What could go wrong did go wrong for the Dallas Cowboys’ special teams on Friday night. They had 26-yard field goal blocked. They had a personal foul penalty on punt coverage. They allowed 103 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 51-yarder that almost went for a touchdown. They fumbled a punt return.
“We had a field goal blocked, and we had a turnover in the red zone, fumbled a punt,” new special teams coach Rich Bisaccia said. “Obviously, we didn’t play very well.
“I did a poor job, obviously. We did a poor job. We didn’t cover very good. Turned the ball over and had a field goal blocked. So we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Cowboys, though, are confident they will have good special teams with Bisaccia, who replaces Joe DeCamillis.
“That’s not even a question,” long snapper LP Ladouceur said. “Everywhere he’s been, he’s done really well. I’m not worried about that. He’s going to do well here. We’re going to do well here. Sometimes players we have to step up. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Dan Bailey has had only one field goal blocked in his two seasons. So it was an unusual sound he heard Friday when his kick bounced off Tyvon Branch’s hands.
“I think we just had a lot of pressure from the right side,” Bailey said. “The operation was good as far as our speed, and I thought I hit the ball good, got the ball up. I haven’t actually seen the pictures or the film yet. But it seemed like we had quite a big push on the right side, I don’t know, maybe between the guard and the tight end, somewhere over there.”
It’s safe to say the Cowboys will spend some time working on that this week, one of a handful of mistakes on special teams against the Raiders.
“It looked like the guy came off of the tight end on our right hand side,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ll watch it on the tape. Sometimes those guys will overextend and create a gap there, and that’s what it looked like to me.”
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OAKLAND – In a game eventually decided by two points, the Dallas Cowboys were on the wrong side of a 19-17 outcome Friday night against the Oakland Raiders.
And like so many games do, this one came down to special teams.
The Cowboys left a field goal on the board in the first quarter. They had a fumbled punt that led to another field goal by the Raiders in the fourth. And even in between, there were some miscues in the kicking game that will likely give special teams coach Rich Bisaccia plenty to chew on this week.
It started when Dan Bailey’s 26-yard attempt was blocked.
“I haven’t seen it on film or looked at the pictures but it seemed like we had a strong rush from the right side,” Bailey said.
After the block, punter/holder Chris Jones made the tackle but Bailey was tripped up in the process, going to the ground with the wind knocked out of him.
Later in the game, with the Cowboys leading 17-16, rookie corner B.W. Webb misjudged a punt deep in his own territory and dropped the ball. The Raiders recovered at the Cowboys’ 9 and eventually took the lead on a field goal four plays later.
The Raiders only punted twice with Webb back deep for both. The first one was a short kick downed by Oakland. But the second one ended up becoming the difference maker in the game.
In the return game, the Raiders averaged 34.3 yards on three returns, including a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter that put Oakland in favorable field position and eventually led to Webb’s muffed punt.
The Cowboys had some decent returns themselves, including a 28-yard kickoff return by Cole Beasley. Joseph Randle averaged 25 yards on his two runbacks while Anthony Armstrong and Dwayne Harris also had returns.
Deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur, who is considered the veteran of the special teams, didn’t seem overly worried with the struggles Friday night.
“It’s the second preseason game,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got some issues to work on. But I don’t think it’s anything we can’t do. We’ve got a good scheme and we’ll be fine.”