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Cowboys Make Final Decision on Starting Kicker vs. 49ers

The Dallas Cowboys are sticking with Brett Maher despite the team’s decision to sign veteran kicker Tristan Vizcaino following the four straight missed extra points. During a January 20, 2023 press conference, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that the Maher “has the ball” against the Niners.

“Yeah definitely [seen enough from Maher during practice], Brett has the ball,” McCarthy remarked when asked about Maher’s status against San Francisco. “We’re ready to go. So yeah, we’re getting ready here and today is a normal Friday. So, we’re on a normal schedule here down the stretch. We’ll have our mock game here at 11: 30. Yeah, we’re rocking and rolling.”

As gameday approaches, the Cowboys will reveal if the team will have two kickers active against San Francisco. Dallas could elevate Vizcaino from the team’s practice squad as insurance behind Maher in case the kicker struggles again versus the 49ers.

It is a difficult decision for Dallas as making two kickers active is not only rare but will take away a player from another position. The Cowboys could keep Maher as the only kicker on the active roster but go for two if the veteran struggles early against San Francisco.

Maher Bounced Back During Practice Heading Into Showdown vs. Niners

The good news for Cowboys fans is that Maher bounced back during practice. Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported that Maher was a perfect six-for-six amid windy conditions while media were present during the team’s January 19 practice.

“Cowboys kicker Brett Maher was locked in today during period of practice open to reporters,” Gehlken tweeted. “Kicking outdoors and in approximate 20 mph wind, Maher was 6-for-6. Newly signed Tristan Vizcaino unofficially missed two of five tries, one wide left and the other wide right.”

Jones Expressed Concern Over ‘Shakiness’ at Kicker

The Cowboys initially shot down the notion that the team would be in the market for a new kicker, but owner Jerry Jones later changed his tune. Jones alluded to having some long-term concern about “shakiness” at kicker as the team advances in the postseason.

“This is a classic case of looking at what he’s done for this team and done on the field all year, not just last night,” Jones said during a January 17 interview with 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan and RJ.” “And, so, but kicking is a technical thing. It has everything to do with the – just frankly mentally having it all together when you step up there. And, so, we’ll read this thing as the week goes along. I don’t want to get ahead of it.

“I thought when came out at halftime, watched him warm up out there. He was making all the kicks. I figured that was behind him, but we will take a look at it. We can’t, it would really be a big setback to go into the rest of these playoffs with shakiness at kicker.”

Fassel Believes Maher Is Dealing With the Yips

Special teams coach John Fassel admitted that he believed Maher was dealing with the yips against the Buccaneers. It is not exactly comforting information to reveal days before the team’s Divisional Round matchup against the longtime rival 49ers.

“I don’t know what it is, but I believe in the Yips, and I believe in the hot hand,” Fassel noted during a January 17 press conference. “And he had a hot hand, let’s face it, only missed four kicks all season: a P.A.T. [extra point], a 49-yarder and two 57-yarders. And then, the Yips happened, so I’d expect a hot hand coming up. And then Levi’s Stadium, in my experience there, is not an easy place to kick. There’s grass, there’s probably some conditions and there’s definitely [a] wind factor. So, let’s go. What else would we want?”

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