Amid questions about the Dallas Cowboys' lack of punch on offense and inability to produce turnovers on defense, another significant inquiry involves the identity of the team's punter.
Starter Chris Jones has not played since spraining his left knee in the team's 16-10 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 23. Brian Moorman, who punted in a 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears on Oct. 1, strained his right groin just prior to Wednesday's practice.
Neither punter practiced Wednesday or Thursday, but Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said the punt return unit is preparing for either possibility.
"That's why they make JUGS machines, I guess, so they can shoot them down there," Rosburg said during his weekly briefing Thursday. "From our perspective, you have a right-footed punter and a left-footed punter. The good news is we have the ability in our practices to practice against both. We have a machine that shoots that ball in either direction with either spin on it. I don't really know what their practice situation was, but we're prepared for either."
Punts aren't the only responsibilities for Jones and Moorman, who also hold the football for kicker Dan Bailey on field-goal and extra-point attempts. Quarterback Tony Romo could hold although many fans haven't forgotten that his bobbling of a snap on a field-goal attempt that sealed a 21-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in a NFC playoff contest on January 6, 2007.
Ravens punter Sam Koch, who also holds for rookie kicker Justin Tucker, didn't disagree with the sentiment that not having Jones or Moorman on the practice field could disrupt the chemistry of that special teams.
"Maybe they haven't had as much work with some of the other players," Koch said. "Or maybe if they have a punter who is a great holder, maybe it will work out for the better. Since Billy [Cundiff] left, we had to adjust with Tucker and Tucker had to adjust to us. And when [long snapper Matt] Katula left, we had Morgan [Cox], and I had to adjust to him. So yeah, it takes a little bit of time, but when you have the amount of time that we have to work on it, it'll work its way out."