Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cowboys expect new safety to help pass defense


CARROLLTON -- For Dallas Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh, the team's minicamp was an adjustment period as he learns to play in the 3-4 defense for the first time.

"It's a challenge," he says. "There is always a challenge no matter where you're playing or what you're doing. I'm just giving my best effort and go out there and execute my assignments and make a lot of plays."

Sensabaugh, who played four years for the Jacksonville Jaguars, takes over the position previously held by Roy Williams. He gives the Cowboys something they didn't have last year, a safety with superior speed.

"You know he can matchup, he can play corner-type coverage, so anytime they split somebody out and we want to play man to man, we'll continue to do that," said Cowboys head coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. "Whereas before, we either had to play man and give our safety some help, or go to some kind of zone where we could cover up for him."

Sensabaugh says he's not trying to follow Williams or create a competition between him and the former Cowboys safety. But there is no question the position needed a serious upgrade.

"I'm not here to answer questions about Roy. Roy was a great safety. I'm just here to play, and make my own name," he said. "They just basically told me they want me to cover. That was one of the big issues. They wanted to make sure I can cover in space by myself. So I've really been working on that and doing a pretty good job. I'm used to it."

"He's a player," says cornerback Terence Newman, "you don't even need to go to nickel with him. He can cover any receiver out there so, having him is a great addition and I think he's definitely going to help us out and make us better."

Sensabaugh signed a one year contract, a low risk move that has the potential to pay a high dividend.