Maybe the Dallas Cowboys should have signed a new kicker, after all …
In the second quarter of Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bears, struggling Cowboys incumbent Brett Maher missed a 42-yard field goal attempt, which is bad enough given Maher’s continued inability to split the uprights.
Salt in the wound: Maher has already blown 10 FG opportunities this season, more than any NFL kicker in a single season within the past four years, according to NFL Research.
Mostly reliable last year, Maher has been remarkably inconsistent in 2019. He’s now 19-for-29 on the year with a long of 63 yards, which tied a league record and set a new franchise mark. He’s made all of his extra-point tries — 35-for-35. However, Maher is just 6-of-12 on FG attempts at AT&T Stadium this season, and his unsuccessful boots are often from short distances or come at inopportune times.
He missed an end-of-half field goal attempt, due to it being deflected, then pushed a 47-yard third-quarter attempt wide right in last week’s loss to the Bills. After the game, however, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones threw his support behind Maher, declaring that no changes were to be made and no free-agent tryouts were planned.
“We have confidence in Maher,” Jones said last Friday on 105.3 The Fan, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “We are going to stick with him.”
Then Dallas did an about-face.
Head coach Jason Garrett announced Monday that the team would work out three veteran kickers — Nick Rose, Austin MacGinnis and Tristan Vizcaino.
“We’re bringing three different kickers in — not to say we’re making that decision,” Garrett said, per the club’s official website. “We just want to see these guys, just like we would if we were bringing in other players at other positions.”
Then tried to save face.
“Those three guys did a nice job for us, but Brett is going to be our kicker going forward,” Garrett said Tuesday, per The Athletic.
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Garrett Tried to Motivate Maher
Regardless of whether the order to retain Maher came from above, Garrett correctly challenged him to shape up or risk getting shipped out, while delicately preserving Maher’s confidence after bringing his potential replacement into The Star.
“He’d be the first to tell you that he’s got to make some of the shorter intermediate range kicks that he’s missed,” Garrett said Sunday, per the team’s website. “So we’ll focus on that and try to help him in anyway way that we can.”
Provided they’re pulling from the aforementioned pool, Rose likely gets the nod if Maher’s ousted, as MacGinnis and Vizcaino have never kicked in a regular-season game.
Rose, meanwhile, played for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets and Houston Texans since entering the NFL as a 2016 undrafted free agent.
He spent eight games in 2017 as the Redskins’ primary kicker and two games last year as the Chargers’ kicker. For his career, Rose has made 11-of-14 field goal attempts, with a long of 55, and connected on 23-of-26 extra-point tries.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL