Tuesday, August 30, 2011
David Buehler believes he's done enough
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING -- The Cowboys have four field goal kickers in camp: David Buehler, Dan Bailey, Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner, not counting Kai Forbath, who was placed on the non-football injury reserved list Tuesday.
Rayner joined the parade Tuesday morning.
Buehler is the man who was the field goal kicker last season and converted 75 percent of his field goal tries, 10th in the NFL and fourth in the NFC.
Jason Garrett is trying to create competition at every position and Buehler is welcoming the challenge. Yet, Buehler despite some inconsistencies during camp, thinks he's earned his spot on the roster.
"I think I've done enough," Buehler said after Tuesday's practice. "I've been out two weeks and it hasn't helped my cause."
Buehler suffered a hip injury that forced him to miss the third preseason game at Minnesota, but he's expected to kick in Thursday night's preseason finale at Miami.
How the Cowboys will go about who kicks what and when vs. the Dolphins hasn't been determined, but Buehler is confident he will make the 53-man roster despite the log jam.
"It's alright," Buehler said of the team adding Rayner. "Competition brings the best out of you right now. I feel like I'm in control if I make my kicks."
Buehler said he kicked off three times and attempted 20 field goals during Tuesday's practice. He said his hip felt good after his workout.
"I'm thinking I'm a Dallas Cowboy all the way," Buehler said. "I know they're 31 other teams out there but I have to go out there and perform my best."
Buehler's specality is kickoffs and he's got 51 in his first two seasons in the NFL. The new kickoff rules, where kickoffs are pushed from the 30 to 35 yard line, could limit the number of returns in the league this season.
"Kickoff is what brought me into the league," Buehler said.
Yes, but the Cowboys have a decision to make at kicker. Should they keep two? If so, which two? Buehler is the best kickoff guy but does the team want to devote two roster spots to a kicker? Graham had a bad kickoff in practice on Tuesday, it was short of the five-yard line, prompting special teams coach Joe DeCamillis to shout some profanities.
Bailey and Forbath are rookies and it's uncertain if the team wants to keep a rookie at kicker. It did in 2007 with Nick Folk, but he later lost his confidence and was released in 2009.
Graham and Rayner are veterans. Rayner missed a field goal in the preseason for the Detroit Lions, but said he's here to win a job.
Of course, there's Buehler, who took over for Folk last year and while he had some good moments, won the Indianapolis game with an overtime kick, he missed a point-after-attempt vs. Arizona, leading to a loss.
"It certainly hurts him not having the reps in practice and the reps in the games, no question about that," Garrett said. "Our biggest thing with him and the other guys who have been banged up, is to get them healthy, so we can see them at their best once they're healthy. We have a lot of guys on our team that fight through injuries and sometimes they're not at their best."