Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The 2008 Dallas Cowboys - They put the "I" in "Team" - Special Teams

We're going to take some time this week and breakdown the 2008 Cowboys...just what the hell happened? Offense Monday. Defense yesterday. Special Teams on today. Coaches on Thursday. Front Office on Friday.


Kicker

The review

Nick Folk is a solid field goal kicker. I don't think anyone is going to argue that. He's seemingly come through when the Cowboys needed him, and he has been able to nail home kicks at crucial (and useless) points in games. That being said, he can't kickoff to save his life. I think the Cowboys were one of the worst in opponent starting field position simply because opponents averages 21 or so yards on kick returns, and they'd catch it on the 9 or 10 yard line. Folk didn't kick one touchback all season. Shit.

What to do?

In Jerry's mind, kickers are a dime a dozen. I wouldn't be surprised if you see a new kicker in town either a) to outright take the job from Folk or b) just to be the placekicker on kickoffs.


Punter

The review

The Cowboys have one of the best punters in the league in Matt McBriar. Only problem was, he broke his foot in the Arizona game on the jailbreak punt block that, for lack of a better point, ended the season. In stepped Sam Polescu. Polescu was a serviceable punter, but given the way the offense played this year, the Cowboys HAD to play the field position game and defense to win...Polescu wasn't good enough for this team. Period.

What to do?

Pray that McBriar's foot heals properly and he can get back to form. That's pretty much all one can hope for.


Kick coverage

The review

If there was anything that was more maddening to watch than Tony Romo's seemingly Marinovich like season, was the Cowboys special teams attempt to cover kicks. It's very rare that fans are afraid every time the other team's returned gets the ball, but that was the case this year. Bobby Carpenter, Tashard Choice, Trey Battle? Kind of makes you wonder what Bill Bates is up to these days. Yes, Keith Davis returned from his stint in Miami, but he got injured and was't able to be the special teams captain and stud he normally is.

What to do?

Well, they fired Bruce Reed, so they're on the right track. Remember, special teams is filled with your second and third teamers, so special team is ALL about coaching. Look for the return of Coach Joe...and I'm not kidding when I type that.


Kick returns

The review

Things were abuzz all offseason in this role. Felix Jones and Pacman Jones. The Jones Boys. Hey! Pacman caught 8 balls at once! Did you see that?? What happened? Felix Jones goes on IR, Pacman Jones gets suspended. Patrick Crayton and Isaiah Stanbeck returne to the field as the kick returner. Well, bully for you Cowboys, bully for you. We can all agree the Pacman experiment was a bad one. We can also agree that Felix Jones is a gamebreaker when he's healthy.

What to do?

Hope Felix Jones has the stamina to make it all season. Install Patrick Crayton as a permanent kick returner and give up on Isaiah Stanbeck or go draft a new speedy kid to be that guy. What's Woody Dantzler up to these days?


Overall

The review

This was one of, if not the, weakest element of the Cowboys this season and it was pretty painful to watch. McBriar's injury, Jones's injury and the inepititude of coverage all contributed to opponents having great field position when the Cowboys needed to play that field position game all year long.

Bright spots: Trey Battle

Low lights: Injuries, Pacman Jones

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