For those who don’t regularly consult the Cowboys’ depth chart at kicker, David Buehler is Dallas’ place kicker, and his sole function is to kick a football very far. He may be called in for the odd long field goal too, but that’s primarily Dan Bailey’s job.
The problem is that he needs his leg muscles functioning at full strength to fulfill that duty. We imagine that maintaining the ability to launch a football into the back of the end zone purely with the power of one leg requires a certain amount of conditioning. That’s a fact Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can verify.
Buehler has missed four games this year because of a strained groin, and he returned to the Cowboys’ lineup in Week 8. But after practice on Thursday Buehler retreated to the locker room to discover that his groin was several shades of purple, a result of a re-aggravation of the injury, and a torn adductor. He was promptly placed on the injured reserve, with team doctors estimating that it’ll take five weeks for his leg to heal.
Jones had been around the football block a few times, and he knows lazy when he sees lazy. When an insanely rich man who’s made his money by hosting large events in large buildings and selling tickets in the stairwell is paying another man $480,000 this year to kick a ball far, bad words will be said if the lesser man can’t do his simple task.
So take it away, Jerry, and entertain us with another candid session during your Friday appearance on KRLD-FM:
“Let me just say this: I’m frustrated because you would expect players – and I understand injury – but he has known all along how to prepare and how to get in shape and how to prepare himself and be ready to be a kicker.”
“Now, he’s a valuable asset, especially with the rules as they are right now. We’re going to be playing some key away games out in the weather. We’d like to have him kicking in them because he is a better kickoff guy than [Dan] Bailey, so I’m very frustrated. It is his job to stay ready to play and prepare himself so that those kinds of things, for what he’s got to do, don’t come up.”
So the Cowboys have an idiot kicker, and likely an unemployed kicker very soon. Reality eludes Jones, though, because he partly did this to himself.
Yes, if Buehler really is a lazy jerk then that’s his problem, although there have been worse problems with men who are paid to kick balls. But in the new NFL where a third-grader could probably force a touchback, is there really a need for a long-kicking specialist still?
The supposedly weak-legged Bailey has kicked six touchbacks while he’s been assigned part-time kickoff duties this year, which is the same total Buehler had through eight games last year.