Chris Jones has a golfer's feel as Cowboys' punter

OXNARD, Calif. -- To hear Chris Jones talk about punting, you get the idea that there's a lot of golf in his game.

Considering how much we hear Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, speak, all that Jones is missing is a caddie of his own.

“I feel like if I can pick a target and get my lines going in the right direction and hit my ball, it’s going to take care of itself,” Jones said. “It’s going to go exactly where it needs to go to be successful.”

Jones’ world revolves so much around numbers that you wouldn’t think he was a physical education major at Carson-Newman -- but instead a math major. As he talks about his lines and angles, it’s almost a lesson in geometry. Then there is a bit of science involved as well with hang time.

Last year, 21 of Jones’ 57 punts ended up inside the opponents’ 20. Because of the Dallas Cowboys proficient offense, he was not counted on as much in 2014, but he wanted to improve his inside-the-20 numbers in 2015.

He learned the flip-flop punt from former teammate Mat McBriar a few years ago and has done a better job with his placement. It’s a little bit like a flop shot in golf, minus the requirement of the perfect lie.

“If it’s perfect conditions, I know exactly how far I can hit a flip-flop with good hang,” Jones said. “If I’m in range where I can rip one, I know it’s going to be from the 8 to the 12 with a 4.6, 4.7 [second hangtime]. From there, I just kind of adjust if it’s shorter or longer and play off where we’re at on the field.”

The Cowboys have grown to value Jones, signing him to a three-year contract in the offseason. He first impressed with a strong leg and toughness, playing through a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2012.

In 2013, Jones had roughly 39 percent of his punts end up inside the 20, but he had six touchbacks. Last year, 37 percent of his punts were inside the 20 but he had only two touchbacks.

“My aiming point is always inside the 20,” Jones said. “If it get to the 8 or the 9 or it’s a fair catch, then that’s just extra, I guess. But the aiming point is definitely to the 20 and wanting it inside the 15 really. But the 10 is kind of ultimately my goal regardless of where I am if it’s a red-zone hit.”