EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the New York Giants on December 6, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 31-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cowboys’ Head Coach Wade Phillips reprimanded the media on Thursday for what he sees as unfair criticism of kicker David Buehler. Buehler went one of five on field goal attempts during the portion of Wednesday’s practice that was open to the media, none of which were any longer than forty yards.
Obviously, this became something of a story around Dallas. But Phillips, who has made a habit of defending his players from scrutiny, doesn’t think it should have.
“For people to go out there and see a couple of kicks, five kicks, and say the guy can't kick or isn't kicking good, I don't think you have enough information and I'm not sure you have the expertise anyway to evaluate that,'' Phillips said, per the Dallas Morning News. "He worked on his craft just like all of the rest of the players did. We really don't announce how every guy does every single day or how they practiced and what they did.''
Point taken. There’s little doubt as to who is a better evaluator of talent, or who knows better what’s going on in practice, between coaches and the media. But whether Phillips likes it or not, this is a story right now. Had Buehler given the fans or media, or the team for that matter, any reason to have confidence in him as the team’s sole place kicker moving forward, an ugly day in practice may not have developed into a story.
But Buehler is two of four on the season (and for his career), with both potentially game-tying misses coming at crucial times. Considering, yes, if the media sees Buehler struggling miserably at practice, they are going to report it; not because they’re trying to be mean or unfair, but because it’s their job to do so.
The solution for Phillips, if he doesn’t want the scrutiny, is simple: give folks reason to believe. As of now, there really isn’t any.
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