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Monday, June 10, 2013
Cowboys could start to sort out safeties

By Dan Graziano

The Dallas Cowboys are one of three NFC East teams that will hold minicamp this week, along with the Redskins and the Giants. (The Eagles had theirs last week.) Calvin Watkins has a "What to Watch For" on the Cowboys' minicamp, and he addresses a few of the things on which he'll be keeping an eye on for us as I head down to see the Redskins and Ohm hangs out with the Giants.

I think the safety position is the most interesting to watch for the Cowboys this week and in the coming months, because there's some recent history that shows they're open to significant offseason movement at that spot. Last year at this time, veteran Brodney Pool was projected as a starting safety along with Gerald Sensabaugh. But Barry Church had an impressive offseason, beginning around this time, that showed he grasped the defense and made Pool expendable.

Church is now one of the projected starters for this season, and Sensabaugh is gone. And while veteran Will Allen isn't necessarily a sure bet to go the way of Pool, the Cowboys would like to see 2012 fourth-round pick Matt Johnson show as well this offseason as Church did last. Johnson has received nothing but praise from the Cowboys' coaching staff and administration for his playmaking abilities, but he also has never played in an NFL game, as injuries kept him out for his entire rookie season. The Cowboys think he's going to be a good NFL safety, but at this point they really can't know what they have. That's why Allen is on the roster, but surely they'd be open-minded to making Johnson a starter if he shows he can stay healthy and handle the responsibility in the coming months.

Anyway, as I said, I'll be keeping tabs on these other camps as I cover the Redskins this week, and we'll see what Calvin and the gang see.