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Answers At Safety, Offensive Line Could Come In FA, Draft


PHOENIX – Change could still be coming at safety and on the offensive line.

Head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday at the NFC Coaches Breakfast that the Cowboys need to be stronger on the offensive line and run the football better, and the way to address that is in free agency and the draft.

That could also be the case at safety.

"You look at the landscape of free agency," Garrett said. "You look at the landscape of the draft and say, 'Hmm. Do we need to create more competition there?' We might. But again, we like a couple of guys we have there."

Garrett's optimistic about his inexperienced group, but he has a player in Barry Church coming off Achilles surgery and another in Matt Johnson who hasn't played an NFL game. Both safeties would be the likely candidates to start if the season began today, but that's putting a lot of faith in two players without much professional action.

"I don't know that you are ever comfortable with any part of your team," Garrett said. "You are always trying to create competition throughout your team."

Garrett said he felt good about the way Church played before the injury, and the former undrafted safety from Toledo took advantage of every opportunity he was given.

It's more difficult to make a judgment on Johnson.

"We actually kept him on the active roster most of the year in hopes that he could come back and be a contributor for us because of what we had seen," Garrett said. "You have that information. You have that knowledge, but you also understand that these guys haven't played a whole lot back there."

The Cowboys don't have much choice but to wait until the NFL Draft for most of their fixes. Money's tight right now, but Garrett said that could change.

"If we are able to redo a couple of contracts and give us a chance to be selective in free agency to address needs there or elsewhere on our team, then you go into the draft and see what you can do with those six picks," he said. [embedded_ad]

Church will need to display the same burst he had in training camp last year, but Garrett seems confident that will happen. Garrett said the team liked everything Johnson showed in his limited time in practice, but he understands the risk of assuming both players can be starters following an injury-packed 2012 season.

"We feel like we need to get better throughout our team," Garrett said. "We feel like we have guys that we have brought into our program that we haven't seen what they can do yet in terms of competing for some those roles. So in the next couple of months we have to make some good decisions both in free agency if that possible and the draft to address a lot of those things."

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