Gerald Sensabaugh: A “Rare Beacon of Quality in the Cowboys Secondary”?

The returns on Gerald Sensabauch's performance in 2010 have been mixed, though better than the rest of the Dallas secondary.

Before this season began, talk about the Cowboys’ secondary focused largely on the team’s two Pro Bowl corners, the team’s decision to roll with only three corners on its roster, and the emergence of free safety Alan Ball (a converted corner) as a “weapon.”

After 2009, Gerald Sensabaugh was largely considered a decent upgrade over Roy Williams, as Sensabaugh had a solid season despite playing most of it with a broken thumb. The only really big negative in 2009 was Sensabaugh’s failure to see the ball coming on a long touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Sindey Rice in the Cowboys’ playoff loss at Minnesota last year.

In 2010, it’s been a different story. The Dallas safeties rarely seem in the right position to make plays, and I am not the first to complain that Sensabaugh seems somewhat reluctant to stick his nose in to make a tackle even though he is a strong safety. (Richie Whitt after the Giants game in October: “Gerald Sensabaugh has to be the worst-tackling safety in the NFL”).

Sensabaugh has had more than a few run-ins with Ball after the secondary has yet again given up some huge play. Most also haven’t forgotten Sensabaugh’s shoving match with Newman against the Giants in November.

The way I might describe Sensabaugh this year? Disappointing, but probably the least disappointing member of the secondary. This is not saying anything at all.

Anyway, I don’t read Pro Football Focus as often as other sites, but one item about Gerald Sensabaugh from a post this week stood out to me:

It was a shame to see Gerald Sensabaugh (+1.6) leave the game early with an injury, as he may have been on for a career day. Through 18 snaps, Sensabaugh registered a sack, an interception and two defensive stops. Sensabaugh has been a rare beacon of quality in the Cowboys’ secondary this season and that was highlighted by the poor play of his replacement, Barry Church (-4.9).

To his credit, Sensabaugh leads the team in interceptions with four and in passes defended with nine. In fact, Sensabaugh has as many interceptions this season as Newman and Jenkins combined.

Def Interceptions
No. Age G Int ? Yds TD Lng PD
43 Gerald Sensabaugh 27 14 4 26 0 10 9
41 Terence Newman 32 14 3 12 0 30 6
20 Alan Ball 25 14 2 27 0 27 4
50 Sean Lee 24 8 2 44 1 31 2
56 Bradie James 29 14 1 11 0 11 3
51 Keith Brooking 35 14 1 41 0 41 7
21 Mike Jenkins 25 13 1 -4 0 -4 8
32 Orlando Scandrick 25 14 1 40 1 40 8
37 Bryan McCann 23 7 1 101 1 101 1
40 Danny McCray 22 11 1 0 0 0 1
Team Total 25.7 14 17 298 3 101 54
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2010.

So perhaps we could settle for a statement that Sensabaugh has been the only minimally competent member of the secondary this season. Beacon of quality, though, just doesn’t quite ring true.

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