<
>

Alan Ball is still learning at safety position

It's amazing when you think about it, but free safety Alan Ball hasn't been that much different at the position than when Ken Hamlin was here last year.

When the Cowboys released Hamlin, the organizational line was that Ball was more athletic and could create turnovers by attacking the ball.

Secondary coach Dave Campo said Ball is still learning and he needs to make more plays on the ball.

It's not happening.

Ball is a converted corner, and while one might think he could be able to cover tight ends and maybe some wide receivers, it hasn't happened yet.

"It's something I need to do," Ball said in terms of making plays on the ball. "It's a little bit of everything, me just getting better."

On the year, Ball has one pass breakup, one forced fumble and no interceptions.

At times, it seems Ball is reacting late to plays and spending more time watching the backfield -- especially on play action -- than the watching receivers.

"I'm a safety now and I guess I still have a lot to learn," he said. "I'm still growing, the season is going on, I'm playing and learning at the same time. I'm still approaching the ball as I'm learning."

You have to wonder if Ball has a future here. The Cowboys have two rookie safeties, Danny McCray and Barry Church, who could see more playing if the season gets out of hand.

Church said he hasn't received any first-team reps in practice this past week, but he got some fourth-quarter snaps in last week's loss to Jacksonville.