As the Dallas Cowboys get back into the swing of training camp and the ins and outs of Rob Ryan's defense, one thing that clearly stands out is the youth and inexperience of the Cowboys' safeties. With the Cowboys relaxed approach to free agency and talented teams in the Eagles and Giants, the Cowboys could be in some trouble if they don't sign someone soon.
The most glaring position is at safety where the Cowboys have Barry Church, Andrew Sendejo, Danny McCray, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Brian McCann. Church, McCray and McCann have the most experience as they played toward the end of the season last year as injuries piled up. Sendejo played in just one game last year after seeing time in the UFL and Owusu-Ansah spent most of last season on injured reserve.
Gerald Sensabaugh, who has spent the last two years with Dallas, hasn't signed with anyone yet and could lower his demands for a bigger contract because of that. Sensabaugh averaged 68.5 tackles per season in his two years with Dallas and was in charge of lining up the DBs during his time there.
The Cowboys are also in talks with Abram Elam, who spent the last two years with Ryan in Cleveland, and played with Dallas in 2006. Elam excelled in Ryan's defense averaging 81.5 tackles during his time in Cleveland.
Although there are other guys on the market besides those two, most of them don't have the potential that the Cowboys second-year safeties have. If they don't sign Sensabaugh or Elam the Cowboys will most likely stick with the guys they have now.
The Cowboys could also use some help on the defensive line. While they re-signed Marcus Spears and already have Jay Ratliff, the rest of the bunch is either inexperienced or coming off a bad season.
Igor Olshansky has yet to produce since taking over for Chris Canty two years ago (although Canty hasn't been the same player since he left Dallas either). Kenyon Coleman isn't an every-down defensive end and no one knows what the Cowboys will get out of rookie Clifton Gathers.
With the Eagles signing Cullen Jenkins, the rest of the field looks bad with guys such as Andre Carter, Antwan Odom and Raheem Brock being the biggest names on the market. However the Cowboys are in talks at this moment to bring back Jason Hatcher with a three-year deal.
The Cowboys are still talking to free agents and won't be afraid to sign one once the price is right. However, when you combine their lack of aggression to get some outside help once they got under the cap, with the free agents that signed around the NFC, the Cowboys are on the outside looking in.
That means there's no time for growing pains and rookie mistakes; those need happen in camp and need to be dealt with by the time the season starts. With that said, an experienced, proven safety to help the secondary, along with a young defensive lineman could help a great deal.