Sunday, December 20, 2009
Updated: December 21, 11:18 AM ET
Source: Folk could be out
By Calvin Watkins
The Dallas Cowboys will bring in four to five kickers to work out at Valley Ranch on Monday, according to a source close to the situation.
Former Cowboys and Washington Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham will be among the kickers looking to replace Nick Folk, who has struggled this season.
ESPN's Ed Werder first reported on Sunday that the Cowboys were leaning toward looking at other kickers.
Some in the organization believe that Folk's problems are mental and that he has shown that he can't be trusted the rest of the season, sources told Werder.
Folk has missed a field goal in his last six games and on the season has missed a league-leading 10 field goal attempts. Folk, who was a Pro Bowler in 2007, his rookie season, had made 86.8 percent of his regular-season field goal attempts in his first two years in the NFL. But he has converted just 18 of 28 (64.3 percent) in 2009.
The breaking point for the Cowboys came in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's win over the New Orleans Saints, who came into the game undefeated. Folk hit the right upright on a 24-yard attempt with 2:16 to play in the fourth quarter. As Folk came off the field, several of his teammates offered visible support, including cornerback Terence Newman, fullback Deon Anderson and quarterback Tony Romo.
After the game, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said something needed to be done with Folk.
"I just hate it for our team and I hate if for him," Jones said Saturday night. "I know how conscientious he is, but we won the game and that probably overshadows everything. I will sit down here and make a decision on this thing. I will."
The Cowboys still believe in Folk, 25, because he's young and has a strong leg. But offseason hip surgery and problems with holder Mat McBriar have led to the struggles. When the Cowboys changed holders, putting Romo in place of McBriar, for the Chargers game last week, there was a thought that his performance would improve. But Folk went 1-for-2 against the Chargers, missing on a 42-yard attempt.
Due to the hip surgery, the team might consider putting Folk on injured reserve so that he can work through his problems and return next season.
Cowboys officials believe there's a lack of quality kickers available this late in the season.
The reason Suisham is available is because of his own struggles. He was 18-for-21 this season when he was released by the Redskins. Suisham missed two field goals in a loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 22 and missed a 23-yarder in the fourth quarter in an overtime loss to the Saints on Dec. 6. He was released two days later.
The Cowboys are not considering veteran Jason Elam due to injury. He was released by Atlanta on Dec. 1 and has ties with Wade Phillips from their days with the Denver Broncos.
Recently, the Cowboys turned down a chance to sign kicker Matt Bryant, who replaced Elam in Atlanta.
Calvin Watkins covers the Dallas Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.