Since 2005, L.P. Ladouceur manned the long-snapping spot for the Dallas Cowboys. After 15 impressive years in the NFL, the Cowboys decided to go in a different direction at long snapper, signing free agent Jake McQuaide.
Along with the departure of Ladouceur, punter Chris Jones has also seen the end of his time in Dallas, after a long career wearing the star. Jones was a reliable piece in the Cowboys special team plans for years, but after some injuries and age, Jones saw his numbers decline drastically over the last few seasons in Dallas.
With familiar faces departing, the Cowboys coaching staff and front office have placed their faith in John Fassel’s hands to find replacement for the long-time Cowboys.
Fassel, the long-time special team coordinator with the Rams, worked closely with McQuaide, the teams new long snapper. McQuaide and Fassel spent time together with the Rams since 2012, and will carry their relationship into Dallas, to replace a long-time fan-favorite in Ladouceur.
The punting position is where things could get a little interesting. The Cowboys have Hunter Niswander still on the roster, who did impress in his eight games with the team in 2020, after taking over for an injured Chris Jones. But the Cowboys didn’t want to hand Niswander the job that easily; the team also signed veteran Bryan Anger in the offseason to compete for the starting punter job, and has had an impressive career in the National Football League.
The team has struggled to get much positive value from special teams for some time. With the defense still likely to struggle in 2021, it’ll be important for these new faces on special teams to help out in the field position battle as much as possible. It wouldn’t hurt to have veteran Greg Zuerlein nail a few more kicks throughout the year, to improve on his 82.9 field goal percentage in 2021.
One way or the other, it’ll be weird to not see the same #91 and #6 out there for the start of the season, but if we don’t notice or talk about the long snapper or punter position, then those guys are filling in just fine.