NFL COACHES CAROUSEL: Dallas Cowboys ST coach Rich Bisaccia interviewing for NFL’s final head coaching vacancy
IRVING, Texas – For the third time already this offseason, special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will interview for a head coaching job.
This time, it’s for the Cleveland Browns job, the only remaining head coaching vacancy at this time.
Bisaccia also interviewed for the Redskins and Titans positions last week. Washington has since hired Jay Gruden and Tennessee gave the job to Ken Whisenhunt.
Bisaccia has been with the Dallas Cowboys just one season overseeing the special teams – a unit that had its share of good moments. Dwayne Harris finished third in the NFL with a 12.8 punt return average and second in the league with a 30.6 kickoff return average.
Dan Bailey finished the year with 21 straight field goals and ranked fourth in the NFL with 52 touchbacks.
The coverage teams also fared well, despite a new cast of characters. Three of the four top tacklers on special teams – Jeff Heath (13), Cam Lawrence (12) and Kyle Bosworth (12) were not on the roster last year. Even Bosworth wasn’t on the team at the end of the season, getting cut late in the season. Harris also improved his coverage game with 12 special teams tackles.
The Browns fired Rob Chudzinski after just one season, including a 4-12 record.
While Cleveland’s president is Alec Scheiner, who spent eight years in Dallas, including the five as the Dallas Cowboys Senior VP and General Counsel. He left the Cowboys before Bisaccia joined the team in January.
SNIDER’S SNIFFING AROUND: Dallas Cowboys ST coach Rich Bisaccia interviewing for Washington Redskins head coaching position
IRVING, Texas – The Washington Redskins search for a new head coach will go through the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff.
Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is interviewing for the vacancy in Washington, where he’s got history with Redskins general manager Bruce Allen dating back to their time together in Tampa Bay.
The Washington Redskins asked for permission to speak with Bisaccia and were granted by the Cowboys. NFL rules state that teams must allow all assistant coaches to interview for a vacant head coaching position. Teams can block assistants under contract to meet with other teams for any other coaching position.
Bisaccia coached primarily special teams while working with the Buccaneers from 2002-10. After working with special teams from 2002-07, he then added the responsibilities of associate head coach and running backs in 2008 before spending his last two seasons as the associate head coach and special teams coach.
He then coached the San Diego Chargers special teams units for two seasons, adding assistant head coaching duties in 2012, prior to a brief stint in January 2013 at Auburn. The Tigers allowed Bisaccia to return to the professional ranks and go to the Dallas Cowboys, where he replaced former special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who’s now in Chicago.
Head coach Jason Garrett always preaches the necessity to be good in all three phases of the game, and one could easily make the argument special teams was the team’s best phase this season. Dwayne Harris ranked in the top three in the league in both kick return and punt return average, and Dan Bailey’s leg strength increased while his pinpoint accuracy stayed consistent.
Bisaccia had a lot of familiarity with the coaching staff in Dallas, particularly with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. They all coached together previously in Tampa Bay, and Bisaccia stayed in touch with Marinelli even after the trio left.
In the offseason, Bisaccia recalled a story about going to grab a casual cup of coffee with Marinelli after their time together in Tampa Bay before leaving with two notebooks full of notes after a three-hour visit.
“I’m fortunate to be back with Rod, and certainly be with Monte, but my respect for Rod and the way he coaches on the field and his demeanor and the way he handles his meetings, I’ve learned so much from him,” Bisaccia said in the offseason. “Whatever he said about me, I’m going to try to live up to it. If that’s what I am, then that’s great. I’m going to do that the best I can.”
It’s always been important to Bisaccia to be around coaches and staff members that he knows. Bisaccia spent four years with Marinelli and seven years with Kiffin in Tampa Bay.
“The three of us love football,” he said.” I’ve been married to the same gal for 29 years. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I have ball and I go home. This is my hobby, it’s my passion, it’s a calling to some degree, and really those two guys are the same way.”
Editors note: True Blue’s already know, Daniel Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redskins.
Orlando Scandrick no longer is just a nickel corner. He also is no longer just close to blocking a field goal.
Scandrick started at right corner in place of Morris Claiborne, against the Chiefs and he played all 67 snaps. Morris Claiborne, who has a dislocated shoulder, played 37 snaps in nickel situations. Scandrick made three tackles. He also blocked the first field goal of his career after being close dozens of times in his career.
“Scandrick did some good things,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Orlando’s a good football player. He’s one of those guys that sometimes you pigeon hole guys and say, ‘Hey, he’s an inside guy. He’s a nickel.’ He’s got a little something to him. He always has. A little bit of a chip on his shoulder, kind of like a bolder or a mountain. We think that’s good. He brings that with every opportunity we give him, whether it’s a as teams guy or an inside cover guy, as a nickel or as an outside guy. I thought he competed well with some good receivers.”
Scandrick has started only 20 games in six seasons, but he has been as valuable and productive in his role as any player on the team over that time.
During the off-season, he won a team award for the gains he made in the weight room. His biggest improvement, thought, might be in blocking out the bad plays as well as the criticism.
“I think I’ve grown a lot mentally,” said Scandrick, who has been targeted 12 times and allowed only six catches totaling 49 yards and a touchdown, according to STATS.
“I think physically I did a good job in the off-season of getting a lot stronger. I put a lot into it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I’ve taken a lot of criticism around here, and I don’t take it well. It eats me inside. It ate me up the whole last season that my season ended the way it did. So I’ve been working a lot. I started working as soon as I was healthy in January, and I haven’t stopped since.”
Although he is listed as the backup at right corner, Scandrick likely will continue to start. Claiborne will wear a harness that will limit his effectiveness the rest of the season. Scandrick now is as comfortable playing outside as he is in the slot.
“I just feel like I’m finally trusting myself,” Scandrick said. “A lot of the times I was second-guessing myself when I’d see things and not go get them and I would let outside things affect me and get down on myself if I give up a play or if I don’t make a play. Now I’m so focused if I make a play, if I don’t make a play, I’m onto the next play.”
Scandrick finally got his long-awaited first blocked field goal when he came around the corner to get Ryan Succop’s 57-yard attempt at the end of the first half.
“Coach Rich Bisaccia has been a big believer in me since he got here,” Scandrick said. “He’s been very positive since he got here. I give him the credit. The guy’s on me every day. I’ve been close for years. He’s on me every day, ‘Go get it! Go get it! Visualize it.’ Just another part of playing hard every play.”
IRVING, Texas – This time of year is always a tough time to make judgments on the roster. And it’s not for a lack of news, but only because we should know by now the roster is far from fluid.
We’ve already seen a few changes since Saturday’s 22 roster moves to get down to 53 players.
But if we’ve seen any kind of theme here in the last few days pertaining to the roster, it’s a rare emphasis on improving the special teams units.
For starters, the Cowboys decided to keep both Danny McCray and Eric Frampton as backup safeties, along with Jeff Heath and J.J. Wilcox. McCray and Frampton have lead the team in special teams tackles over the last three years.
McCray has been the special teams captain the last two years. He showed last year that he struggles as a safety, especially in coverage. But when it comes to covering kickoffs and punts, few have been as good or consistent as McCray in recent history.
The one decision the Cowboys didn’t make regarding the kicking game centered on wide receiver. They chose to keep just five receivers, including Cole Beasley, who is a better route-runner and slot player than Anthony Armstrong. However, Armstrong played with every special teams unit and had more speed than arguably any other player on the squad.
After the cuts, the Cowboys started making more special-teams related moves. A few hours after trimming the roster to 53, the club put Nate Livings on IR and traded a seventh-round pick to Kansas City for linebacker Edgar Jones, a six-year veteran who thrives on special teams. He is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end as a position, but special teams is his forte.
On Sunday, after the Cowboys sent Sean Lissemore to San Diego for 2015 seventh-round pick, they filled his spot by claiming linebacker Kyle Bosworth from the Giants. Yes, it’s that Bosworth – he’s the nephew of former Seattle Seahawk first-rounder Brian Bosworth. And Kyle is another local product, having starred at Plano West before attending UCLA. He played the last two years for the Jaguars, playing 25 games, including five starts last season.
Again, Bosworth is a special-teams player. That will be his role here with the Cowboys.
They tried to fill Alex Albright’s (lost during the preseason, placed on waived/injured list) spot from within. Rookies Brandon Magee, Cam Lawrence and Taylor Reed, along with first-year pro Caleb McSurdy all made it to the final preseason game. But the Cowboys chose to put all of them on waivers on Saturday.
The goal was to bring Magee back to the practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by the Browns. Lawrence, an undrafted rookie from Mississippi State, has been added to the Cowboys’ practice squad.
But the Cowboys weren’t confident in any of them being ready to play Sept. 8 against the Giants. That’s why Bosworth has been signed. The same goes for Jones. And ditto for having both McCray and Frampton on the team.
I’m sure new special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is appreciative. After watching five games in the preseason, it was clear the kicking game had its issues. Although sometimes those tend to show up more because the players are being shuffled more than a deck of a cards in Vegas.
Who knows if the special teams miscues will carry over into the regular season. But if they do, it’s not likely they can blame personnel on this one.
As a fourth-round draft pick, B.W. Webb’s spot on the roster is all but guaranteed. The Cowboys have carried David Arkin, a fourth-round pick in 2011, for two years. But if Webb wasn’t a high pick, he might be in danger of not making the roster.
The William & Mary product has struggled mightily thus far.
He had three tackles in 76 plays in the Hall of Fame Game against the Dolphins, giving up four passes for 29 yards while being targeted six times. He had three tackles against the Raiders and was a favorite target of Raiders’ quarterbacks. He also fumbled a punt.
As if it couldn’t get worse for Webb, he was called out by his coach — who rarely does that publically — afterward.
“You are not allowed to have one of those nights,” Garrett said. “One of things you are looking for in any kind of players, a young guy or a veteran is you want to make sure they respond to the successes and adversities of the game. He had a couple of missed tackles early on for him. I thought he came back and tackled better. Then, he had the dropped punt. You’re not allowed to have bad nights. You never excuse it away to that. You have to keep battling, fighting, whatever opportunity you get, you’ve got to make sure you are taking advantage of it.”
It is safe to say Webb will not be used on punts. His fourth-quarter muff was recovered by the Raiders at the Dallas 9, and they scored the go-ahead field goal.
“Certainly, he’s got enough skill and has done enough good things out there,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We’ve seen him on punts and seen him have to get used to it. He’s not ready, as far as training camp is concerned, to drop back there and get under those punts. We saw that some in training camp. We’ve seen it. It was disappointing he couldn’t get his feet back under him and get back and at least recover the ball. First of all, it really gave us an uphill battle in the ball game. That will be something I’m sure he keeps in his mind.”
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.”
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys kicking game woes prove costly in preseason loss
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.”
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media during his daily press conference in Oxnard, California. Garrett discussed:
- Which players are due back from injuries/rehab this week
- Ben Bass and his upcoming role in this defense
- Kyle Wilbur development
- Versatility factors of defensive linemen in this scheme
- Defensive ends vs. right or left handed strategy
- Dialing back and developing Matt Johnson in the secondary
- How Dez Bryant’s passion in practice translates to game day
- Sean Lee and J.J. Wilcox comparison to Bill Bates mentality
- Dez’s leadership and influence on other players on the roster
- Describing Monte Kiffin and the passion he brings to the defense
- A little lesser-known history about Monte Kiffin;
- How team captains are determined each year
- The differences to expect this season from new Special Teams coach
- Traits of special teams coaches Rich Bisaccia and Joe Avezanno
- Dez Bryant vs. Mo Claiborne battle – making each other better
- Current edge that veteran Brandon Carr has over most corners
- Adjusting to practicing with full pads and other required gear
- Rapport with Dez and Tony Romo evolving
- Shoring up the roster with newly signed defensive linemen
- Strategy for working Jay Ratliff back into the lineup
- Eric Rodgers fit into Garrett’s the right-kind-of-guy mold
- New, strict accountability system for pre-snap penalties (both sides of ball)
- Collective style regarding all coordinators and coaches
- J.J. Wilcox comparison to late Sam Mills, style of safeties and linebackers
- inside information on today’s activity from training camp, and
- how the Dallas Cowboys 2013-2014 roster is shaping up.
Help us spread the word about The Boys Are Back blog! Please use the SHARE buttons below!
If you break down the last five seasons of league leaders when it comes to special teams tackles, the Cowboys had only one player that finished in the top five and that was Sam Hurd in 2010 with 19 tackles. The other seasons, the club has not had a player finish better than 28th.
New special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia brings an aggressive, attacking style that should translate well for a player like Danny McCray. What will be different for McCray this season as opposed to last is that his responsibility as a safety will not be as demanding. His special teams play may have suffered because he was called upon to fill that role as a starter. McCray made this team because of his role on special teams and to his credit he was even named it’s captain.
With the safeties that this club has added to the roster in the off season plus Matt Johnson also coming back from injury, McCray can focus solely on being one of the top special teams players in the league. It was just too much to ask for him to handle both the safety responsibilities and be the main contributor of the special teams.
In 2011, McCray finished 26th in the league with 13 special teams tackles. Last season, Eric Frampton managed 12 to lead the team. McCray should flourish in this new scheme and will finish with 20 or more special teams tackles which will place him in the top five for the league and put him back in his natural role on this team.
Nothing against McCray getting an opportunity to play in the defensive scheme this season but there are some players in this league that provide more than just being ok at what they do. Danny McCray is an ok safety but he is much more valuable as a special teams ace and difference maker for a team that needs him just to focus on that task alone.
With training camp right around the corner, let’s take a look at special teams.
Top of the chart: Dan Bailey
It’s been a while since the Cowboys have had a reliable kicker for three straight years. Chris Boniol, who is ironically enough the kicking coach for Dan Bailey these days, was really the last guy to be this steady. But if Bailey has another year like his first two, he’ll likely be considered one of the best kickers in the NFL, if he’s not there already. Bailey hasn’t just made his share of game-winners – seven in the last two years to be exact with two more clutch kicks to force overtime – but he’s been money inside of 50 yards. Last year, Bailey made all 26 attempts of 49 yards or less. He was 3 of 5 from 50 and beyond. If there is one area of his game that needs more work, Bailey admits it has to be on kickoffs. But he did improve with that last year and said he’s spending more hours this offseason working on his kickoffs.
Need to see more: Chris Jones
When he punts – in games – he’s pretty good. He had a 45.2-yard average early last year before he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. At one point, former special teams coach Joe DeCamillis called him the early-season MVP because he was placing the ball at perfect locations and doing so with the necessary hang time. Now, in practice, Jones doesn’t always strike the ball with perfection and will have a shank or two that often raises a few eyebrows. But let’s not forget that he’s still a 23-year-old punter who is learning his way in the NFL. He probably won’t have much competition in training camp but when the games start, the Cowboys need him to rise to the occasion like he’s done before. Jones will likely get another yard and a half away from the line this year, moving back to a full 15 yards from the line of scrimmage in Rich Bisaccia’s scheme.
Still need to know … who takes over on kickoff returns
Three different players had at least 11 kickoff returns last year, including Lance Dunbar, who led the team with 12. Dwayne Harris and Felix Jones each had 11 and, of course, we know Jones has since signed with the Eagles. Dunbar could be the guy with the first crack at this. He is developing a role in the offense, but if he can solidify kickoff returns, it would only help his cause as a mainstay on the roster. Rookies B.W. Webb and Terrance Williams might get a shot in there as well.
Don’t forget about … Dwayne Harris
Had it not been for Bailey’s excellence the last two years, Harris likely could’ve gone in the “Top of the Chart” category. Harris’ ability to return punts won’t be forgotten. He came on strong at the end of 2012, ranking second in the NFL with his 16.1-yard average. His 78-yard punt return against the Eagles turned the tide in that game and he also had a field-position-altering return against the Steelers in an overtime win. Even if he doesn’t win the No. 3 receiver spot from Williams, Harris has a defined role as a shifty, crafty return specialist who seemed to elevate his play on offense with every stellar return he had on special teams.
Nine year veteran long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will be the lone long-snapper on the Dallas Cowboys camp roster
Dwayne Harris tallied 354 yards and 1 touchdown on 22 attempts with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012
While he was able to do that, the focus shifted quickly to the issue of play-calling and the possible change next season involving Bill Callahan’s role on the sidelines.
Whether or not Callahan’s situation will be different, many faces surrounding him certainly will be.
Garrett shared some stories about the new coaches, including his involvement with the former Buccaneers assistants Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli and Rich Bisaccia when Garrett played for Tampa Bay in 2004.
Here’s a short briefing from Garrett on each of his new assistants, including Wes Phillips who has been here for six seasons but is now the new tight ends coach.
Garrett on defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin: Early on, I think he was on to me because every day
after practice I would walk up to him and ask him a football question. He’s a very generous and gracious guy. I learned not only from watching him and how he handled himself and meetings, but just being around him. He’s very gracious and generous. We developed a relationship back then. My respect level for him is really off the charts. We’re fortunate to have him here to coordinate this defense. He’s done it better than anyone else has.
Garrett on defensive line coach Rod Marinelli: He’s one of those guys who talks about the greatness of
the game of football. He talks about preparing the right way. There’s great honor about playing and coaching this game and doing it the right way. The way he conducted himself that year I was around him, was really, really impressive to me. As impressive as a football coach as I’ve ever been around.
Garrett on special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia: He’s been one of the premier teams guys in the league. He just has an infectious personality. It’s particularly important for a special teams coach.
He’s got a great demeanor. The players play as hard for him as I’ve ever seen players play for any coach. He’s a great teacher, loves the game. He’ll be a great resource for us. He’ll make this team better.
Garrett on wide receiver coach Derek Dooley: When I was a player here in the 90’s, he was coaching receivers at SMU. Our relationship goes back that far. We coached together on Nick Saban’s staff with the Dolphins in 2005-06. We’ve known each other well. He played receiver at Virginia and has a great receiver background. He and I know each other well. He knows our system and I think that transition will be really good for us.
Garrett on tight end coach Wes Phillips: He’s really someone who is my right-hand man. We spent some time together putting the offense in a number of years ago. He’s really been a great asset and resource for me. Wes was a quarterback himself and coached receivers earlier in his career.
Garrett on running back coach Gary Brown: He’s really a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I’ve known him for afar and competed against him. This is really a football guy. I’m excited about him. Often times, guys that play in the NFL don’t have a willingness to do what’s necessary to coach at this level. He’s a really bright guy. He’s someone who is a really, really good teacher. I know him the least of the guys we hired but I might be as excited about him as anybody else.
Garrett on asst. offensive line coach Frank Pollack: Frank played for Bill Callahan at Northern Arizona in the late 80’s and they go way back. Some of the contributions he can make, along with his relationship with Bill, can make us a really good football team.
Editors comment: As you know, as Dallas Cowboys fans, we are in the offseason ‘dead zone’ period between the Super Bowl and the NFL Combine (and subsequent NFL Draft). This time of year is always a letdown for those of us with NFL (and particularly Dallas Cowboys) fever. Like you, I’m constantly in search of relevant news and information about America’s Team from leading sports authorities and trusted insiders. Today, Jason Garrett spent nearly an hour discussing a myriad of subjects regarding the evolution of the team going into the 2013-2014 season. I strongly advise you to listen to the video below. Over 50 articles (and speculation) have been published based on this press conference. As you would expect (and appreciate), there are a wide range of topics covered, including:
- Offseason coaching changes and insight
- Offensive delegation and evolution since 2010
- Advantages of returning to the 4-3 defense
- Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli defensive philosophy
- Upcoming play-calling changes and mechanics
- Anticipated turnovers and the game impact
- Fitting Dallas’ top-tier CBs into the new 4-3 scheme
- Jay Ratliff and Josh Brent legal issues
- Bill Callahan and Jimmy Robinson’s influence and role
- Ongoing collaborative relationship with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones
Take the time to listen to the actual press conference and you’ll learn what changes are in store and what went into the decision-making process. Feed the fever!
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media after a flurry of offseason coaching moves.
Editors note: The new coaches will have a press conference with the Dallas media on Thursday, February 14th at 11:00 am. The Boys Are Back blog will provide a post and link to that event when it becomes available.
If you enjoyed this special feature, please use the ‘like’ and share buttons below. Thanks for spreading the word about The Boys Are Back blog!
Bryan Broaddus takes a closer look at Dallas Cowboys punter Chris Jones and how he fits into the team’s 2013 plans.
Name: Chris Jones
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 208
Experience: 2 seasons
College: Carson Newman
Key stat: Chris Jones had just 12 punts last season, averaging 45.2 yards per punt with a 40.0 yard net average.
Contract status: Signed through 2013.
How he played in 2012: Chris Jones was one of those question marks in training camp that no one really wanted to talk about. Jones burst onto the scene replacing the injured Mat McBriar in 2011 and punted well enough to allow the front office to not extend McBriar in 2012 thus making him a free agent. To be honest there were days in Oxnard where it looked like that decision was a poor one because of what a weapon that McBriar had become over his years in Dallas and Jones just wasn’t punting consistent enough but he managed to make it to the start of the 2012 and really did a nice job opening night against the Giants. The next week against the Seahawks, Jones had a punt blocked when Dan Connor missed an assignment and the following week against the Buccaneers somehow managed to get a punt off that should have been blocked but it resulted in an injury to his left knee. In his final game of the 2012 season Jones was able to gut out the game against the Ravens after not practicing all week. Fortunately for Jones, he was only called on one time that day but the knee was too damaged to continue the rest of the season and Brian Moorman took over the punting and holding duties for the club. In four games Jones averaged 45 yards on 12 punts and was on his way to the type of season that the front office and coaches believed he was capable of having.
Where he fits in 2013: Gone is special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and Rich Bisaccia now takes over in that role. Jones had a big supporter in DeCamillis but there is no reason to believe that Bisaccia will feel different about Jones and what talent he has. What will also help Jones is that Chris Boniol is still on the staff and will be able to paint a pretty accurate picture of what Jones is to Bisaccia. I fully expect Jones to be the punter for this club in 2013 but the scouts might have seen someone in their travels this Fall that could compete for the job so we will see after the 2013 NFL Draft when we get into mini camps.
Nick Eatman: He’s one of the injured players people forget about but he was missed. Sure, Brian Moorman has more experience but Jones was better at angling his punts with height and direction. He’s also a good holder for kicks so I would expect Jones should be the punter for this team next year.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
The team has indeed interviewed several candidates, including former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, who had reportedly agreed to take the job. But as of this (Sunday) morning, the Cowboys are still exploring all options.
Dooley did interview with Jason Garrett last week at the Senior Bowl. The head coach for the Vols the past three years,
He spent three previous three years at Louisiana Tech as head coach but his ties to the Cowboys stem from Jason Garrett. The two worked on Nick Saban’s staff with the Dolphins in 2005-06 when Garrett was quarterbacks coach and Dooley coached the tight ends.
Considering the Cowboys have interviewed candidates for the position, it likely means the end for Jimmy Robinson, at least as receivers coach. He also held the assistant head coach title but according to team sources, Robinson could be moved to a consultant position and remain with the organization.
The Cowboys have yet to officially hire a running backs coach to replace Skip Peete or tight ends coach to replace John Garrett. Peete is now coaching the backs in Chicago while Garrett is the wide receiver coach in Tampa Bay.
Among the names being linked to those positions include Sam Gash, a former player in the NFL for 12 years who coached the Lions running backs for the last five years. Also, current Cowboys assistant offensive line coach Wes Phillips, who has held multiple roles as an offensive assistant the past six years, could be a leading candidate to take over as tight ends coach.
The Cowboys have not officially hired special teams coach Rich Bisaccia but he has been released from his contract at Auburn and is expected to replace Joe DeCamillis. Bisaccia worked with Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli in Tampa Bay for nine years.
Editors Comment: Last night it appeared that Derek Dooley was going to join the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. There is still a lot going on with regard to the offensive side of the ball. With three offensive position coaches yet to be announced, and the status of Jimmy Robinson up in the air, I think we can expect a major shakeup. It’s possible that the Dallas Cowboys intend to hire an offensive coordinator in the coming weeks. If they have targeted someone on the Baltimore Ravens or San Francisco 49ers staff, we’ll have an announcement after the Super Bowl. Hiring an offensive coordinator could explain the delay in filling these position roles because the new coordinator would want to bring in his own people. Either way, we should know what’s going on offensively in the next two weeks.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have found their new replacement for special teams coach.
After a statement that was released by the University of Auburn on Friday, Rich Bisaccia will head to Dallas to replace Joe DeCamillis and coach the Dallas Cowboys special teams.
Bisaccia joined Auburn’s staff as running backs/special teams coach on Jan. 3 but has been released from his contract and will join the Cowboys to reunite with former Tampa Bay assistants Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli.
“Rich had an offer that he felt he could not turn down and we wish him nothing but the best,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Friday in a statement.
For the last two years, Bisaccia served as the Chargers special teams coach. Having worked with Norv Turner, a close friend of Jason Garrett, it’s likely he was highly referred on that front as well, along with his ties to the new defensive coaches.
Bisaccia spent nine seasons in Tampa Bay as special teams coach from 2002-10, working alongside Kiffin and Marinelli.
The past two years, San Diego has been around the middle of the league under Bisaccia’s guidance. The Chargers ranked 15th in punt return average and 13th in kickoff return average this past season, however, they did have three punts blocked.
The Cowboys did have a key punt blocked and returned for a touchdown this season in Seattle, but had just a total of three blocked in DeCamillis’ four years with the club.
Last year, the Cowboys were up and down on special teams, including two losses where the kicking game proved to be costly. Against Seattle in Week 2, the Cowboys lost a fumble on the opening kickoff that resulted in a field goal, followed by the blocked punt for a touchdown that put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole early.
Against the Ravens, a game the Cowboys lost by just two points on a missed field goal in the final seconds, they allowed a 108-yard kickoff return to Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones.
On the flip side, the Cowboys did find a dynamic returner in Dwayne Harris, who averaged 16.1 yards per return, which ranked second in the NFL. Dan Bailey made 29-of-31 field goals, including all 26 from inside of 50 yards.
The Cowboys had also looked at hiring Bruce DeHaven and Alan Lowry, who were both recently let go from their previous teams. Both had also served as the Cowboys special teams coach at one time. DeHaven was here four years with Bill Parcells from 2003-06, while Lowry was on the Cowboys’ staff from 1982-90, including the first five years as the special teams coach.