(Editor's Note: This is the last of a 12-part series analyzing every position on the Cowboys roster, providing a quick look back before addressing the needs of each spot on the field and how it can be improved heading into the 2013 season. Today we examine the special teams.)
Pressing Matters: The Cowboys can’t have any qualms in the kicking game with
2012 Evaluation: While the Cowboys could strive to get better on punting the ball, they have few issues returning punts.
Need More From … : The Cowboys could have used more from their punting game and kick return game, but specifically the latter. With only 12 punts on the season, it’s possible Jones could have gotten better with more experience as the year went on. Injuries weren’t as much of an excuse in the kick return game. A fumbled kickoff return by
Dan Bailey – He was automatic on kicks he should make, drilling every field goal attempt from inside 50 yards. He also made three kicks of more than 50 yards and was a perfect 20-for-20 on field goals between 30 and 50 yards.
Chris Jones – Only suited up for four games and punted 12 times before hurting his knee. The Cowboys decided to place him on injured reserve, but he’ll likely return to his role next season.
Brian Moorman – Had a couple booming punts, but one of them outkicked the coverage and allowed a return score. He filled in for Jones, serving as the Cowboys’ punter the final 12 games of the year. The veteran’s now an unrestricted free agent.
Dwayne Harris – Demonstrated that Bryant’s not the only returner capable of making game-changing plays. Harris became a star as a punt returner after assuming the role, and that also led to more playing time as the third receiver.
Dez Bryant – The dynamic playmaker was taken off the punt return unit after a couple risky, questionable decisions with the ball. That opened the door for Harris and also allowed Bryant to focus solely on receiving, which worked out for everyone.
Lance Dunbar – He led the Cowboys in number of kick returns (12) and kick return yardage (21.8). Of the options at returner, he was the one who provided the most hope for turning nothing into something.
Felix Jones – Finished with second-highest return average, but he also fumbled on one of his 11 returns and never returned a kick more than 30 yards. He’s now an unrestricted free agent.