completions.
Although he saw limited playing time before getting injured last year, Church showed improvement in the passing game. He looked more fluid, even in a defensive scheme that didn’t really complement his skill set. Church allowed only three completions on seven attempts, yielding 30 total yards (4.29 YPA).
Most important, Church is going to play in the box a whole lot in 2013. Everyone thinks Kiffin runs solely Cover 2, but that’s not the case. We’ll see some Cover 2 elements from Dallas this year, but the defense will likely play a whole lot more Cover 3. In that coverage, the two cornerbacks and free safety play deep, while the strong safety—Church—plays an underneath zone. That’s where he’s going to flourish, playing the “Kam Chancellor” role for Kiffin. Plus, don’t forget that the defensive coordinator has experience getting the most out of large safeties; John Lynch was nearly the exact same size as Church.
What I Like
Church is quicker than you might think. Although he doesn’t possess great straight-line speed, he actually recorded a 4.17 short shuttle heading into the draft a few years ago—an outstanding time for someone his size. Playing underneath, Church has the potential to thrive in this defense.
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