In six practices since the Cowboys arrived in Oxnard, Calif., Church recorded two interceptions, four pass breakups and a quarterback hurry while taking every first-team snap at safety. If Dez Bryant has been the most impressive offensive player, then a case could be made that Church has been the most impressive defender.
When the Cowboys signed Church out of Toledo following the 2010 draft, they weren’t too sure what they were getting. He was a “box” safety, playing him close to the line of scrimmage, but he's made coaches take notice from his very first mini-camp.
He has risen up the ranks from special-teamer to substitution package player on defense in 2011 to apparent starter in 2012.
"Barry Church is one of those guys that a lot of teams have that you bring him in as an undrafted free agent and you think, 'Boy, he's a little better than we thought he was,'" coach Jason Garrett said last week. "He makes an impact, he is going to be a special teams player, and then you say, 'He probably can't do a lot on defense, but, hey, we put him in there, and he did a nice job.’ Then you give him the next thing, and he kind of over-delivers over and over again. I think that has a lot to do with the kind of kid he is."
And now he’s the starter.