Dallas Cowboys: Neil Rackers

Cowboys future focus: K David Buehler

January, 25, 2011
Future Focus

Position: Kicker
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225
College: USC
How acquired: 2009, fifth-round pick

[+] Enlarge David Buehler
Geoff Burke/US PresswireDavid Buehler missed eight field goal attempts in 2010, ranking 13th in the league with a 75 percent conversion rate. The Cowboys signed Kris Brown to be his competition for 2011.
What he did in 2010: David Buehler converted 75 percent of his field goal attempts in his first year on the job, which tied for 13th among NFL kickers. Buehler continues to display his strong leg -- he made four of six kicks of 50 yards or more -- but his inconsistency shook the Cowboys' confidence in him. Of his eight misses, five were to the right. He missed a game-tying attempt vs. New Orleans, and his missed PAT vs. Arizona led to another loss. But Buehler won games vs. Washington and Indianapolis with fourth quarter field goals. He struggled on makeable kicks, missing three of seven tries between 30-39 yards. His kickoffs were strong once again and he's a good tackler, but he has to take the next step and become an accomplished field goal kicker.

What to look for in 2011: Competiton. The Cowboys brought in Kris Brown to compete with Buehler for the field goal job. Brown is a veteran who has made big kicks in his career, but his struggles in 2009 forced the Houston Texans to open the job up to competition, which he lost to Neil Rackers. Brown will be given the chance to win the field goal job in training camp, and it's unknown if the Cowboys will go with two kickers in 2011.

Quotable: “I’m obviously curious about my future but I haven’t asked [about it] no. I hope they give me a chance. I’ve proven I can get the job done. I’ve been through some ups and down and learned from it. This season has definitely been a building year and I feel like I’ve been through pretty much every scenario a kicker can go through in one year. I’ve learned how to overcome them, how to take the positive out of negative situations." - David Buehler

Bryan Broaddus’ Scout’s Eye: There is still that doubt with him. Yeah, you can put him out for a long field goal and you have a good opportunity to make it. But where kickers make their money is between 40-49 yards, and there is some concern there with him. That's the thing that bothers me the most. If you don't have a guy who is consistent between 40-49 yards, I don't know how you can live like that every week.

Kicker move is positive step

December, 31, 2010
The signing of Kris Brown is a step in the right direction for the Cowboys. It means the team is finally doing something to its roster regarding inconsistent play, which it's seen from David Buehler, and making moves to that effect sends a message.

Buehler's missed point-after attempt on Christmas night was one of the reasons the Cowboys lost to Arizona and was just too much to handle.

Sure Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett offered support for Buehler after the game, but the reality is going forward the team can't trust him.

This has been a season of disappointment, and the front office needed to start making moves that tell the players and fans a double-digit loss season isn't acceptable.

Now we're only talking about a kicker here, but one who is unreliable causes headaches for teams.
Brown had his own problems last season. He made a career-low 65.6 percent of his field goals for the Houston Texans, which prompted a training camp battle with Neil Rackers.

Brown was the only kicker in Texans history until some critical misses cost his team games last year. It eventually cost him his job with the Texans. In a brief stint for San Diego this season, Brown went 4-for-5 on field goal tries.

The Cowboys, we believe, know what they're getting in Brown and the two-year contract he's going to sign on Friday means there will be a legit training camp battle with Buehler.

In the last two seasons, the Cowboys have made 44 field goals, tied for 23rd in the NFL, and their 71-percent field goal percentage is second to last in the league.

Buehler and the now departed Nick Folk, who is with the New York Jets, are the reasons for the poor field goal numbers. At a certain point, a team needs to solve it's problems, and the move for Brown is an excellent decision.

Cowboys-Texans: Welcome to Reliant

August, 28, 2010
HOUSTON -- The Cowboys are back in Texas after spending nearly two weeks in Southern California to finish training camp.

Tonight, the Cowboys (2-1) face the Texans (0-2) in their fourth preseason game of the year. Here's what's going on in the battle for the Governor's Cup.

Cowboys update: The Cowboys expect to play their starters for at least a half and the first-team offense will be closely watched. Its scored only one touchdown, coming last week at San Diego. While the Cowboys are working with a limited offense, there are some expectations to produce points. There are a few roster spots available, including veterans Pat Watkins and Sam Hurd playing for their jobs with a few rookies, Barry Church and Danny McCray in the mix for them.

Injuries: Dez Bryant (ankle), Kyle Kosier (knee), Marcus Spears (knee), Gerald Sensabaugh (shoulder), Keith Brooking (shoulder), Marc Colombo (knee) will not play this evening.

Players to watch: David Buehler didn't kick last week and he's got two more opportunities to prove himself in the preseason. It appears he will get the job, but coach Wade Phillips has not yet given his stamp of approval.

Texans update: Like the Cowboys, the Texans will use the first-team offense a lot in the first half tonight. Matt Schaub and his high-powered offense has scored just 36 points this summer, third fewest in the AFC. Last year, the Texans scored a franchise-best 388 points. The Texans have a kicking battle brewing between Kris Brown and Neil Rackers. Neither one has missed a kick this preseason. Brown was the only kicker last year until problems surfaced, forcing coach Gary Kubiak to look elsewhere.

Player to watch: Steve Slaton has struggled, averaging 2.7 yards per carry, and that's not acceptable for the Texans. With the offense having some issues, Slaton will get a few more chances to produce.

Scouts: The following teams were scheduled to send scouts/personnel people to the game: Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Texans not expected to play: Andre Davis, Trindon Holliday, BenTate, Xavier Adibi, Owen Daniels (Active PUP) and Anthony Hill (Active PUP).

Officials: Walt Anderson (referee), Bill Schuster (umpire), Phillip McKinnely (head linesman), Byron Boston (line judge), Jimmy Buchanan (field judge), James Coleman (side judge), Billy Smith (back judge), Dale Hamer (replay).

Pregame note: Bryant was running routes before the game. He wasn't running hard, but he was doing some things and looked pretty good. He's getting closer to returning, maybe for a few plays in the last preseason game vs. Miami.

Kicker options are interesting for Dallas

February, 4, 2010
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Cowboys need a kicker.

Like, today.

Nick Folk was cut after missing an NFL-high 10 kicks in 2009. The team signed Shaun Suisham, but his return to the Cowboys is doubtful after he missed two attempts in the playoff loss to the Vikings. Suisham is a restricted free agent.

But there are some interesting names on the unrestricted free agent list for the Cowboys to sign. Neil Rackers, Shayne Graham, Matt Stover, Jay Feely, Sebastian Janikowski, Jeff Reed and Olindo Mare are a few.

Stover is playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday and is from Lake Highlands. He said it's always been a dream to play for the Cowboys. But age, 42, and the fact he doesn't have a strong leg, raises some concerns.

The Cowboys could also bring Folk back, but that appears doubtful. He blamed his holder, Mat McBriar for his problems, when clearly it was Folk who lost confidence in himself. If he regains it, he will be solid. Coming into the 2009 season, Folk made 86.8 percent of his kicks. But this season, Folk made just 64.3 percent of his kicks, good for 20th in the league.

Missed field goals over the weekend

January, 11, 2010
There were some concerns about Cowboys kicker Shaun Suisham going into the playoffs and with good reason. In his only playoff appearance, 2007 with the Redskins, he was wide left on a 30-yarder.

But on Saturday night, Suisham made field goals of 25 and 48 yards in the wild card win over the Eagles.

Makes the Cowboys almost forget about Nick Folk, who led the NFL with 10 missed field goals.

Kickers were at the forefront of some bad misses on Sunday.

Arizona's Neil Rackers shanked a 34-yarder that would have given the Cardinals the lead over the Packers in the closing moments. Arizona would go on to win that game in overtime.

Earlier on Sunday, Cincinnati kicker Shayne Graham missed field goals of 35 and 28 yards. Now, the New York Jets were beating the Bengals pretty good but one of Graham's misses would have cut the deficit to seven.