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Friday, May 14, 2010
David Buehler is the kicker. Should the Cowboys worry?

By Calvin Watkins

Last season the field goal kicker was the only negative you could find with the Cowboys.

Nick Folk missed a NFL-high 10 field goal attempts and Shaun Suisham, who replaced him went 2-of-3 in the regular season, but his two missed field goals in the playoff loss to Minnesota ended his time in Dallas.

So the Cowboys elected to go with David Buehler, who was drafted in 2009 as a kickoff specialists. In his last season at USC, Buehler made 9-of-13 field goal attempts missing three of his last four kicks. And where did he miss those kicks? He missed three field goals against UCLA all within the 40-yard range.

Buehler went 2-of-5 from 40-49 yards in his final year at USC.

The last time Buehler made a 40-yard field goal was Oct. 25, 2008 at Arizona, which was a 43-yarder.

Should the Cowboys worry about Buehler?

Chris Boniol was hired to help Buehler improve his field goal kicking. During the season when the Cowboys had this open tryout, Buehler didn't perform well. It wasn't an injury that hurt him, he hadn't practiced it if at all because he was working on kickoffs and being a strong special teams tackler.

Now, Boniol has Buehler kicking twice a week at Valley Ranch to get ready for the task at hand.

"When I came here I progressed in leaps and bounds from where I started," Buehler said. "I'm lucky to have him as a coach. He's got me on the right track and I'm confident in my kicking and I'm kicking twice a week right now."

The Cowboys added to the kicking situation by signing Connor Hughes, who knows he's the underdog in this.

Yet, Buehler welcomes Hughes as helping him in this battle.

"I want to set my goals high and strive to be the best," he said. "To have a long career in the NFL, you got to put the ball through the posts. In reality it's to put three points on the board when you need it and that’s what I'm able to do."

Of all the things the Cowboys need to work on this year, left tackle, safety, wide receiver, more cornerbacks, the kicker might be overlooked.