Cowboys Take 'No Worries' Approach To Kicker Dan Bailey's Work

Mike Fisher
August 07, 2018 - 5:46 am
Dallas Cowboys

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

OXNARD (105.3 THE FAN) - Dan Bailey is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. This is a blessing ... unless the Dallas Cowboys standout closes a season with a five-game streak during which he made only 61 percent of his field goals.

"We keep going back to the body of work that he had for us," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett today, reflecting on Bailey's relatively erratic weekend of work here at training camp in Oxnard. "He's been as good as it gets in the National Football League the last seven or eight years kicking the football. We feel great about him."

That greatness is the blessing. Bailey, 30, is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history with a success rate of 88.152 percent -- and that's even including recent issues that were largely injury-related.

And when he can't go, or can't perform?

"You feel like you're letting people down,'' Bailey told us late last year, "and letting yourself down." 

Seven seasons into his NFL career, Bailey has earned the trust Garrett and company show in him. But the "curse'' is the assumption of automation here. Before last season, Bailey had never missed a PAT. But he missed two in his last four games.

It was a groin injury last year that put safety Jeff Heath in position to serve as the kicker until veteran free agent Mike Nugent was signed. The year before it was a back ailment that developed the night before a road game at San Francisco.

Yes, the Cowboys are at the Niners on Thursday in the preseason opener and I believe they'll be in a different hotel this time around.

"Yeah, I think that probably was it more than anything else," said Garrett when asked about injuries dragging his man down. "A leg for a kicker is like an arm for a quarterback and legs for runners. And that's really the most important part of it is of his body to be able to execute his skill. Dan is such a tough guy that he wanted to get back out there.

"I'm not quite so sure he was healthy and that can have an impact on how you perform."

There is no indication that Bailey is ailing now, so that's not the reason he missed a couple of kicks over the weekend. His talent is a blessing that will likely pay dividends, as usual. But at the same time, let's don't curse him with the assumption that every kick is going to be money.

Dan Bailey's almost been that good. But only almost.