Bailey Focused On Keeping Even Keel In Third Season


"It's really just how much pressure you put on yourself. You have one opportunity usually – you've got one play to prove yourself, whether you're a kicker, punter or special teams player," he said.

As evidence, just take a look at David Akers, the NFC's representative kicker in the Pro Bowl for two years running. Akers earned the distinction in 2011 as a long-time member of the Philadelphia Eagles, only to get the boot and earn the top spot in 2012 as a San Francisco 49er.

Not even Pro Bowl production is a guarantee.

Of course, the rigors of making an NFL roster can be put into perspective just by sitting down with Bailey. As a native of Mustang, Okla., the Oklahoma State product was one of several Cowboys impacted by the several tornadoes that struck the Moore, Okla., area earlier this spring.

"Obviously it's a tough situation for everybody up there, and they've been through it before, so this isn't anything new for them unfortunately," he said.

Bailey and running back DeMarco Murray, who attended Oklahoma, are two of several Cowboys to help out with relief efforts, teaming with The Salvation Army to raise money for the area. Much like his kicking regimen, Bailey said it helps to focus on the next step and not dwell on negatives.

"It's just one of those deals you have to take it as it comes and do the best you can to try to move past it," he said. "Everybody up there has done a great job of trying to move past it and starting to rebuild."

It's tough, but Bailey said that "in the moment" mindset is a crucial attribute to learn for special teams players, as well.

"It doesn't just come naturally – you kind of have to train yourself to do that," he said. "But just from watching guys ahead of me that have played in the league at this position, the ones that have lasted a long time or had a lot of success were the guys who could do that – they could just move on, whether it was a bad kick or a good kick."

Not that Cowboys fans have had *too *much to complain about since the Cowboys added the former Lou Groza Award winner in 2011. Bailey has missed a grand total of seven kicks in 68 attempts in his two seasons in the NFL – a 90 percent clip to this point. But the youngster has had plenty of experience with the highs and lows of kicking, the most memorable of which came in his second game as a pro.

As Cowboys fans may remember, Bailey missed a simple21-yarder in a Week 2 game against San Francisco, only to rebound to nail a game-tying 48-yarder as time expired, and later a 19-yard game winner. The game perfectly encapsulates the approach Bailey said he's tried to master. [embedded_ad]

"I had an opportunity to redeem myself, to get a little redemption and I went out there and made it," he said. "It was the lowest of low for me, and then the highest of high – it was kind of crazy it was all in the same game."

The rest is common knowledge. Bailey made 32-of-37 as a rookie, including 26 in a row – tied for second best in franchise history.

There have certainly been more highs than lows to this point, but don't tell him that. He's moving on to the next kick, regardless of where the past ones went.

"The more you can embrace that mentality the better off you can help yourself out in the long run," he said. "You're only as good as your last play."

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IRVING, Texas – Finish as one of the top three players in your position in 2012, it's safe to say you've bought yourself some leeway for the coming season – well, almost.

It's probably best to avoid talking job security with Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, or any NFL kicker for that matter. The concept doesn't really exist.

Baily was one of the league's most impressive place kickers in his second season, as he finished 29-of-31 on the season – a 93.5 percent success rate. He was perfect on extra points, he nailed a long of 51 and his only two misses of the campaign came from more than 50 yards away.

But as Bailey will tell you, past performance doesn't help you hold a spot on an NFL roster – which typically contains room for just one kicker.


"It's really just how much pressure you put on yourself. You have one opportunity usually – you've got one play to prove yourself, whether you're a kicker, punter or special teams player," he said.

As evidence, just take a look at David Akers, the NFC's representative kicker in the Pro Bowl for two years running. Akers earned the distinction in 2011 as a long-time member of the Philadelphia Eagles, only to get the boot and earn the top spot in 2012 as a San Francisco 49er.

Not even Pro Bowl production is a guarantee.

Of course, the rigors of making an NFL roster can be put into perspective just by sitting down with Bailey. As a native of Mustang, Okla., the Oklahoma State product was one of several Cowboys impacted by the several tornadoes that struck the Moore, Okla., area earlier this spring.

"Obviously it's a tough situation for everybody up there, and they've been through it before, so this isn't anything new for them unfortunately," he said.

Bailey and running back DeMarco Murray, who attended Oklahoma, are two of several Cowboys to help out with relief efforts, teaming with The Salvation Army to raise money for the area. Much like his kicking regimen, Bailey said it helps to focus on the next step and not dwell on negatives.

"It's just one of those deals you have to take it as it comes and do the best you can to try to move past it," he said. "Everybody up there has done a great job of trying to move past it and starting to rebuild."

It's tough, but Bailey said that "in the moment" mindset is a crucial attribute to learn for special teams players, as well.

"It doesn't just come naturally – you kind of have to train yourself to do that," he said. "But just from watching guys ahead of me that have played in the league at this position, the ones that have lasted a long time or had a lot of success were the guys who could do that – they could just move on, whether it was a bad kick or a good kick."

Not that Cowboys fans have had *too *much to complain about since the Cowboys added the former Lou Groza Award winner in 2011. Bailey has missed a grand total of seven kicks in 68 attempts in his two seasons in the NFL – a 90 percent clip to this point. But the youngster has had plenty of experience with the highs and lows of kicking, the most memorable of which came in his second game as a pro.

As Cowboys fans may remember, Bailey missed a simple21-yarder in a Week 2 game against San Francisco, only to rebound to nail a game-tying 48-yarder as time expired, and later a 19-yard game winner. The game perfectly encapsulates the approach Bailey said he's tried to master. [embedded_ad]

"I had an opportunity to redeem myself, to get a little redemption and I went out there and made it," he said. "It was the lowest of low for me, and then the highest of high – it was kind of crazy it was all in the same game."

The rest is common knowledge. Bailey made 32-of-37 as a rookie, including 26 in a row – tied for second best in franchise history.

There have certainly been more highs than lows to this point, but don't tell him that. He's moving on to the next kick, regardless of where the past ones went.

"The more you can embrace that mentality the better off you can help yourself out in the long run," he said. "You're only as good as your last play."

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