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Monday, August 18, 2014
Cowboys must clean up kickoff coverage

By Tim MacMahon

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sloppy is one way to describe the Dallas Cowboys' kickoff coverage during Saturday’s preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

It’s the polite way, actually. Awful would be more accurate.

Special teams are often an adventure during the preseason because teams mix and match so many players and spend significantly less time practicing that facet of the game than offense and defense. However, the Cowboys had primarily core special-teams players on the field when Baltimore’s Deonte Thompson raced 108 yards untouched for a touchdown on a kickoff return in the first quarter.

Safety Jeff Heath, linebacker DeVonte Holloman and safety Barry Church got blocked to create Thompson’s path to pay dirt.

“It opened up like the Red Sea,” Thompson said.

“It was [a lack of lane integrity] as much as anything else,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “Sometimes guys get aggressive and want to go make a play on the ball, but you have to have lane integrity.”

That wasn’t the Cowboys’ only poor moment on kickoff coverage. Thompson took his next return 44 yards to midfield. He gained 30 yards returning the opening kickoff of the second half.

The wrath of Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia should be felt in the meeting room and on the practice field this week. He has a lot of work to do.