Dallas Cowboys: Shaun Suisham

Former Cowboys still playing

January, 6, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- One of Jason Garrett’s final messages to the Cowboys’ players on Monday was to watch the playoffs and let the feeling burn a little and serve as motivation in the offseason.

If the players take Garrett up on that message, then they will see some familiar faces playing or coaching on wild-card weekend. There are 10 former players among the six teams playing this weekend and five former coaches.

Cincinnati – Mike Zimmer, Pacman Jones, Dennis Roland
Pittsburgh – Shaun Suisham
Houston – Wade Phillips, Reggie Herring, Bobby King
New York GiantsChris Canty. (Isaiah Stanback is on the practice squad.)
Detroit – Bobby Carpenter, Leonard Davis, Stephen Peterman
New Orleans – Pat McQuistan, Scott Shanle, Sean Payton

Only Denver and Atlanta do not have former Cowboys players and coaches.

Suisham thankful for chance with Steelers

February, 2, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The life of a NFL kicker is a strange one.

You can be a hero or a goat. You can be called washed up or be called reliable.

Shaun Suisham is now considered reliable as he kicks for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Suisham's 2009 season was filled with issues. He started the season with the Washington Redskins and made 18-of-21 field goals but some critical misses in November and December forced the team to release him. The Cowboys picked him up when Nick Folk was having his stuggles and David Buehler wasn't ready to take over.

Suisham made two-of-three kicks for the Cowboys in the late stages of the regular season, but in the post season he struggled. After making both of his kicks in the playoff victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, Suisham converted just one-of-three field goal tries in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Suishman missed from 48 and 49 yards and following the game it was clear the Cowboys were still searching for a kicker.

Suishman was out of a job until November when the Steelers signed him to the active roster and since then he's made 14-of-15 field goals in the regular season and he's made two of three kicks in the postseason.

"You see how often changes are made due to performance or injury every year at the kicking spot," Suishman said. "And you don't carry backups, so when it does happen, obviously people take notice. I don't know if it happens more at the kicking position or if it's just more obvious for the reasons I said. Three months ago, I was out of work. You get used to playing football, that's what you do, and you worked for it every week. When you're out of it, certainly it's uncomfortable when Sundays come around and you're at home."

As for his time with the Cowboys, Suisham said he enjoyed his team with the team, but understood the business side of things.

"I thought I would have played sooner this year than I did, but when you're on the outside looking in, you don't necessarily control that," he said. "But then once the opportunity came up with the Steelers, I was very excited about it because I knew this was a very real possibility."

Wrapping up N. Texas Super Bowl ties

January, 24, 2011
Longtime Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams’ return to JerryWorld with the Steelers will be the top local angle among Super Bowl stories.

[+] EnlargeAdams
Icon SMIFormer Cowboys lineman Flozell Adams will be returning to Cowboys Stadium, but this time with the Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl XLV.
Adams, who made five Pro Bowls in 12 seasons with the Cowboys before being cut last offseason, is one of several Steelers and Packers with Metroplex ties. In fact, it can be argued that he isn’t even the former Cowboys draft pick who made the biggest impact in his team getting to this point. A quick rundown of those players:

Steelers K Shaun Suisham: Suisham has had three stints with the Cowboys, the most recent coming after they cut Nick Folk in 2009. The Cowboys opted not to re-sign him last offseason, and he spent most of the season out of football. The Steelers signed him in November after cutting longtime kicker Jeff Reed. Suisham is 16-of-18 on field goals for Pittsburgh, including 2-of-3 in the playoffs.

Steelers LT Jonathan Scott: He was an All-American at Carter High in Dallas and played for Texas. Scott, a fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2006, has been a starter most of his first season in Pittsburgh because of injuries.

Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders: The Steelers selected Sanders in the third round in April, making him the highest draft pick out of SMU since before the NCAA-induced Death Penalty. He made significant contributions as a rookie, catching 28 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns and averaging 25.1 yards per kickoff return.

[+] EnlargeGraham Harrett
Denny Medley/US PresswireEnnis product Graham Harrell will be returning home as the Packers come to Arlington for Super Bowl XLV. The former Texas Tech QB was promoted to the Packers' active roster after starter Aaron Rodgers was injured last month.
Packers OLB Erik Walden: He was the Cowboys’ only draft pick in 2008 not to make the team. The sixth-round pick is now starting opposite Clay Matthews, although Walden’s status for the Super Bowl is in question after he injured his ankle in the NFC championship game. He played primarily special teams in stints with Kansas City and Miami and signed with the injury-plagued Packers in October after the Dolphins waived him. He’s earned his playoff checks. Walden was named the NFC defensive player of the week after the Packers’ playoff-clinching win over Chicago in the season finale, when he had 12 tackles and the first three sacks of his career. He also had a sack and forced fumble in the Wild Card win over the Eagles.

Packers QB Graham Harrell: The Ennis and Texas Tech product holds a long list of Texas high school and NCAA passing records, but he had to get into the NFL the hard way. He didn’t even get an invitation to an NFL training camp in 2009, which he spent in Canada. He spent most of this season on the Packers’ practice squad, getting promoted to the active roster when Aaron Rodgers was injured last month.

Packers S Charlie Peprah: The Plano East product moved into the starting lineup when rookie Morgan Burnett suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4. Peprah, 27, played the first three seasons of his career for the Packers before getting cut last year after a knee injury and signing with Atlanta. He returned to Green Bay for the veteran’s minimum salary and produced 63 tackles and two interceptions this season.

Packers RB Dimitri Nance: Nance rushed for more than 3,000 yards during Euless Trinity’s first state championship season. He has yet to crack triple digits in the NFL. He rushed for 95 yards on 36 carries this season for the Packers, who signed Nance off of Atlanta’s practice squad.

Day 1 recap: Mandatory minicamp

June, 11, 2010
IRVING -- Here's some highlights of the first day of the mandatory minicamp at Valley Ranch.

*Miles Austin signed his first-and-third round tender offer, worth $3.168 million. Earlier in the day, Austin asked for some press and he's getting it now. The Cowboys will work on a long-term deal for Austin but are in no rush. The team has signed 12 of the 13 restricted free agents with kicker Shaun Suisham the only player not receiving a tender.

*Dez Bryant missed the morning session of the mandatory minicamp but returned for the second practice and should make both sessions on Saturday. Bryant is running hard and doesn't appear to have any problems cutting on his left leg. The team trainers wanted to give Bryant an extra day of rest before sending him back onto the field. He missed Wednesday's and Thursday's organized team activities due to the hamstring.

*Keith Brooking (knee) and Jay Ratliff (elbow) returned to practices after recovering from offseason surgeries. Brooking only practiced in the morning while Ratliff made both sessions. It will go the same way on Saturday.

*Mat McBriar said he will return as the holder. He lost the job to Tony Romo with four games remaining in the 2009 regular season when kicker Nick Folk expressed frustration with McBriar. But with Folk gone, the team is asking David Buehler to become the field goal kicker. McBriar said things are going fine in practice as the holder.

*Wade Phillips said backup cornerbacks (Cletis Gordon, Marquis Floyd, Jamar Wall and Bryan McCann) have been "up and down." The Cowboys are looking for a fourth corner on their roster.

*Left guard Kyle Kosier saw some first-team snaps at center. With Kosier at center, Montrae Holland moved in at left guard. Also seeing time at center is Travis Bright and Phil Costa.

*During several 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, the Cowboys mixed their inside linebackers between Bradie James, Sean Lee, Jason Williams and Brooking. During one 11-on-11, James, Lee, Brooking were the inside linebackers with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer the outside linebackers.

*Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder), Orlando Scandrick (finger) and Stephen Hodge (knee) missed both practices. Sandrick said the splint on his left index finger gets off June 28 and he should be ready for training camp. Owusu-Ansah will start lifting weights next week.

*Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he will speak with reporters on Saturday. Also, the second practice will be held at Cowboys Stadium. ... The second-team tackles are Alex Barron (left) and Robert Brewster (right). ... Jason Hatcher got some first-team reps at defensive end over Igor Olshansky.

Browns pick up free agent Suisham

May, 19, 2010
Free agent kicker Shaun Suisham, who made 20 of 24 field goals last season between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, was picked up by the Cleveland Browns.

Browns veteran Phil Dawson skipped the team's voluntary workouts in an apparent contract dispute. The second-leading scorer in Cleveland history, Dawson has been seeking a new contract from the Browns for a few years. He also sat out last season's OTAs.

Suisham was cut by the Redskins after missing a 23-yard attempt in a game the Redskins lost to New Orleans in overtime. He also missed from 39 and 50 yards in a 7-6 loss to Dallas, which later signed him.
[+] EnlargeShaun Suisham
Elsa/Getty ImagesShaun Suisham, on his second tour with the Cowboys, may find himself on the outside looking in.
NFL teams have to submit qualifying offers today to restricted free agents whose contracts expired and to whom they desire to retain at right of first refusal/compensation.

The Cowboys have 13 such individuals they must take care of.

We look at which ones might not return:

Safety Cletis Gordon saw limited playing time and the Cowboys will probably draft a corner.

Tackle Pat McQuistan hasn't seen much time, and the emergence of Doug Free at tackle hurts his chances.

Guard/center Duke Preston has a shot to stick around, but Cory Procter gets his spot. The team likely will find a replacement for Preston.

We think nose tackle Junior Siavii is going to stay, but the Cowboys might look elsewhere.

Kicker Shaun Suisham is a good guy, but his two missed field goals in the playoff loss to the Vikings eliminates his chances.

Free agent series: Kickers

March, 3, 2010
Today is Day 3 of our free agent series. We look at an area that is a concern: kicking.

[+] EnlargeDavid Buehler
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesDavid Buehler will try to add field goals to his kickoff duties.
The Cowboys struggled in the kicking game last season. They cut Nick Folk after he led the NFL with 10 missed kicks. Shaun Suisham was signed and went 2-for-3 during the regular season, but Suisham missed two field goal attempts in the playoff loss to Minnesota. The Cowboys are back to square one with David Buehler and Connor Hughes, who will battle for the job.

The free agents: Shaun Suisham is a restricted free agent.

Should they bring him back? The team has no plans to do so. When Suisham left Valley Ranch following the season he said he wasn't sure if he would return.

What the Cowboys should do? Dallas is going to hope Buehler or Hughes can take over the field goal duties. Chris Boniol was hired as a consulant for Buehler, who was a kickoff specalist last year.

Who else is out there? Jerry Jones basically said the team won't go into free agency and sign a kicker. Matt Stover, a Lake Highlands High School grad, is an unrestricted free agent and could finish his career in Dallas. It appears doubtful.

Restricted FAs include 'few head-scratchers'

February, 26, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Dallas Cowboys have some decisions to make before the March 4 deadline to put tenders on restricted free agents.

"We have a few head-scratchers we have to decide on," executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

Jones said the Cowboys won't tender at least one of their 13 restricted free agents. It's safe to assume that he was referring to kicker Shaun Suisham.

It's also safe to assume that receiver Miles Austin will get the highest tender, meaning the Cowboys would receive first- and third-round picks in the unlikely scenario that they don't match an offer he receives from another team.

The Cowboys definitely want to deep safety Gerald Sensabaugh and defensive linemen Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher. They have to decide how best to do that.

Last season, the Cowboys might have overpaid by putting the second-round tender on players such as Cory Procter and Sam Hurd, who restricted free agents again. But that doesn't mean it was bad business. The Cowboys were willing to pay a little more to make sure they didn't have to worry about other teams poaching their restricted free agents.

Cowboys position series: Specialists

February, 25, 2010
The last in a series looking at each Cowboys position group:

Players: P Mat McBriar (signed through 2011), K David Buehler (signed through 2012), LS L.P. Ladouceur (signed through 2012), K Shaun Suisham (restricted free agent),

[+] EnlargeMat McBriar
Kyle Terada/US PresswireThe Cowboys downed 38 of Mat McBriar's punts inside the 20.
What went right: The Cowboys dominated the field position battle on a consistent basis due to the kicking game.

Buehler proved that a fifth-round pick on a kickoff specialist can be a wise investment. He consistently boomed kickoffs into the end zone, with a league-high 29 touchbacks. The opponents’ average field position after kickoffs was inside the 23-yard line, which ranked second in the league and was an improvement of more than 6 yards from 2008.

McBriar was the only punter in the league to pin opponents inside the 20 more than half the time, doing so on 38 of his 72 punts with only three touchbacks. He ranked among the NFL’s top 10 in punting average (45.1) and net average (39.9).

What went wrong: Field goals were a season-long adventure.

The Cowboys were basically forced to cut Nick Folk after a span in which he missed seven of 11 attempts. His final kick as a Cowboy was a 24-yard attempt that clanked off the upright in New Orleans, leaving the door open for a Saints comeback.

Suisham, who missed two field goals in the playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings, was better but didn’t solve the problem.

McBriar took some of the blame as the holder, resulting in Tony Romo taking over those duties, but it became clear that the kicker was the problem.

What’s next: The Cowboys told Buehler, who has a strong but erratic leg, to focus on field goals this offseason. He’ll compete with Connor Hughes, one of the kickers the Cowboys brought in for a workout after cutting Folk, for the field goals job.

The Cowboys would prefer not to use another draft pick on a kicker after selecting one in two of the last three years. They’ve hired ex-Cowboy Chris Boniol as a kicking consultant to work with Buehler and Hughes.

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.

Vikings are ahead, 7-0, after one quarter

January, 17, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS -- It is loud here in the Metrodome, but the Cowboys have been able to move the ball into Vikings territory on three first quarter possessions.

All they have to show for it is a missed 48-yard field goal as they trail 7-0.

Cowboys kicker Shaun Suisham was wide left on a 48-yarder that would have given his team an early lead. The Cowboys bypassed a fourth-and-1 situation at the Vikings 38 to attempt the kick. It was Suisham's first miss of the postseason.

The Vikings got going on some miscommunication in the Cowboys secondary.
Brett Favre threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh lined up at the line of scrimmage then backed up into coverage while cornerback Terence Newman let Rice go right by him. Sensabaugh, to his credit, was right there with Rice. But Rice caught the pass for the score.

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.
ARLINGTON – The end came on a thrilling 73 yard touchdown run by Felix Jones with 5:33 to play in the third quarter.

It made Jerry Jones high-five a former president and Emmitt Smith high-five his daughter.

It was the clincher.

Or you could say it was the ending.

Dallas ended the sixth-longest active playoff drought in the NFL with a 34-14 smashing of the Eagles on Sunday night in front of 92,951 fans at Cowboys Stadium.

The Cowboys hadn’t won a playoff game since 1996.

It was also Wade Phillips’ first playoff victory as a head coach (1-4).

It was also Tony Romo’s first playoff victory (1-2).

It was the first time Andy Reid had lost a wild card playoff game (4-1).

You could say it was historic.

And the Cowboys did it in the biggest stadium in the league. All the demons the Cowboys have battle though in their postseason history since 1996 ended.

You had hope when the Cowboys won their final two regular season games in 1998 only to get beat by Arizona in the NFC wild card game, 20-7.

Do you remember Troy Aikman’s last playoff game with the Cowboys in 1999 when he went 22 of 38 yards for 286 with no touchdowns and one interception?

Did you believe in Quincy Carter’s future after he led the Cowboys to the postseason in the 2003 season?

Dallas lost at Carolina that year, 29-10. Were you heartbroken as Tony Romo was in 2006 when he fumbled that snap on a potential game-winning field goal at Seattle?

Disbelief. Was that the word that popped into your head after the Cowboys, as the No. 1 seed got beat by the Giants, 21-17 in 2007?

And now, how do you feel after the Cowboys have just ended this winless drought in the postseason?

Dallas took control of this game in the first half.

Rookie tight end John Phillips caught a one-yard touchdown pass, Tashard Choice scored on a one-yard run, Shaun Suisham made two field goals and Miles Austin, the SI coverboy, caught a six yard score to set the tone.

But if was Jones' burst, which made a few people in the suites of Cowboys Stadium stand up and cheer. Yes, the Cowboys are moving on.

News & views: Choice to practice

January, 7, 2010
IRVING -- Wade Phillips said the plan is for backup running back Tashard Choice (post concussion syndrome) to practice on Thursday after missing Tuesday and Wednesday's sessions.

Staring right tackle Marc Colombo (ankle and leg) will also practice and will start. But Doug Free, who started seven games for Colombo as he recovered from injuries, could also play.

"We have to substitute some for him," Phillips said of Colombo.

Safety Pat Watkins (knee) should practice some and is a game-time decision.

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has made some biting comments about the Cowboys in the last few days. You can go here for the breakdown.

Phillips said he's not concerned about it.
"That's fine. What tells is the game itself and we all know that," Phillips said. "The verbal words don't do it a whole lot, it's the war on the field that makes a difference and hopefully we will respond that way."

This will be kicker Shaun Suisham's second career playoff game. In 2007, while playing for the Redskins, Suisham missed a 30-yard field goal at Seattle.

Now, Suisham gets another chance at the playoffs. He said he's confident in his abilities, but in the last regular season game of the season, Suisham went 1-for-2, missing a 30 yarder.

The lack of playoff experience is a issue.

"This is what we're going with," Phillips said of the kicker. "Just have to go on what the guy has done and what we feel. It's always a concern. I think he's working hard, that's what he's doing."

Phillips has a cold that has hit the coaching staff, but not the players.

Practice: Choice back; Suisham perfect

January, 6, 2010
ARLINGTON -- Running back Tashard Choice (concussion) returned to practice on Wednesday and could be limited in what he does. Choice was rehabbing just before team drills were about to start at Cowboys Stadium.

Starting right tackle Marc Colombo (ankle and leg) worked with the first team again in practice. Before practice started, Colombo said he felt "amazing" to be back on the field. He's missed the last seven games due to his leg injuries and expects to start Saturday vs. the Eagles.

If he has any problems, Doug Free will take over. The only concern regarding Colombo is conditioning.

During the 20 minute open media period, kicker Shaun Suisham went four-for-four on field goal tries. He made kicks from 28, 34, 40 and 48 yards.

Backup kicker David Buehler, who has struggled to make field goals during practice, made both his kicks from 42 and 55 yards.

After Buehler made the 55-yarder he received a loud cheer from his teammates. Safety Pat Watkins (knee) was another participant of practice, but his status on what he can do in practice is uncertain.

The Cowboys will practice again at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday.