Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox had started 29 of 32 games in 2014 and 2015, but he has been relegated to a reserve role with the rise of Byron Jones at safety this season.
But Wilcox finds himself back in a starting role with Barry Church fracturing his right arm during Sunday night’s game at Philadelphia. Church is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, owner Jerry Jones said, and Wilcox is the next man in line.
“It’s some big shoes to fill,” Wilcox said. “I’m excited for the opportunity and I’ll make the most of it.”
Wilcox hasn’t started a game this season, but has made an impact in the opportunities he’s gotten. He ranks 10th on the team with 20 tackles, has defended three passes and forced a fumble.
Wilcox has handled the demotion from the starting lineup as well as possible.
“Stuff could have went a lot worse,” Wilcox said. “I could be out of the league now, could be with a different team, I could have been on three or four different teams. So I’ve been blessed to be in the situation I’m in now. That’s how I take this opportunity.
“You have to stay positive for what you can do and what you can control.”
Wilcox dismissed the notion that this opportunity could bode well for him in a contract year as well. He is set to become a free agent after the season, and could showcase his skills while Church is sidelined.
“It’s not about me,” Wilcox said. “It’s about this team. Just keep winning.”