On Tuesday, at the tail end of the Blogging The Boys writer’s roundtable show, we discussed lingering questions about this year’s Dallas Cowboys. One of those lingering questions is about the kicker. While the team has elected to leave Brandon Aubrey in camp as the sole kicker on the roster, on the show I wondered if Aubrey is indeed the answer for this team. Despite Aubrey having a solid game against the Jaguars last Saturday, he did miss an extra point, which made fans feel uneasy.
Aubrey had a very good day at Tuesday’s practice, going four-for-four in the team’s Mojo moment. Still of concern, though, is the distance of these kicks and the degree of difficulty. Those four kicks were nearly the same as an extra point, with 40 yards being the longest. When Aubrey has struggled in camp, it has been with kicks that exceed the 45-yard range.
It feels like the team is trying to build Aubrey’s confidence instead of trying their best to challenge him in more adverse situations. This is coming from a team whose special teams coordinator said that the team was considering “anybody else on earth who is not on the team” to be their kicker, and now the current kicker is unopposed in training camp.
Following the release of Tristan Vizcaino, who was competing with Aubrey, Jerry Jones intimated he was comfortable entering the season with Aubrey as the team’s kicker. It all seems presumptuous and seems as if the Cowboys are not only trying to talk themselves into Aubrey as their kicker, but talk Aubrey into Aubrey being their kicker rather than creating competition in camp.
It’s not to say that Aubrey can’t win the job or shouldn’t be given an opportunity to, but he should be given fair competition now. This Saturday, the team travels to Seattle to face the Seahawks in what always feels like a hostile environment whenever the Cowboys are in town. The Cowboys need to turn the pressure up on Aubrey a bit and see what he’s made of under pressure outside of the comfortable confines of AT&T Stadium and head coach Mike McCarthy’s manufactured Mojo Moments. A 50-yard made field goal attempt by Aubrey in front of a crowd at Lumen Field would be just the proper test that Aubrey needs to pass with flying colors.
The available veteran options, such as Mason Crosby and Robbie Gould, likely will want to avoid signing with the team and being in a kicking competition. A veteran like Nick Folk, who currently is, might not be opposed to the idea if the New England Patriots released him. Folk was drafted by the Cowboys in 2007, making the Pro Bowl that same year.
The team should give Aubrey a chance to win the job. But the team should be giving themselves (and the fans) the assurance that they did all they could to provide themselves with the best chance to win games throughout the season.