IRVING, Texas – Coach Jason Garrett emphasized that line one when he looks for a kickoff returner is to take care of the football.
As a result, the Cowboys could be looking for another kickoff returner this week, following Felix Jones' fumble on the opening kickoff in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.
“We’re always looking at personnel, to be honest with you, and when you make a play like that, you look hard again at that and what the alternatives are,” Garrett said. “You’ve heard me say up here a lot that you have to have a lot of returner options, because they get taken away from you. And OK, who’s the next guy up? Who can catch this kickoff? Who can catch this punt? So we have a few different guys working at that, and we’ll evaluate that again this week.”
Receiver Kevin Ogletree and cornerback Morris Claiborne have worked as kickoff returners in practice. So has practice squad running back Lance Dunbar, whom the Cowboys seriously considered promoting for the season opener.
It’s not as if Jones has been productive when he’s held onto the ball, either. His average of 21.3 yards per kickoff return ranks 23rd in the league, and he’s made poor decisions to bring the ball out from deep in the end zone.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones stressed that he wants to see bigger holes for Felix Jones on kickoffs. However, it’s clear that the former first-round pick has been a big part of the problem on kick returns.
The coaches would be wise to try to find someone else to be the solution.