(Editor's Note: With the Cowboys on the bye week, the team is taking a much-needed break to rest up for the final nine games of the season. But football analyst Bryan Broaddus is taking a look back to the first two months, analyzing some of the key aspects from each phases of the game. Today, we focus on the special teams.)
Leading By Example: C.J. Goodwin
C.J. Goodwin was brought in to give this unit a lift. His makeup and athletic ability help him with his job. From a scouting perspective, he is long and can really run. His speed to cover is impressive, but where he doesn't get enough credit is how good he is with his hands. You have to be able to disengage in order to be a good cover man and he does that well. What is also impressive about him is his ability to finish, which he's been able to do with consistency.
Better Than Expected: Ventell Bryant
Ventell Bryant is a great example of a personnel department going outside their comfort zone in order to evaluate a player from another squad. It would have been very easy for them to just go with Jalen Guyton or Jon'vea Johnson on the practice squad, but instead they added Bryant. By adding him to the mix, they found a capable special teamer at wide receiver. He is big and long as well as physical. He can really run. Against the Eagles, he had two tackles and drew a block in the back penalty. Bryant has the type of makeup that will only allow him to improve with the more opportunities he gets.
Still Haven't Seen: Punt Return
Let's be honest here – the Cowboys get nothing out of their punt return unit. Opponents have done a nice job of pinning them, but when they have had an opportunity to bring a ball back it just hasn't been there. The club has gone with Tavon Austin and Randall Cobb in an effort to improve their chances, but it has done little. As a unit they've struggled securing blocks up front, or when they do get blocks they have a player break down with a penalty. It's difficult to see teams around the league take advantage of those returns while this unit gets nothing.
Don't Be Surprised By: A Kickoff Return for a Touchdown
I wanted to say Brett Maher will not miss another field goal the rest of the way, but with cold weather games in New York, New England and Chicago on the horizon, I'll refrain. I will say that with that going outdoors in cold weather will bring the opportunity for more kickoff returns. That means we will see more of Tony Pollard, who while at Memphis was one of the best kickoff returners in the country. We saw him have some success against the Packers bringing the ball back, so don't be surprised if he turns the momentum of a game around with a big return for field position -- or better yet, a touchdown. He has the ability to change a game that way.