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Week 15 BTB mailbag: Brett Maher’s resurrection, and hypothetical situations on a fourth down

People have questions about the Cowboys as they prepare for the Jaguars, and we strive to provide answers.

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about the upcoming Dallas Cowboys game and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

@CraigSykes: What is the reason for Brett Maher’s improved results in his second stint with the Cowboys? Is it something physical or mental?

Brandon: Last season, when Brett Maher spent time with the New Orleans Saints, he looked like an improved kicker. He went 16 of 18 in field goal attempts in eight games. Maher’s 88.9 field goal percentage was the best of his career. When he joined the Cowboys the first time around, that was his first full season in the NFL. I’m sure there were things he needed to work on and adjust to the speed and pressure of playing at this level. Now, Maher has talked about focusing on the mental side of the game and getting more grounded as a kicker. Literally. He walks around the field barefoot before a game to feel the grass he’s kicking on. “Money” Maher has become a weapon, and the Cowboys are better for it.

Mike: The simple answer is confidence. The way to look at this is why does a kicker suddenly become a bad kicker? They haven’t forgotten how to kick the ball or what it takes to make the field goal. The part they lose is confidence and trust in their ability. Maher has a huge leg, which we’ve seen plenty of times. The issue was always getting him under control on those “bread and butter” kicks. He’s found his way, he has the confidence and is now one of the top kickers in the league. Biggest surprise of the year so far.

@OwenLandon: If Zeke on 3rd and goal with 41 seconds on the clock at 20-23 down had been stopped at the 1 yard line…. What would have been the call on 4th down…. Kick the FG and tied game to take to overtime or go for the TD on fourth down and if so what’s the play call?

Brandon: At that point, I think McCarthy goes for the win. I know momentum wasn’t on the Cowboys’ side, but McCarthy has shown to be aggressive in those situations. The Green Bay game is a prime example. He could have attempted the field goal in overtime to give the Cowboys the lead, but he felt better about going for it on fourth down. I think he would have used the logic of, “our football team is better than theirs,” and they should score a touchdown in that situation.

Mike: The Cowboys on third down, and in the red zone, are one of the best teams in the league. If I was the coach, I’m using those analytics along with how effective this team is running the ball and running that ball in from the one-yard line. The last thing I would want to do is take my chances on overtime. The running back duo at Dallas in the last three games are averaging the third most rush yards, so keep pounding and take that to the bank.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag.

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