Back in 2009, long before the NFL’s competition committee voted to move kickoffs from the 25- to the 35-yard line, the Cowboys drafted David Buehler out of USC in hopes of creating more touchbacks, thereby limiting opposing teams’ chances for big kickoff returns.
Now that the change has been made, it’d stand to reason that Buehler is less of a weapon--because, well, it’s no longer all that hard to boot the ball through the back of the end zone--but Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes Buehler still gives Dallas an advantage on kickoffs.
“I really feel like Buehler is quite a weapon for us,” Jones said on 105.3 FM The Fan on Tuesday, via the Dallas Morning News. “He can and will with that strong leg that was the reason we drafted him put that ball in and through the end zone on kickoffs. That’s a big deal. That will give us field position. You start them on the 20 every time and that’s a tremendous advantage.
“Now, other teams are going to be doing the same thing, but we’ve got a strong-legged kicker that will get it.”
Dallas opted to keep two kickers this season, with Dan Bailey staying on, presumably, to kick field goals, and Buehler reverting to his original role as kickoff specialist. According to Jones, Buehler’s roster spot was never in question--though this was more the result of his leg strength than what he showed as place kicker last year and into this preseason.
“It was kind of a flip of the coin for us,” Jones said. “As we looked to last year, [Buehler] made some significant field goals for us and missed some field goals for us. I think we’ll be okay. We had good competition and I’m pretty sure that given the opportunity that we’ll be successful there.”
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