Return game needs improvement

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
11:00
AM ET
The Cowboys might have some help in their bad return game.

Felix Jones was working in practice this week on kick returns and this could be one way the Cowboys use him to get those valued touches they were talking about as he comes back from a left high-ankle sprain that cost him four games.

Jones has not returned kicks since 2009, yet is a dangerous threat in this area when he does.

Dez Bryant said he may lobby to return punts on Sunday at Washington, though he has struggled in this area in 2011, because he's feeling healthy.

Bryant made a mistake on a punt return, fielding one inside the 10 resulting in a four yard loss vs. Seattle.

Overall, the Cowboys rank 30th in kick return yards at 279 and 24th in punt return yards at 152.

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah made his debut last week and did kick and punt returns. He fielded two punts for four yards last week vs. Buffalo with one fair catch. He didn't return any of the two kickoffs sent his way.

It seemed some of the returners have struggled at finding running lanes or if they're open, are not attacking the coverage units.

"I think our return game has been fine," coach Jason Garrett said. "I think we can get better in that area. We've had a few different guys returing for us based on some injuries that we've had. I think the guys that have gotten in there have done a nice job in handling the football, we haven't been very dynamic in the return game at this point. Some of it in the kickoff return game because of the touchbacks but I just think in general we haven't made enough of splash plays like we made in the past back there but at the same time we haven't made a whole lot of negative plays either."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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