Best Cowboys special teams weapon may be – SURPRISE – this guy…

(Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
(Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images) /

As we assess the Dallas Cowboys roster we discuss who may just be the biggest weapon on special teams and this candidate may surprise you.

When you think of special teams weapons, who typically comes to mind? Is it the punt returner? Maybe it’s the kick returner? It might even be the kicker. But very rarely can a case be made the top weapon is the punter. For the Dallas Cowboys, it may just be that guy.

Punter Chris Jones is an underrated weapon on the Dallas Cowboys. The 28-year-old seven-year vet has flown under the radar most of his career. At 6’0” 205lbs, he’s not the flashiest looking punter in the league. But he may be the most feared…

Chris Jones (aka “The Puntisher”)made a name for himself when in 2016, he leveled Detroit Lions returner, Andre Roberts, on national television.

It was here “The Puntisher” nickname was born and from here Jones’ cult following began. Chris Jones was good before that hit, there’s no question. But it was at that point he started to be seen as a weapon.

Now Chris Jones is never going to be big enough, strong enough, or ferocious enough to be actually feared as a hitter. In fact, if you really slow down his signature hit, you can see Kyle Wilber brought the force of the hit, teeing Roberts up, and allowing The Puntisher to deliver the direction-changing death knell.

Even accepting there was an assist involved, that hit is every bit as awesome as it seemed on first view. Jones also proved he was undeniably athletic on the play. Considering most punters are only an injury away from losing their jobs, Jones showed the heart of a lion, aggressively pursuing the tackle in the first place.

Jones’ aggressiveness and athleticism were put to the test in other ways. In 2016 he also took a fake punt over 20-yards downfield for a first down. He did so without the awkwardness typically associated with a punter executing a trick play.

Last season, Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys went to the well again with Jones -This time in a critical situation of the season’s most critical game.

It was late in the season the Cowboys found themselves in the midst of a must-win winter campaign. Facing off against Oakland, with the game tied up late into the 3rd quarter, Dallas shocked everyone. On 4th and 11, inside their own 20-yard-line, the Dallas Cowboys faked a punt and sent Chris Jones hauling.

Jones didn’t just run a straight line – he read the field, hit the hole, and picked his angle. He understood what it took and how to get there. The play possibly saved the Cowboys season because Jeff Heath’s goal line hit never would have happened hadn’t Jones made his amazing play first.

And lest we forget, Chris Jones is also mighty fine at that whole “punting” thing. Last season he dropped 34 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line. That’s second best in the NFL, and the only guy to beat him, Sam Koch, had nearly 20 more opportunities than Jones.

It’s also worth noting, in Jones’ seven year career, he’s never out-punted his coverage to the point a punt was returned for touchdown. In other words, in 349 career punts, Jones has not allowed a single touchdown.

You can go out there and find a punter who can punt the ball father, sure. But you’re not going to find a guy who kicks it as far as Jones does without EVER over-kicking his coverage. And you’re probably not going to find someone who can drop inside the 20 like Jones either. You’re also aren’t going to find a guy who can run it like him to save a season, or lay the wood like he does and ignite the fan base.


Chris Jones is special like that.

Now, it’s hard to seriously sell the idea a punter could even qualify as a weapon. But even if Bailey was still on the roster, Jones is the better player. All-time standings aside, the past two seasons Dan Bailey is only a shade over 80 percent on his FGs – which is slightly below NFL average. Besides, Jones has some all-time records himself. He’s #1 all-time in percentage of punts downed inside the 20 (42.12%).

Adding Tavon Austin complicates things as well. The return-man extraordinaire averages over 3 punt return TDs per season. But aren’t all returners and kickers inherently a “weapon”. It’s Chris Jones who’s taking a passive act and turning it into something else. All kickers get points. All returners get yards. But not all punters can pin opponents consistently within the 20. Not all make tackles. And very few collect first downs as a ball carrier.  Chris Jones adds something most punters cannot. That’s why he’s so special and that’s why he’s my pick for the Cowboys top special teams’ weapon.

Next. 5 outsider misconceptions about the Cowboys. dark

L.P. Ladouceur may be the best long snapper that ever lived. And outside of Cowboys writer, Dan Ruppert, not many people take the time to acknowledge his perfection. But The Puntisher deserves his own shout out for the flavor he brings to this team. He may not get the press that kickers and returners do, but he’s every bit as dangerous and possibly even more unique to his profession.

  • Published on 09/02/2018 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 09/03/2018 at 16:07 PM