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Dan Bailey will get his chance

8/21/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kicker David Buehler most likely will not kick in Sunday's second preseason game vs. the San Diego Chargers with a strained right hip.

That means rookie kicker Dan Bailey will get a chance to prove himself in a kicking battle that is even through two weeks of training camp and a week's worth of practices at Cowboys Stadium.

One of the keys to this battle is consistency in making field goals and placing kickoffs in the end zone.

The Cowboys know what they have in Buehler in terms of kickoffs, but field goal-wise he's been inconsistent, which prompted the team to bring in Kris Brown in the last week of the 2010 season. But the Cowboys released Brown prior to training camp and signed Bailey, a rookie from Oklahoma State who was the Lou Groza Award winner in 2010 as the best kicker in the country.

Bailey had a fast start to training camp but has struggled at times. He went 1-4 during one practice session while Buehler went 3-4.

With Buehler out this week, Bailey made three kicks during the scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers. But the preseason game is his ultimate test.

"I think you’re graded overall on your work ethic and stuff like that," Bailey said. "You get put in a game situation and they want to see how you perform. It's more pressure but little less coaching on their part. They really can't fix some things. You got to go out there and show them what you can do."

The new kickoff rules have caused some frustration among special teams coaches around the league. Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis hates the new rules because moving kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line has meant more touchbacks in the early portions of the preseason. The NFL changed the rules to prevent injuries.

Bailey, who is trying to win a job, would have two areas to show his skills, field goals and kickoffs under the old set of rules.

"It goes against what you want to do," he said. "You just want to kick it to the back of the end zone. They want high kicks so they can cover and I understand the science behind it and I just do what they tell me and that’s the best thing for me."