The Dallas Cowboys will face decision time in the kicking department once cut-down day arrives. Last season, Kicker Brett Maher did a decent job as the team's starter. Maher actually wrote his name on the franchise's record book by kicking the longest field goal in Cowboys history. A 62-yard bomb. He made 29-of-36 field goals (80.6%) throughout the season.
Despite not doing a bad job replacing Dan Bailey, Maher was far from great. In attempts from 30-49 yards, Maher only made 13 out of 19 (68.4%). He definitely wasn't convincing enough to overlook the need for a kicker headed into the 2019 season.
A competition was to be expected and that's exactly what Punter Kasey Redfern is bringing to the table in Oxnard, California, where the Cowboys hold their annual training camps.
Redfern has been in the league since 2014, being a journeyman who arrived to Dallas to his sixth team in his career. He hasn't seen any real regular season action yet. But he's already competing with the Cowboys' starters.
Kasey Redfern kicked field goals today, rather than Brett Maher. He went 5-of-6, which was the same mark as Maher yesterday. #cowboyswire
Keep in mind, Redfern is actually a punter. He's not only competing with Maher, but with Punter Chris Jones. His versatility will surely earn him a lot of points with a coaching staff that loves position flex so much. It's worth mentioning that Redfern has been turning heads all offseason long. It's not just about a "good practice." Maybe the Cowboys really have something in Redfern.
Player of the day, for me, was backup specialist Kasey Redfern - who I didn't even know kicked field goals until today. The 1st & 2nd offenses both had to settle for field goals in 2-minute drill. Redfern nailed them both, hitting from 37 for the starters & 53 for the backups.
To make the team, Redfern can beat two guys. Given his ability to both kick and punt he's trying to one-up Brett Maher and/or Chris Jones.
If he doesn't outperform Maher, he can still manage to make the roster. If he punts just as well as Chris Jones (or even slightly less), he could get the job just because of the fact that he can function as a backup kicker as well. Many punters around the NFL are capable of kicking field goals, but Jones hasn't really shown us that he can.
Having said that, don't think that position flex will be enough for him to take Jones' job. Redfern needs to prove he can be a consistent quality punter if he wants a spot on the 53-man roster.
Despite being on many teams in so little time, Redfern's trajectory might have looked fairly different if it wasn't for an ugly injury suffered in 2017.
"It wasn't until he landed with the Detroit Lions that it looked like his career was finally starting to take off. He was named the starter after Sam Martin sustained an injury that would sideline him for several weeks, but unfortunately Redfern had a run of bad luck himself. He sustained a serious knee injury in the season opener, tearing his ACL, MCL, and a partially torn patellar tendon." - Brian Martin on Cowboys' Kasey Redfern.
We're less than a week into training camp and things might look very different before the regular season kicks off. With players like Matt Bryant available in free agency, we could even see new competition being added before training camp ends. In the meantime, it's great to hear there's legitimate competition at a position which could use some improvement for the Cowboys.
Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.
However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.
That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.
With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.
One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.
Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.
Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?
Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?
Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.
Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.
Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.
Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.
Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.
An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.
Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.
No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.
But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.
HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.
The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.
Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.
The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.
Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.
Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.
Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.
Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.
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