The Dallas Cowboys special teams unit was underwhelming, to say the least in 2019. The inability of Brett Maher to kick consistently certainly hurt the Cowboys on their way to 8-8. The unwillingness of the Cowboys coaching staff to make a change until week 15 of the season when the Cowboys were 6-7 and coming off of a three game losing streak.
After Jason Garrett finally made the decision to move on from Maher, they brought in Kai Forbath off the street who proceeded to go 10 of 10. He was on field goals including 7 of 7 between 40 and 49 yards, the area where Maher seemed to struggle the most.
Well, the Cowboys brought back Forbath in free agency on a one year deal and it appeared he would be the kicker of choice heading into training camp and the offseason. Then the Cowboys went and signed former Los Angeles Rams Kicker Greg Zuerlein to join his former Special Teams Coach Jon Fassel in Dallas.
Zuerlein was signed to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million and thrust his name to the front of the depth chart. In 2019, Zuerlein hit just 72.7% of his field goals last year while struggling with injuries throughout the year. He struggled in the same area as Maher last year hitting only five of his 11 attempts from 40-49 yards. In the three seasons prior to 2019, Zuerlein hit better than 86% of his kicks.
Because of his contract and relationship with Fassel, Zuerlein will get every opportunity to win the job during training camp and be the Cowboys kicker for the season. However, if he falters at all during training camp the Cowboys know they have a solid option in Kai Forbath.
When the Cowboys were in must-win games late in the season, Forbath came through for them over the last three weeks. The Cowboys went 2-1 down the stretch, though the week 16 loss eliminated them from the playoffs. Forbath’s three field goals in the loss to the Eagles were the only points the Cowboys scored that day.
Kickers are often not thought of until they miss a kick. Well, in 2019, Brett Maher brought the kicking situation to the top of everyone’s minds. The Cowboys aren’t taking any chances with their kicking situation in 2020 and have two options that can carry them through the season. Between Greg Zuerlein and Kai Forbath, the Cowboys will have a kicker that will be an improvement upon what they started the 2019 season with.