Dallas Cowboys: What kicker Brett Maher must do to overcome shaky start to NFL season
Maher has missed three field goals this season – including a 33-yard attempt last week against the Packers to end the Cowboys’ hopes of victory
The Dallas Cowboys kicker had unintentionally thrown himself into the firing line in the immediacy of the 34-24 defeat that appeared closer than it actually was. Kicking is a thankless task and Maher drew the ire of the fans in the aftermath, despite Dak Prescott faltering for so long as Aaron Rodgers piled up a 31-3 lead.
Maher dethroned Dan Bailey last season, to the dismay of many in Dallas who had grown to adore him over seven seasons. A cheaper option with the upside to thump the ball between the sticks from distances most teams would punt from, Maher quickly justified the decision.
But a shaky start this year, with three misses already, has compromised his job and attracted intense scrutiny. The particular nature of being a kicker is that a poor run of form may not just result in you coming off the field, but brutally being cast out to the streets.
Jerry Jones admitted this week that Dallas have been “spoiled” with their trust in the past with Bailey, and instead of heaping pressure on Maher, Jason Garrett‘s side should just “get it in the end zone”.
But Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen maintains the fact that Maher is even a topic of conversation with the billionaire owner is bad news.
“Any time the owner talks about, not looking for a kicker, he knows damn well they’re looking for a kicker,” Andersen, an ambassador for betting comparison site BonusCodeBets.co.uk, claimed. “When an owner starts talking about the position, it’s almost never good.
“Brett’s situation hasn’t been helped by succeeding Bailey, he was there for so long and was very successful.
“But what Brett can do is control two things as an athlete: effort and attitude, everything else is white noise. You can’t control the weather, the field conditions, being away or home, night or day.
“He needs to own his work bench, define that area where the ball is put down; define it, train it, own it. Make sure your positive behaviour becomes dominant.
“Like Michael Jordan closing his eyes at the free-throw line and making it – that’s unconscious competence.”
The Cowboys should not need Maher against the New York Jets on Sunday.
The perilous nature of being a kicker means Maher will remain an engrossing watch until he proves decisive in the next pressure moment.