The Dallas Cowboys special teams had a terrible run the last few years under Jason Garrett. Once Rich Bisaccia left for the then Oakland Raiders, things started to go south in Dallas. Inconsistent kicking after Dan Bailey was let go was just the most visible part of a unit that was hurting the Cowboys.
All of that was supposed to change once the new coaching staff was in place. Mike McCarthy hired John Fassel, long considered one of the best special teams coaches in the league. Bones, as Fassel is known, may yet make the Cowboys special teams unit a positive for the team, but through the first few weeks of the 2020 season, a miracle onside kick is not enough to lift a failing unit.
It all started in the first week of the season when kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a field goal. In a game the Cowboys lost 20-17, those three points were important. Last week the amazing watermelon onside kick overshadowed shoddy execution on a couple of fake punts and Tony Pollard deciding to return some kickoffs from inside the endzone.
Against the Seahawks, things bottomed out. The Cowboys missed two extra points. One was off the upright, the other was blocked when no one blocked the Seattle edge rusher. Tony Pollard gifted the Seahawks a couple of points when he inexplicably decided again to try and return a kick that would have been a touchback, instead he fumbled it and recovered just outside the Cowboys goal line. One play later, the Cowboys were caught in a safety. Those four points could have come in handy at the end of the game when they had to go for a desperation touchdown instead of a tying field goal.
The Cowboys have covered kicks better this year, and punter Chris Jones has improved somewhat. CeeDee Lamb provides a threat as a punt returner. But in the overall analysis, even with the miracle against Atlanta at the end, the special teams unit has been a disappointment.
Through two weeks, Football Outsiders had the Cowboys special teams DVOA at 22nd in the league. This week will not help that ranking.
John Fassel needs to hurry up and get control over a unit that is once again costing the Cowboys in games.