Roster battles don't get decided in a day during training camp. But a decision is eventually made based on the evidence provided, and yesterday veteran Lirim Hajrullahu took an early lead over Jonathan Garibay in the race to be the Dallas Cowboys' kicker in 2022.
Hajrullahu went 7-of-8 field goals while his competition, the undrafted rookie out of Texas Tech, only made half of his eight attempts. Some of Garibay's misses were not from that deep either; 44 and 47 yards among them.
So the FG battle started today at Cowboys camp. Lirim Hajrullahu went 7-8, going wide left on a 47 yarder. Texas Tech product Jonathan Garibay went 4-8, missing from 44, 47, 45 and 50.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) July 30, 2022
Reliability is the key in this battle. Dallas already had a big-legged kicker in Greg Zuerlein but cut him in March for cap space and to do better than just 82% on field goals.
Garibay has 60-yard range and is still an intriguing young prospect but can't afford to be perceived as a riskier option. He still has plenty of time to make up ground but the first round goes to the veteran.
Hajrullahu was signed just become camp for another run in Dallas, having briefly spelled Zuerlein last year during camp injuries and one missed game due to COVID-19. The longtime CFL kicker has had brief tenures with other teams but never entered an NFL season as the starting kicker.
With several games last season being decided by Zuerlein's makes and misses, the outcome of this competition is no small matter for the Cowboys.