Dallas Cowboys punter Chris Jones has been a major factor in the team’s victories this season earning the extension he signed last month.
Often times when you think about team success in the NFL, it’s focused on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball. And when special teams are mentioned, flashes of game-winning field goals are often the first things we imagine.
The 28-year old is well into his sixth season in Dallas. And it might turn out to be his best. Jones has punted a total of 16 times this season. 62.5% of those punts have been downed behind the opponents 20-yard line. Five of those punts have been returned, but only at an average of 5.0 yards per.
In the Cowboys two wins this season, Jones’ punts have been a key factor in Dallas being able to secure those victories. Following his punts in Week One, the New York Giants’ average field position was at their own 9-yard line.
Against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, their offense’s average field position following one of Jones’ punts was their 20-yard line. But three of his seven punts were down on or behind the 10-yard line.
The point here is that Jones flips the field deep consistently, giving opposing offenses much longer fields to face against Dallas’ young, but surging defense. And apparently the veteran punter is doing so at a historic pace.
"“Now in his sixth season, [Jones has] downed 41.1% of his 299 career punts inside-the-20, the highest percentage in Cowboys’ history and the HIGHEST AMONG ALL NFL PUNTERS SINCE THE STAT STARTED BEING TRACKED IN 1976,” wrote Kristi Scales for the Dallas Morning News."
Chris Jones’ consistency as a punter is just one of the reasons why the Dallas Cowboys opted to sign him to a four-year, $8.7 million extension last month. Combined with Pro Bowlers in kicker Dan Bailey and long snapper L.P. LaDouceur, Dallas possesses one of the top special teams units in all of football. And their play absolutely impacts the win/loss column.