Cowboys kicker concerns Greg Zuerlein takes uneven 2021 campaign into playoffs team needs insurance

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Cowboys kicker concerns Greg Zuerlein takes uneven 2021 campaign into playoffs team needs insurance

As the NFL postseason prepares to make landfall 10 days from now, the find themselves hoping to repair some obvious offensive i sues that could be made more challenging by Joe DiMaggio Jersey the lo s of . But that's not the only thing that needs some attention. Their special teams unit has been mostly stellar this season, but the weakne s in that phase of the game has been kicker , who's been exceedingly boom or bust in 2021.Zuerlein, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract in 2020 that ultimately supplanted the newly signed deal for incumbent kicker , has both been responsible for helping the Cowboys win games this season as well as helping to cost them victories when they could least afford it. Returning from a back injury that landed him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list in training camp, the 34-year-old mi sed two field goal attempts and a PAT attempt in the Week 1 lo s to the , a seven-point dent in a contest the Cowboys lost by two. NYJ K #9 As insurance against it happening again, and despite their initial vote of confidence following that performance, the Cowboys re-signed kicker for a second time (the first was in August to kick in the preseason finale), but released Hajrullahu when Zuerlein acquitted himself well in the Week 2 victory against the -- making both of his FG attempts and both of his PATs in a game the Cowboys won by three points. Zuerlein has been uneven ever since, and he , one that saw him mi s a 43-yard field goal attempt in Randy Johnson Jersey the first quarter that would've tied the game early. They'd go on to lose by three points.It now bears taking a look at Zuerlein's numbers through his 15 starts in 2021 ahead of the all-important postseason. XPA/XPMFGA/FGM20-29 yards30-39 yards40-49 yards50+36/41(87.8%)*28/34 (82.4%)5/5 (100%)15/16 (93.8%)6/8 (75%)2/5 (40%)As you can see in the table above, Zuerlein's percentage of extra points made is at a career-low just one year after setting a new career-low in 2020 (91.7%) -- marking a very clear downward trend in that category. Additionally, his 82.4% field goal accuracy is down over last season's output (82.9%), and more troubling than anything would be his glaring lack of proficiency on attempts that approach 50 yards and longer. Once having earned the moniker "The Leg" in his time under John "Bones" Fa sel as members of the , it's clear that, as of late, that is no Matt Holliday Jersey longer the strength of his game.This could come into play in the tournament, as it has at times during the regular season, and it would put the Cowboys in more of a crunch when considering their offense is also shaky at the moment. For if Dallas isn't consistently extending drives and punctuating them with touchdowns, it'll need Zuerlein to be that much better at what he does, only there are times when he is also performing as questionably as the offense he's supposed to act as a productive extension of.When asked about Zuerlein's struggles in 2021, owner Jerry Jones didn't undercut the team's longtime public confidence in the kicker, but he also didn't beat the drum as we've seen the Cowboys do in the past."I think the most important part of a kicker is consistency, consistency, and it's not consistently mi sing. That's it," said Jones. Pick Six Newsletter Crafted By The Best NFL Experts Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings. I agree to receive the "Pick Six Newsletter" and marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from CBS Sports and the Paramount family of companies. By pre sing sign up, I confirm that I have read and agree to the and acknowledge Paramount's . Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe. Thanks for signing up! Keep an eye on your inbox. Sorry! There was an error proce sing your subscription. Take that however you will, but if the Cowboys are peeking into po sible options outside of Zuerlein, that ship might have already sailed. They re-signed Hajrullahu a third time this season when Zuerlein mi sed a game due to COVID-19, but the former has since spent time with the before being poached from their practice squad by the . There's always Forbath, who was literally perfect in his short time with the Cowboys and, as mentioned, earned a contract extension that was trumped by Fa sel's want of Zuerlein in Dallas -- after Zuerlein parted ways with the Rams in 2020.However, there appears to be no interest in circling back Brian Roberts Jersey for Forbath, sources tell CBS Sports.Zuerlein refining his boot in a still-meaningful regular season finale against the will be paramount for the wild card weekend that follows, but his rollercoaster season proves there is no guarantee that a great outing in any given week will generate another great one a few days later. This is all more reason for and the offense to find their mojo for good, because shortened drives will put playoff games on the foot of Zuerlein more often than not and, as noted, he'll either boom ... or bust.Obviously, Bernie Williams Jersey scoring more touchdowns is the best remedy, but another would've been to truly addre s the i sue before January arrived. The latter is spilled milk, though, so let's focus on what needs to be done here: sign a quality kicker to have them at the ready on the practice squad -- one they could elevate to the expanded game day roster, potentially taking the bold stance of having two active kickers in the event there's any concern whatsoever about Zuerlein heading into or during a win-or-go-home game. It's not as if it hasn't been done before (in Dallas as well), and it's the best way to protect against the ghosts of Christmas past.After all, even Ebenezer Scrooge eventually learned his le son.
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