Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

DMN: Cowboys-49ers sideline exclusive - Brett Maher's hash mark dilemma, and a tough blow for a defensive bright spot

Collapse
X
Collapse
First Prev Next Last
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • DMN: Cowboys-49ers sideline exclusive - Brett Maher's hash mark dilemma, and a tough blow for a defensive bright spot

    By Kristi Scales, Special contributor

    1. Hold your breath if the ball is spotted on the right hash

    Brett Maher needed to reestablish confidence on Saturday night. The kicker has been inconsistent through the first two weeks of camp, missing badly at times from short distances.

    As a staff member told me pregame on Saturday regarding Maher: "Hold your breath if the ball is spotted on the right hash."

    The pregame quote was prophetic. Maher made his first two field goals on Saturday from 25 and 40 yards out, respectively. Both were right hash. But his third attempt, from only 35 yards and also from the right hash, missed. Yes, he did make a short 31-yard FG as time expired in the first half to give the Cowboys a 9-7 lead going into halftime. But, no, overall it wasn't a good night for Maher who finished 3-of-4.

    The No. 1 thing I want to see in preseason is Maher kicking the ball through the uprights consistently. We didn't get that Saturday night. It's not just me; talking with people in the personnel department, they acknowledge that the kicking situation is on their radar.

    Last year, Maher was the model of consistency in camp. He beat out Dan Bailey fair and square. A lot of fans and media were shocked last September when the Cowboys decided to go with Maher -- a journeyman who had most recently kicked in the CFL -- over former Pro Bowl kicker and team captain Dan Bailey. But Bailey was inconsistent in camp and Maher was automatic. If anyone was paying attention last summer, Maher was the better kicker in camp.

    He has not been automatic so far. Neither has his backup, Kasey Redfern, who is also the backup punter. The Cowboys are Redfern's sixth NFL team since 2014. He got all but the first punt on Saturday night (which went to veteran Chris Jones), plus all but the first kickoff (which went to Maher). It will be interesting to see if Redfern gets to attempt a field goal in a preseason game, or will the staff want Maher to get every opportunity to make corrections?

    2. Cooper Rush takes early lead over Mike White

    There's one play that stands out to me on Saturday night in regards to the position battle for backup quarterback.

    Cooper Rush was getting blitzed. He was able to sidestep a blitzer (the niftiest move I've seen yet from Rush), take another step to his left, and heave the ball down the left sideline, purposefully throwing the ball out of bounds. It was an incomplete pass. So it looked like a 'nothing' play on the stat sheet, but it was a heck of a play by Rush to avoid a sack/negative play and keep the team in position for a field goal.

    Rush played much better than Mike White on Saturday night and take the early lead in the competition to be No. 2 on the depth chart.

    I think the Cowboys are keeping only two QBs on the roster this year, not three as they did last year. So whoever loses out in this competition is likely to be a roster cut, then hopefully re-signed to the practice squad.

    White was under siege all night. He was sacked three times. Even worse, on a play in which he had to take off on a scramble, he lost the football. Three sacks and a lost fumble...ugh! And less than 10 yards of offense in his first three series.

    It's not all his fault. Rookie free agent Mitch Hyatt, who some members of the coaching staff gave a fifth-round grade, had a terrible debut. He was playing left tackle and getting steamrolled by the 49ers third and fourth string defensive ends.

    A bad night for your third-string rookie left tackle means a bad night for whoever happens to be playing quarterback in the second half with the third stringers. That was some ugly football.

    Rush had the benefit of playing with veterans on the second-team offensive line across the front, including Cam Fleming, Xavier Sua-Filo, Joe Looney, Adam Richmond, and Jake Campos. White didn't have that.

    It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff gives White the chance to work with the second-team in the second preseason game, or will White be stuck with the third teamers?

    3. Sean Lee's prediction will not come true

    Last week after lunch in the staff room at camp, I bumped into Sean Lee and we were shooting the breeze about some of the young LBs. It was not a formal interview, but Lee told me how well rookie free agent Luke Gifford looked at middle linebacker. Lee predicted that Gifford would finish the preseason as the Cowboys leading tackler.

    Gifford looked really good after taking over for Jaylon Smith after the first-team defense's two series in the first quarter. Gifford had a nice tackle, and then had one of the highlight plays of the night -- an interception of Nick Mullens, aided by a good pass rush from new Cowboys DE Kerry Hyder.

    But two series later, Gifford suffered an ankle injury. He went to the ground right in front of me, just about five yards in front of the Cowboys' sideline. He immediately pointed towards his left ankle. At first I thought it was dislocated because it was a weird angle. The medical staff was out to tend to him in a flash. It was obviously a bad injury. He was taken to the blue medical tent on the sideline, unable to put any weight whatsoever on his left foot/leg. The stadium staff pulled a cart alongside the tent, knowing he'd have to go for X-Rays.

    Fast forward to halftime: I was (happily) surprised to learn from Cowboys' personnel that the X-rays were negative. At least it wasn't fractured. But high ankle sprains can sometimes take longer to heal.

    This is a tough blow for Gifford, one of the bright spots of camp. I think he was making a serious challenge to second-year player Chris Covington for a spot on the 53-man roster. Gifford was really doing great on special teams, too, and had gotten first-team reps the first week of camp on special teams.

    As for the "next man up" theory, Justin Phillips took advantage of the extra playing time on Saturday night. He got Gifford's reps in the second half.

    4. WRs that have been overlooked so far

    Yes, one of the big talking points of camp has been the fifth (or sixth) wide receiver spot. And while Jon'Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton have gotten most of the attention from fans and media, don't overlook Cedrick Wilson and Devin Smith.

    I had members of the offensive and special teams staff tell me during pregame that Wilson is having a good camp and they couldn't wait to see what he did in the game. Wilson was going to get a chance to return not only punts, but even kickoffs.

    Wilson had 3 catches for 36 yards before getting knocked out of the game late in the third quarter on a cheap shot by 49ers safety Adrian Colbert which resulted in his ejection. It was a bad ending to the night for Wilson who had done a great job of taking advantage of his playing time up until the moment of Colbert's hit.

    And the receiver who looked good in the fourth quarter was Devin Smith, the former Jets draft pick. When Mike White finally turned the ball loose in the final drive of the game, it was Smith making the plays.

    Johnson was targeted eight times but caught only three balls, dropping his first one. But he did show some resilience after that initial drop. One of the main things coaches are evaluating in a young player is body language. Johnson didn't let the dropped pass define the rest of his night, so that's a positive for him. But he's got to show consistency. I hope he has a great week of practice and starts strong in next weekend's game in Honolulu.

    5. Guys you've never heard of that made plays

    You never know who is going to stand out in preseason. Daniel Wise, a local kid from Hebron High School, is someone that Rod Marinelli told me in pregame is "a sneaky player". It was a compliment. He meant sneaky good, as in making plays during practice.

    Wise had a good night Saturday, and so did another defensive tackle named Ricky Walker, a rookie free agent from Virginia Tech. Wise and Walker were disruptive in the middle of the line.

    But the best news from a defensive standpoint, in my mind, was the strong tackling by the first-team defensive backs. The 49ers completed some short routes, but the DBs were there to drop them and eliminate yards after catch. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were good. In the second series, Chidobe Awuzie made an excellent tackle of a short gain, and on the very next play he batted the ball away on a third-down pass. The 49ers had to punt.

    The DBs have been great at camp with takeaways and making plays on the ball. During Saturday night's preseason action they showed strong tackling. I'm really excited about this secondary and what they can do this season. Saturday night, albeit in limited action, the first-team secondary was really good.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  • #2
    Originally posted by Iamtdg View Post
    By Kristi Scales, Special contributor


    1. Hold your breath if the ball is spotted on the right hash

    Brett Maher needed to reestablish confidence on Saturday night. The kicker has been inconsistent through the first two weeks of camp, missing badly at times from short distances.

    As a staff member told me pregame on Saturday regarding Maher: "Hold your breath if the ball is spotted on the right hash."

    The pregame quote was prophetic. Maher made his first two field goals on Saturday from 25 and 40 yards out, respectively. Both were right hash. But his third attempt, from only 35 yards and also from the right hash, missed. Yes, he did make a short 31-yard FG as time expired in the first half to give the Cowboys a 9-7 lead going into halftime. But, no, overall it wasn't a good night for Maher who finished 3-of-4.

    The No. 1 thing I want to see in preseason is Maher kicking the ball through the uprights consistently. We didn't get that Saturday night. It's not just me; talking with people in the personnel department, they acknowledge that the kicking situation is on their radar.

    Last year, Maher was the model of consistency in camp. He beat out Dan Bailey fair and square. A lot of fans and media were shocked last September when the Cowboys decided to go with Maher -- a journeyman who had most recently kicked in the CFL -- over former Pro Bowl kicker and team captain Dan Bailey. But Bailey was inconsistent in camp and Maher was automatic. If anyone was paying attention last summer, Maher was the better kicker in camp.

    He has not been automatic so far. Neither has his backup, Kasey Redfern, who is also the backup punter. The Cowboys are Redfern's sixth NFL team since 2014. He got all but the first punt on Saturday night (which went to veteran Chris Jones), plus all but the first kickoff (which went to Maher). It will be interesting to see if Redfern gets to attempt a field goal in a preseason game, or will the staff want Maher to get every opportunity to make corrections?


    That right hash thing must just be this preseason. Last year, he was equally mediocre no matter what hash he was kicking from.

    Could it be that he just sucks?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by boozeman View Post

      That right hash thing must just be this preseason. Last year, he was equally mediocre no matter what hash he was kicking from.

      Could it be that he just sucks?
      This is a problem, and these douchebags havent done jack nor shit to address it.
      defense wins championships

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by p1_ View Post

        This is a problem, and these douchebags havent done jack nor shit to address it.
        That's what bothers me the most.

        Maher showed definite signs of cracking down the stretch last year.

        One of the reporters for the team was saying there isn't anybody any good on the market right now.

        Well, they should have known this was coming. They should have brought in legitimate competition 5 months ago when there were real kickers available.

        Comment


        • #5
          But hey. Now that the Vikings acquired Vedvik, we could bring back Dan Bailey when he gets cut. Woot.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post
            But hey. Now that the Vikings acquired Vedvik, we could bring back Dan Bailey when he gets cut. Woot.
            Perhaps that is the end game with this shitty front office.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by boozeman View Post

              Perhaps that is the end game with this shitty front office.
              They were talking about doing just that as the smart move on the local sports radio station today
              2018 DCC Super Bowl Bingo Champion

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post

                That's what bothers me the most.

                Maher showed definite signs of cracking down the stretch last year.

                One of the reporters for the team was saying there isn't anybody any good on the market right now.

                Well, they should have known this was coming. They should have brought in legitimate competition 5 months ago when there were real kickers available.
                amen. they had an entire offseason to address the issue. As you said, it was a problem last season. And, oh by the by, we were horrendous in the redzone, inside the 5 yard line.
                defense wins championships

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post
                  One of the reporters for the team was saying there isn't anybody any good on the market right now.
                  Matt Bryant is still out there. I bring him in yesterday if I'm the team.
                  2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Iamtdg View Post

                    Matt Bryant is still out there. I bring him in yesterday if I'm the team.
                    Even if your idiot son says he is too expensive?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Matt Bryant would be the smart move, although to be honest if you guaranteed me that Maher's 2019 would look exactly like his 2018 I'd take it every day of the week and be fine with it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by boozeman View Post

                        Even if your idiot son says he is too expensive?
                        The minimum for a player that has been in the league as long as Bryant is 1 mill. Maher is currently making 600k. Pony up the extra 400k, ya cheap asses.
                        2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Simpleton View Post
                          Matt Bryant would be the smart move, although to be honest if you guaranteed me that Maher's 2019 would look exactly like his 2018 I'd take it every day of the week and be fine with it.
                          Yeah last year doesn't worry me, its that he could be trending downward since then. We are starting to see some bad trends.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Simpleton View Post
                            Matt Bryant would be the smart move, although to be honest if you guaranteed me that Maher's 2019 would look exactly like his 2018 I'd take it every day of the week and be fine with it.
                            Yep. I have seen no reason to go bananas about the kicker yet. If he repeats his performance all is well. Maybe someone can tell me what they have seen that is so compelling that he is a failure already. Or even a bad risk.
                            Since Day One

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post

                              Yeah last year doesn't worry me, its that he could be trending downward since then. We are starting to see some bad trends.
                              Fill me in on these trends.
                              Since Day One

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X