In his first year starting at free safety, Alan Ball took a lot of blame for the Cowboys' poor defensive performance in 2010, but the team believes he'll be a better player for them in 2011, sliding back to his more natural position, cornerback.
Abram Elam should upgrade the safety position, and because of his playing experience, size and athleticism, Ball provides solid depth as the fourth cornerback, which he's fine with.
"That's part of the NFL, knowing your role," Ball said. "And I know my role. Right now it's going to be coming in in certain packages. And if somebody goes down, which I don't think is going to happen, I'll have to be able to go in and fill my role. So it's part of the game. It's one of the things I've been doing since my first year, just being available and being ready. So I expect that the carry over into this year."
As the saying goes, you can never have to many cornerbacks. As of Wednesday, there was a thought Ball could be starting against New York because Jerry Jones all but ruled out Terence Newman, and Mike Jenkins was injured in practice.
Jenkins returned for Thursday's session, and is expected to play, while Newman looked pretty explosive while working with athletic trainers before the practice. Still, Ball is trying to stay ready to go if called upon.
If Newman isn't cleared by Sunday, Ball will be on the field quite a bit.
"I've been through a training camp with some great coaches," Ball said. "It wasn't that hard to bounce back in and catch myself in stride back at corner . . . I definitely feel more comfortable. It's not as much thinking involved. You just get a chance to get out there and play ball and react."