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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Troy Aikman calls out Cowboys for ‘poor coaching’ on botched kickoff return

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman called out the Dallas Cowboys for poor coaching after a botched kickoff return in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

Prior to the kickoff, which came after a Patriots field goal, Aikman noted that the Cowboys had difficulty on the previous few kickoff returns due to the wind. The FOX analyst said he was surprised to see Tony Pollard waiting for the kick at the goal line. Aikman said he would have put Pollard at the 10-yard line to prepare for another short kick into the wind at Gillette Stadium.

And guess what happened? The kickoff was pushed back by the wind and landed near the 20-yard line. Pollard, who was playing so far deep, misplayed the ball as he ran up. Pollard was lucky to fall on the ball around the 10 and avoid a fumble.

“They’re fortunate to have the ball, number one. Number two, that’s poor coaching. That’s coaching. Nobody’s telling Tony Pollard to get up,” Aikman said.

This wasn’t any Monday morning quarterbacking by Aikman either; he pointed out the problem before it happened. He also continued to question the Cowboys’ decisions late in the game. Aikman thought the Cowboys should have gone for it on 4th-and-7 rather than kick a field goal to make it 13-9. He also said he thought Dallas would run the ball on a 3rd-and-1 on a late possession rather than pass it.

This is the second time in a few weeks that the Cowboys’ return game on special teams has been criticized. They also made a coaching error on a Tavon Austin punt return late in the Week 10 loss to the Vikings. Special teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn needs to be doing a better job, and Jason Garrett needs to as well. Naturally, this is all bad for Garrett, who has a lot of work to do to keep his job.

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