After Tennessee Titans' punter A.J. Trapasso hit the gigantic scoreboard with a punt in the pre-season, it was feared that the first season in Jerry Jones' football palace would be marred with constant do-over's. But it appears it was much ado about nothing since not one punt has hit the scoreboard during the regular season.
"I think it's at a pretty good height," said Eagles' punter Sav Rocca. "I don't think, unless you intentionally try to hit it, in a game it should be in effect. I might (try to hit it) in pre-game just to see how high it really is, but during a game we're strictly trying to hit a good punt down the field, you know, hitting the sidelines.
"If you're hitting a good punt down the field, I don't think there's any chance that you'd get close to it."
In fact, Rocca will have more important things to worry about this Sunday in Dallas. The Cowboys' boast the league's second-best punt returner (the Eagles have the best) in Patrick Crayton. Crayton is second in the NFL behind DeSean Jackson with 12.9 yards per return, and he's taken two returns back for touchdowns this season.
"(Patrick Crayton has obviously done extremely well this year," said special teams' coordinator Ted Daisher. "He's had two touchdowns and (the Cowboys' special teams_ are very dangerous. We're going to have to be very disciplined and be in our lanes and do a good job in coverage."
While Rocca's punting distance numbers fall around league average, the third-year player has excelled where Daisher and the Eagles want him to. Daisher's main intent with Rocca when he came in to training camp was to improve the Australian's abilities to directionally kick. With one game left in the season, opposing teams are averaging only 5.9 yards per punt return, the third best such mark in the NFL.
"That's pretty much the aim of having a directional punt," Rocca said, "getting it close to the boundary line so that we're pinning them in there and we get our guys around and stop them from having a big return.
"It's something that we've really worked on this year and it's certainly going to take away from my numbers, but it's going to add to the net and the team's numbers. I don't mind taking a little bit away from me if it certainly helps the team."
Rocca is in an interesting position career-wise. Even though he's 36 years old, he's still improving because he hasn't been playing football for very long.
"I'm only three years in," he said. "I'm trying to learn as quickly as I can but it is a progress thing where the more kicks you do, the better you're going to get. I'm learning every day so I'm hoping and I know that I'll only get better in the future."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:30 p.m., January 2