At this time last year, the Dallas Cowboys had no question with regard to their place-kicker.
Coming into his third season in the NFL, Nick Folk was a former Pro Bowler with just seven misses in his first two seasons. Of course, Folk developed a case of the yips in 2009 that blindsided the team and ultimately resulted in his departure from Dallas last December. Since then, the Cowboys have had nothing but questions in the kicking game.
The team's somewhat-scrutinized solution to this issue is to convert David Buehler from kickoff specialist to place-kicker with the help of former Dallas kicker Chris Boniol, who was brought in to advise and coach the USC product; ultimately (hopefully) molding him into an NFL field goal kicker.
The early results have Buehler, who kicked field goals at USC, flourishing through the transition. Buehler has impressed teammates and, more importantly, coaches, at this early stage by lining up and consistently nailing field goals in practice. Wade Phillips, who is wont to gush at times, recently extolled Buehler for his progress, noting that, by his count, Buehler was perfect on attempts Monday.
But Phillips knows that, at best, this is a process; at worst, it is a wild gamble, the results of which will likely remain unclear until the 2010 regular season begins. For now, Boniol, Phillips and company are intent on seeing the transition through to the end. And as of this week, they like what they see.
"We know he has the leg strength," Phillips said, per ESPNDallas.com. "We worry about him over-kicking it, trying to overpower it, but he looks like he's got his stroke down."
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