There is no denying that special teams was a huge issue for the Dallas Cowboys last year. That is why so many people are excited about the hire of John Fassel to run that group. When it comes to special teams there are a number of intricacies and details that aren’t visible to the naked eye, but the most apparent thing often tends to be how successful kickers are since points are what matters most in the game.
The other foot involved in special teams belongs to the punter, and while the Dallas Cowboys boasted a bit of an underrated one in Chris Jones recently, the reality is that he has been somewhat disappointing over the last few seasons.
Just how disappointing has Jones been? What his status entering 2020?
ESPN named Chris Jones as the Dallas Cowboys veteran “on the bubble”
The four-letter network released a list of veterans that are on the bubble for every NFL team as things stand in mid-July, and there are many people who would have guessed that Tyrone Crawford would have been the Dallas Cowboys nominee. Think again!
Chris Jones has perhaps just as quietly drifted from one end of the spectrum to the other as he did to the top of the pyramid to begin with, but people are catching on. Here’s what the worldwide leader had to say.
A lot of folks would put veteran defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford in this spot, in part because of his $8 million salary, but Crawford is more valuable than people understand. That a punter is the pick speaks to the youth on the roster and maybe the talent, too. Jones struggled last season, averaging 41.6 yards per attempt because of injury. It was a near 3-yard drop over his worst full season with the team, in 2013. The Cowboys have not created a competition for Jones, but if he gets off to a slow start in training camp, they could look elsewhere. Jones, however, is a great athlete and can do some things new special-teams coordinator John Fassel did with Johnny Hekker on the Rams. — Todd Archer
Our own Danny Phantom speculated whether Chris Jones could be on-the-bubble entering last year. It ended up that Brett Maher was ultimately the one who didn’t make it through the season and overall the team has really struggled on special teams in both obvious and not-so-obvious ways.
It is true that Chris Jones is a solid athlete. You might remember his fake punts both against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 and against the Oakland Raiders in 2017. He can move and John Fassel has gotten creative with that position before.
Perhaps John Fassel is exactly what Chris Jones needs to find the form that made him stellar once before. With no real threat to his roster spot the Cowboys are likely going to roll with him this season as he has been a team captain before as well, so most hope rests on the new coordinator at making him serviceable.