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John Fassel may have to put up a fight in order to keep his top special teams performers

Special teams matters too, until they don’t.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Special teams matter too, or so they tell us. Although there are three phases of the game, special teams generally takes a backseat to offense and defense as it pertains to putting together the 53-man roster. That puts special teams coordinators in a tough position year after year, and the Dallas Cowboys own John Fassel is no exception.

Ever since Mike McCarthy took over as the head coach a few years ago, the Cowboys have placed a higher priority on special teams, which is why they went out and hired one of the best coordinators in John Fassel. The Cowboys have seen a boost in production in this area since both of their arrivals in 2020, but there is still much more room for improvement.

Unfortunately, as things stand right now, John Fassel’s job of putting together a formidable group for his different special teams units may be tougher than it has been at any point in his career since arriving in Dallas. There is a very real possibility he could be losing some, if not most, of his top special teams performers this year.


Cowboys’ top special teams performers from 2021

  • Luke Gifford (75.10%)
  • C.J. Goodwin (67.76%)
  • Corey Clement (61.02%)
  • Nahshon Wright (52.04%)
  • Jeremy Sprinkle (51.63%)
  • Malik Turner (48.57%)
  • Noah Brown (36.53%)

If you’re a fan of crunching numbers and trying to figure out who will make the Cowboys final 53-man roster, then you may have already discovered how difficult it is to find a spot for nearly all of the players mentioned above. Due to the positions they play and where they currently fall on the depth chart, nearly all of them are on the roster bubble.

Both Luke Gifford and C.J. Goodwin, arguably John Fassel’s best special teams players, are the most likely to be in jeopardy of not making the final roster. Because of the depth at both LB and CB, and the capital recently invested in each position, they could lose their jobs to younger, cheaper prospects. The same could even be said of Jeremy Sprinkle.

All three of these players have been retained over the last few years due to their special teams ability, but that is in jeopardy this year. They are all currently on the bubble and it could take some serious pleading on the behalf of John Fassel to keep them around over some of the other younger, cheaper options.

In the case of Nahshon Wright and Noah Brown, their roster spots look to be pretty secure. Wright was a third-round draft pick just a year ago and has the makings of becoming one of the best special teamer’s for the Cowboys this season. Brown, on the other hand, looks like he could be playing a more prominent role on offense in 2022.

In the end, it looks like John Fassel will have to find some other players to step up if he does end up losing some of his top special teams performers when the final cuts are made. This is nothing new to him, but if he wants to make his job a little easier he may have to put up a fight to hopefully keep some of the players he wants. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

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