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Dallas Cowboys put struggling kicker Maher on notice, work out 3 possible replacements

Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Football

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have finally put shaky kicker Brett Maher on notice, though nothing will change at the moment.

The Cowboys worked out three kickers after practice on Sunday in an attempt to replace the unreliable Maher who has missed nine kicks this season, including two in the 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day.

With the Cowboys (6-6) possibly needing to win their final four games to secure the NFC East and make the playoffs, starting Thursday against the Chicago Bears, they can take no more chances with Maher without looking at a possible replacement.

The Cowboys worked out Austin MacGinnis, Nick Rose and Tristan Vizcaino. MacGinnis was recently drafted by the Dallas Renegades of the XFL. Rose is a former Texas Longhorns kicker, who has been with six teams in his career and has made 11 of 14 field goal attempts.

The Cowboys didn't sign any of them.

But the Cowboys' decision to work kickers because of a waning confidence in Maher is a 180-degree turn from their statements Friday, one day after the Bills game, when they said they were sticking with the struggling kicker, whose success rate on kicks is now 67.9% on the season.

"Brett is someone who has been a good kicker for us," Jason Garrett said Friday in a conference call with reporters. "He made a lot of big kicks for us over the last couple of years. Obviously you need to make the kicks from the game yesterday, and some of the other ones that he's missed over the course of the season. We'll always continue to evaluate that situation. We believe in him, and we believe he can do the job for us, and that's an ongoing process for us."

On Sunday, Garrett was singing a different tune when asked if Maher's struggles impact his decisions to try kicks or play calling.

"You know, that's certainly is a factor but if it gets to a point where it's impacting you too much, you probably should have a new kicker," said Garrett before announcing the news on the workouts. "We're actually going to have a kicker workout today after practice at 1:45. Bringing three different kickers in. Not to say we're making that decision. We just want to see these guys if we were bringing in other players at other positions."

 

Maher had no reaction about the kicker tryouts when asked in the locker room after practice.

"My focus is on what I can do to make my next kick," Maher said.

Maher also doesn't think he's kicked that bad, saying he's kicked well in practice all season and the majority of his misses have come from long range or in bad weather, which is understandable to him.

"Yeah I mean a lot of them have been from long range," Maher said. "You throw some weather in New England, too. For the most part, I feel like I've been in pretty good control of my ball. Just let a couple get away from me at some untimely spots. Unfortunately, that's the business that we live in."

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