Besides the firing of Scott Linehan earlier this offseason, the Cowboys did make another coaching change when they let go of Doug Colman who was an assistant special teams coach. Today, they filled that open position with Carlos Polk.
Carlos Polk will join the Cowboys as an assistant special teams coach, replacing Doug Colman. Polk had a seven-year career in the NFL as a linebacker, including one season with the Cowboys (2008). He was a coaching intern with the Cowboys for a summer after his career ended. He served as the assistant special teams coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2014-18.
The Cowboys could certainly use some help on special teams. Tavon Austin provided a spark on the punt return unit when he returned after a long absence from injury, but without him the unit was stagnant. They ranked 31st on punt returns in the regular season. The kickoff coverage team was bad, allowing plenty of long returns. They allowed the second-most yardage on average on kickoff returns in 2018. The kickoff return team was also in the lower half of the league, ranking 20th.
Brett Maher wasn’t awful, but he did have stretches where he slumped. He ended up making 80% of his field goals. Punter Chris Jones declined in almost all phases of the punting game. His punt average ranked 25th and his net average was 22nd. All of this combined to make the Cowboys one of the poorer special teams in the league.
Keith O’Quinn returns as the lead coach on special teams, but maybe Carlos Polk can create some juice in the third phase of the game. Tampa Bay’s return games, though, were not great in 2018 either, but their coverage teams, especially on kickoffs, were good.