IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.
As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.
With 44 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the health issues at safety:
42) How Much Will The Cowboys Get From Church?
The answer is hopefully more than injuries allowed Barry Church to contribute in 2012.
Of course, health is a concern for the entire safety corps. Matt Johnson also missed all of 2012 with injuries, and veterans Will Allen and Danny McCray spent parts of offseason OTAs sidelined with tweaks and pulls.
Church might be the one the Cowboys have the highest hopes for in the back of the defense, however. He's been a constant in the first team defensive lineup since offseason work began, and that comes after an impressive training camp last summer when he wrested the starting job away from the competition.
As is well known by now, Church made just three starts before his season was shut down – he managed just six tackles in that time span. The Cowboys missed 29 combined starts between two potential starters in Church and Johnson, leaving Gerald Sensabaugh and Danny McCray to make due. [embedded_ad]
It's asking a lot these days for an NFL player to make 16 of 16 starts – the norm seems to be at least a couple of missed weeks with scrapes and bruises and whatnot. That needs to be the goal for Church. Dallas now has a 10-year veteran in Will Allen, but Church is one of the most veteran players in this organization's defense. He also seems like the best overall player among the seven or so safeties currently on the roster.
The Cowboys showed the amount of faith they have in him by extending his contract despite a season-ending injury. Now they need to hope he can repay that with not just production, but more importantly, durability.
Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 42:
- Randy Hughes, a fellow safety, wore No. 42 in Dallas for six seasons from 1975-1980. Hughes was drafted in the fourth round out of Oklahoma. He only made two starts in his career, but he appeared in 77 games and managed a respectable nine interceptions despite not starting.
- 42 points is the Cowboys record for points in one half, which they racked up in a 49-14 beating of Philadelphia on Oct. 19, 1969.
- The Cowboys and Giants combined for a staggering 42 points in just the second quarter of a Dec. 16, 1962 game. The Giants wound up winning, 41-31.
- The Cowboys selected Kevin Burnett 42nd overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. He never amount to much for Dallas, starting just four games. But he started 23 games in two seasons in San Diego, and he became a full-time starter in two seasons with Miami, amassing 100-plus tackle seasons in 2011 and 2012. He is currently with the Raiders.