Monday, February 15, 2010
Cowboys shine in special-teams rankings
By Matt Mosley
On the Sunday following the Super Bowl, special-teams coaches around the league are always on pins and needles. That is because they're waiting for Dallas Morning News NFL columnist Rick "Goose" Gosselin to release his annual special-teams rankings.
The Cowboys downed 38 of Mat McBriar's punts inside the 20.
Gosselin, my old officemate at the DMN, has developed an intricate system for ranking the special-teams units from all 32 teams. In fact, teams such as the Eagles will often cite Gosselin's report when announcing a new special-teams coach. Surprisingly, the hapless Cleveland Browns were ranked No. 1 this season and the Super Bowl-winning Saints checked in at No. 29.
The Cowboys hired former Jaguars special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis before the '09 season and moved up 23 spots to No. 4 in the overall rankings. The Eagles were 17th, Giants 20th and Redskins 27th. The good news for Eagles fans, though, is that new special-teams coach Bobby April led the third-ranked special-teams unit in Buffalo. OK, here are some other NFC East-related tidbits from the Gosselin rankings:
The Eagles led the league in punt returns with a 13.5-yard average thanks to DeSean Jackson.
Pete Carroll made a major mistake running off former Cowboys special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven from Seattle. The Seahawks finished 11th in the rankings despite having a bad overall team.
Cowboys opponents had an average starting point at the 22.8-yard line (second in league), something that could be attributed to leading the league in touchbacks. David Buehler deserves major props for his work in that department.
The Cowboys were fourth in the league with 38 punts downed inside the 20. That's one of the main reasons Mat McBriar belonged in the Pro Bowl.
The Eagles and Chargers tied for first in field goals made with 32.
The Cowboys ranked 30th in field goal percentage with 64.5.
The Redskins led the league in giveaways on special teams with five.
I realize the Packers don't play in the Beast, but can you believe they had 28 penalties on special teams? The Falcons had a league-best six.