New punter Brian Moorman was the best of the rest
Punter Chris Jones has a sprained knee and will miss the next two weeks, so that forced the Cowboys to act quickly. Moorman had struggled in Buffalo, where he had a net average of 32.7 yards. His punts have been returned for a league-high 172 yards.
There are many factors involved in return yardages -- coverage, weather, direction of the kick and the returner -- but it's pretty stunning that the Cowboys lost Jones, who had allowed just 22 return yards, among the lowest in the league.
Coach Jason Garrett said Moorman's struggles didn't scare the team because he's had a strong career prior to this season.
"You look at the body of work, and he's punted for a long time in this league at a real high level," Garrett said. "And he punted well in the workout."
With Jones out, Moorman also becomes the Cowboys' holder, which he did with the Bills.
Kicker Dan Bailey most likely will work with Moorman in practice Thursday. And with the game being on Monday night against Chicago, the extra day of work should help from a comfort level.
This is a difficult move for the Cowboys to make, given the Bears' Devin Hester, who Garrett called one of the best in the league, averages 11.7 yards a return, which ranks ninth in the league this season.
If Moorman struggles Monday night, the saving grace is the Cowboys have a bye next week. So they could release him if Jones is healthy enough to return.
"It's a day-to-day type thing," Garrett said of Jones' knee. "We don't think its surgical right now, but we're hopeful that he'll be back sooner rather than later. We didn't think he was going to be able to punt this week. He did a really good job in the game punting it after getting knocked around. That was important for us. We'll take it day-by-day, week-by-week."
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