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Sunday, August 28, 2011
Kicking game remains unsettled

By Calvin Watkins

MINNEAPOLIS -- David Buehler is out with a hip flexor and needs to return quickly to have any hope of securing kicking duties for the Cowboys.

Veteran Shayne Graham made a 38-yard field goal Saturday night against the Vikings, and the rookie from Oklahoma State, Dan Bailey, made two -- from 37 and 41 yards. Graham sent three of his six kickoffs into the end zone.

Buehler is doing some light kicking as he recovers from his hip issue, but with one preseason game left, the competition for the kicking job is turning into a two-man race.

"It was good to see our kickers get some work, obviously kicking off and the extra points and field goals," coach Jason Garrett said. "You want to see them out there in live action and see if they can take the work they're doing on the practice field to the game field. It seemed like each of them handled it well."

Kickoffs are Buehler's speciality. He has 51 touchbacks the last two seasons. However, with the NFL moving the kickoffs from the 30- to the 35-yard line, having a kickoff specialist isn't that big of a deal now. Making field goals is -- and Buehler has been inconsistent at that.

Last season, his first as the full-time kicker, Buehler made 75 percent of his field-goal tries.

The Cowboys want something better, and that's why there's a competition for the kicking job.

And after Saturday night, it appears the position is still unsettled.