Monday, December 21, 2009
Source: Suisham among candidates
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys confirmed that they would bring several kickers to their practice facility to work out but declined to name the candidates to replace Nick Folk.
"It doesn't help us to tell anything about how we're going to go through this," said Stephen Jones, the team's executive vice president and director of player personnel. "It doesn't help us. I'll let you know when we make a decision on who it is or what we're going to do about it."
The Cowboys are taking the drastic measure of searching for a kicker in December after Folk has missed field goals in the last six games. Folk has missed seven of his last 11 attempts, including a 24-yard attempt Saturday night that gave the New Orleans Saints an opportunity for a potential tying two-minute drill. Folk, a 2007 Pro Bowler, is 18-of-28 this season after missing only seven attempts in his first two seasons.
A source said that Shaun Suisham, who was released by the Washington Redskins earlier this month, would be one of the kickers to work out for the Cowboys. Suisham was 18-of-21 this season, but his three misses cost the Redskins two wins. He missed from 39 and 50 yards in a 7-6 loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 22 and from 23 yards in a Dec. 6 overtime loss to the Saints.
The Cowboys would not confirm that they would replace Folk, but it appears unlikely that he will attempt another field goal for them this season. Phillips said Folk would not compete against the kicker who work out for the team.
Two weeks ago, the Cowboys changed holders, replacing punter Mat McBriar with quarterback Tony Romo in hopes that it would restore Folk's confidence. He missed a 42-yard attempt just before halftime of a 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers, prompting owner/general manger Jerry Jones to proclaim that the holder wasn't the problem.
Last week, the Cowboys held an in-house competition between Folk and rookie kickoff specialist David Buehler. However, Buehler is not consistent or accurate enough to be a viable option on field goals.
"It's kind of been a mystery for us," Phillips said. "We tried to work it out a lot of different ways. We tried a different holder, we tried a kicking competition, we tried a lot of different things. Now it's come to this point."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.