It's officially the offseason and that means it is time to start figuring out which current Cowboys should be looking for new employment in 2011. In the spirit of the Clash, we're asking "Should He Stay or Should He Go." Next up is David Buehler.
Name: David Buehler
If He Goes, Will There Be Trouble?: The biggest thing you'd lose if Buehler wasn't the kicker next season is the potential for a 56-yard field goal to win a game as time runs out. That's a nice skill to have in your arsenal. So is Buehler's ability to put kickoffs in the end zone, especially since he's also an asset in kick coverage as a tackler.
The problem is that all of those strengths don't mean a darned thing if Buehler can't make the more conventional 42-yard field goals that come up a lot more often in the course of a season. He was only 12-of-19 on field goals between 30 and 49 yards, a dismal 63 percent hit rate, and that's before you take into account the fact that he missed two extra points.
You can't have that kind of inconsistency from a placekicker, which is why the team signed Kris Brown late in the season. He's not the athlete that Buehler is and he doesn't have the same power, but he's been a lot more reliable on the close kicks over the course of his career. You might be sending away a future star if Buehler is sent packing, but waiting for him to blossom might lead to far too many losses in the short term.
If He Stays, Will There Be Double?: Opinions vary on keeping a second kicker for kickoffs and deep field goals, but it doesn't seem to be a luxury the Cowboys can afford. They didn't get nearly enough out of every spot on their roster in 2010, so unless they seriously upgrade the talent they will need every spot to contribute next season. Buehler would have to get a touchback on almost every kickoff to justify keeping him over a real player, something that seems awfully unlikely.
So, Should He Stay or Should He Go?: If he isn't the best kicker in every phase of the job, the Cowboys have to decide if it is more important to hit makable field goals or have a better than average chance at long shots. It seems pretty obvious that if Buehler can't do everything, the Cowboys shouldn't rely on him to do anything.
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