3. Is there cause for concern on special teams?
You might as well hit all three phases of the game. This one has actually gone under the radar this offseason. The Cowboys re-signed CB C.J Goodwin, but they let go of long-time long snapper L.P Ladouceur and long-time punter Chris Jones. Normally special teams signings and departures go under the radar, but the penciled-in special teams unit of four years ago now looks a lot different in 2021.
Four years ago, the ‘no doubt about it’ group for the Cowboys was the special teams unit. Fans always knew it would be kicker Dan Bailey, punter Chris Jones and Ladouceur snapping the ball on Sundays. Now, it is newly signed long snapper Jake McQuaid from the Los Angeles Rams, kicker Greg Zuerlein and a punter competition between Hunter Niswander and Bryan Anger, formally of the Houston Texans.
Special teams coordinator John “Bones” Fassel is one of the most respected special teams coaches in the league. However, he and McCarthy made some questionable calls last season that cost the Cowboys key drives and games. There were bright spots like the onside kick against the Atlanta Falcons and the trick play against the Pittsburgh Steelers for all of the head-scratching plays.
Training camp is where teams clean up their fundamentals and perfect their craft. It’s possible Zuerlein and McQuaid can capture some of their old Los Angeles Ram’s chemistry, and maybe Anger and Niswander can create a healthy competition to give Dallas the best punter possible. All of these special questions will be answered when training camp starts on July 22.