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Good night, not so sweet prince.EXPAND
Good night, not so sweet prince.
Richard Rodriguez / Getty Images

Cowboys Find a (Not Unworthy) Scapegoat, Cut Kicker Brett Maher

After months of chronic failure, frustration and inaction, the Dallas Cowboys addressed one of their fans' biggest issues with the team Monday, firing someone who it's hard to believe hung on this long.

Not that guy. Not the other one either. No, it's likely the third or fourth guy on your personal chopping block: kicker Brett Maher.

Maher, seemingly kept around by head coach Jason Garrett and the rest of the Cowboys' brain trust because of his uncanny knack for making 60-plus-yard field goals, made only 67% of his field goal attempts for the Cowboys in 2019, good for 31st in the NFL.

Despite his big leg, Maher missed key kicks in Cowboys losses to the Packers, Jets, Vikings, Patriots, Bills and Bears. Every time he trotted on the field, Cowboys fans' collective blood pressure went through the roof.

The biggest issue for Maher, like a lot of things afflicting the Cowboys, was Garrett. No matter how many times his kicker showed him that he wasn't an elite player, Garrett kept sending him back out there in situations where going for it on fourth down would've made more sense.

Maher's 57-yard miss on the Cowboys' opening drive against Minnesota was the perfect example: Garrett played things conservatively when he should've been aggressive and gone for the first down, and paid double the price. His kicker shanked it, and the Vikings took over on their 47-yard line, making quick work of the short field and scoring the game's opening touchdown.

Challengers for Maher's job probably should've been brought in during training camp this summer — he wasn't great last year either — but getting rid of him isn't going to fix a team that's already broken. Kai Forbath, the kicker signed to replace him, missed six field goals and five extra points during his last full NFL season and has a career long of 57 yards, six yards shorter than Maher.

Maher, who the Cowboys signed out of the Canadian Football League, wasn't the long-term solution at kicker. Forbath isn't either, but at least Garrett has one fewer excuse for running one of the NFL's most talented rosters into the ground.

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