That David Buehler, who was drafted out of USC as a kick-off specialist, is splitting time with Nick Folk in practice on Tuesday could signal a change in Dallas's suddenly struggling kicking game. The two kickers said that they were told on Tuesday that they would share field goal attempts in practice throughout the week.
The incumbent Nick Folk has been struggling mightily of late, missing six of his last nine attempts. Folk has eight misses on the season after going one for two in the loss to San Diego, one more than he missed in his first two seasons combined. For the former Pro Bowler Folk, the addition of Buehler to the mix could represent a positive bit of motivation, or the beginning of the end.
"I've been told from people, from upper-management, I should go out there and start warming up and start kicking and stuff," Buehler said before Tuesday's practice. "Nick's the field goal kicker as of now. It's his job to lose, but I'm going to push him and compete."
Buehler said that, beyond helping the team down the stretch this season, mastering the art of kicking field goals could have a positive effect on his NFL career.
"Eventually, to have longevity in this league, I need to be able to kick field goals," Buehler said. "I'm not going to be a kickoff specialist my whole career. So I need to fine-tune that and be able to be a reliable field-goal kicker."
For Folk, the challenge is remaining confident in the face of scrutiny, the likes of which he hasn't seen in two and a half years in the league. "You've just got to know that you can do it," Folk said, "then tell yourself you can do it and go out there and do it again."