Alan Ball plans to play aggressively

OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys cut Ken Hamlin in large part because he didn’t make enough plays. They want a safety who gets his hands on the ball.

They believe Alan Ball fits the bill.

Ball, a converted cornerback, has studied active interceptions leader Darren Sharper of the Saints. He wants to emulate the way Sharper uses his eyes and reacts to the ball in the air. Ball thinks he can find the balance between being cautious enough to prevent the big play but aggressive enough to create turnovers.

“You’ve got to just be a little bit more patient back there at the safety position, because you’re the last line of defense,” Ball said. “It’s one of those things where you can use your eyes, and you still have to be aggressive when it’s time to make a play on the ball or a play on the running back or somebody with the ball.”

The key of knowing when to try to strike and when to play it safe will be preparing the week of the game.

“I plan to spend a lot of time in the film room and know who I’m playing against. That’s one of the things that we have to do, just get a feel going ahead of where the ball’s going to be and where it’s coming out. … I just want to make sure I’m around the ball.”