Cowboys Announce Surprising Move at Kicker Due to Maher’s Misses

Nick Rose

Getty Nick Rose

Brett Maher is officially on notice.

Despite the recent vote of confidence in its struggling incumbent, the Dallas Cowboys have opted to host competition for the kicker position.

Head coach Jason Garrett announced the team will work out three veteran kickers —  Nick Rose, Austin MacGinnis and Tristan Vizcaino — following Sunday’s afternoon practice, the Cowboys’ first ahead of its Thursday night matchup at Chicago.

“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.”

Rose, 25, is the biggest name of the trio, having 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.

MacGinnis and Vizcaino have never appeared in a regular-season contest.

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Cowboys Had Revealed Final Decision on Maher

Maher will live to kick another day in Dallas. That was the conclusion following his shank-filled Thanksgiving showing against the Buffalo Bills, as Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones announced there’ll be no change at the spot.

“We have confidence in Maher,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “We are going to stick with him.”

Jones stated that Dallas didn’t plan to work out free-agent kickers; it’s unclear if he had a change of heart or simply kept his cards close to his chest. It was viewed as Maher’s job to lose — and he couldn’t seem to lose it.

On a day where nothing went right for the home team, Maher missed an end-of-half field goal attempt against the Bills, due to it being deflected, then pushed a 47-yard third-quarter attempt wide right. Those six points wouldn’t have changed the result of a 26-15 loss, but it further deflated an already spiraling squad.

Mostly reliable last year, Maher has been hit-or-miss in 2019, lacking middle ground. He’s 19-for-28 on the year with a long of 63 yards, which tied an NFL record and set a new franchise mark. He’s made all of his extra-point tries — 33-for-33. 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.

Garrett Discusses Maher’s Miscues

Say this for the embattled Garrett: He isn’t settling for inconsistency on special teams. He challenged Maher to shape up or risk getting shipped out while delicately preserving Maher’s confidence should Dallas eschew its tryouts.

“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.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL