As the Cowboys venture out to the Carolinas to take on Cam Newton & company, place your attention on these three players for Sunday’s matchup.
Remember everyone, come Sunday it is pronounced Brett MAH-HER. Yes, he is the Dallas Cowboys new kicker. Yes, he replaced the second-most accurate kicker of all-time and Cowboys franchise leader in points scored, Dan Bailey. No, no one ever had a thought cross their mind that this move would take place in a million years. In a recent
“introduction to” type of interview with Dallas media, Maher details his journey to this exact moment, and claims that he feels he “always been a confident guy and physically capable guy”.
"I tried to keep my head down, stay in my lane and be prepared every single day."
Newly-signed kicker @brett_maher talks about how he got to where he is today and about taking over for Dan Bailey.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 6, 2018
Although undrafted out of the University of Nebraska in 2013, Maher was eventually signed and waived by the New York Jets for Billy Cundiff. The team that would call him after? The Dallas Cowboys. The reason? To play in the preseason while Dan Bailey recovered from injury in 2013.
Already present in a cutthroat business, Maher will have an even brighter spotlight than most, attempting to replace one of the greatest in Cowboys & NFL history. The usual bathroom breaks or time to refill on drinks that Dallas fans had the luxury of, will be overcome with pure focus and worry every time the kicking team lines up this season. Surely, the 57-yarder that sailed through the uprights last week against the Texans is exciting, but it’s the handling of those game-deciding moments, that will dictate spectators opinions of Maher.
Jason Garrett’s reaction to Brett Maher’s 57-yarder last Thursday night in Houston pic.twitter.com/EmbMCpbrV5
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 3, 2018
The pressure will be monumental and there may not be a player who will feel more on that field, but confidence overflows throughout the new era of kicking for the Cowboys.
Also replacing a top-tier talent in the league, but hopefully for just a temporary timeframe, Joe Looney will be the starting center for Dallas. For clarification, hopefully, in regards for Travis Frederick’s health aside from football. In recent reports, his current condition is detailed as such:
What symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome does Travis Frederick still experience? “I experienced numbness in both my feet and both my hands and it went into one of my arms. Currently, I’m still experiencing numbness in both my arms.” He calls this constant.
— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) September 6, 2018
The return of Frederick would mean more than just his impact on this team. It’s bigger than football at this point, and all the well wishes goes to him and his family.
Jokingly known as “Fat Zeke” throughout the Cowboys organization, Looney has maintained himself on this team with laughter and his role in the “jumbo-joe” package.
A quality teammate in the locker room, Looney must now prove himself on the field as well. Currently in his 3rd-year with the Cowboys, he has started only 3 games, but as a LG/TE. Looney’s experience as a center takes place before Dallas, in his one-year stints with San Francisco and Tennessee in 2014-15.
The supposed concern is justified entering this game. Looney is replacing an All-Pro center who has made the Pro Bowl every year other than his rookie season. Furthermore, Frederick has never missed a snap since 2013 (rookie year), and has only given up one sack since 2014. Plus, even with the help of RG Zack Martin, Carolina carries a DL group led by DTs Kawaan Short and Dontari Poe. It will be a TASK for Looney to uphold dominance against these two, but do not count him out to surprise people with his ability.
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 27, 2018
The chapter is close to turning its final page. “A Raucous Recovery to Redemption” would read the title. A thesis hinting at Dallas percentage success with second round picks. Body paragraphs filled with reasons drawing to conclusions that “he’s just the next one to fail” or “it’s still a bad pick, no matter what angle you attempt to come from”. The past two years were to paint the logo of his infamous “Swipe” celebration, but a near-career ending injury in college has created a mural of “bust” and “waste” as a professional. It’s a transitioning time in Jaylon’s life, who has a chance to prove to everyone that he is still that transcendent athlete from South Bend.
On a single hand, you can not count more individuals on this roster who had a better off/preseason than Jaylon. The speed has seemed to return, if not better.
Watch Jaylon Smith cover Cole Beasley deep: pic.twitter.com/Dw7wbjtQPA
— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 5, 2018
The faith restored into a healthier knee, to be able to break down and change directions, has seemed to return.
I don't think we are freaking out about this play enough. Jaylon Smith doesn't make this play last year. pic.twitter.com/003qJQR7pK
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 11, 2018
This is important not only for the story, but who is going to be seen lined up across the line of scrimmage. Cam Newton himself is already the biggest QB threat in the league as a runner, but now alongside sits a dynamic athlete in Christian McCaffrey. Considering the amount of injuries the Panthers currently have along their OL, Dallas should be able to set the line of scrimmage on defense, but that will not stop McCaffrey from getting his touches. Mostly dangerous in space, the Panthers will not hold back in trying to let Christian touch the ball 20+ times.
Since he is healthy, everyone knows what Sean Lee is capable of on the field, but Jaylon will have to be on his Ps & Qs as well if they want to minimize McCaffrey. From screens to wheel routes, his versatility allows a diverse playbook of his own. Every ounce of what was seen in Smith in the preseason, has to be in tune to slow down Cam’s favorite weapon.
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