Brett Maher Misses First Kick In Rocky Debut

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – From Brett Maher's perspective, it doesn't matter who used to do his job.

Regardless how he got to this point, the Cowboys sent him out to attempt a 47-yard field goal late in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to Carolina. Maher was tasked with getting the Cowboys onto the scoreboard for the first time with a kick that would have cut a 10-0 deficit to seven points.

"I know what my job is and my role on this team – it's go out there and, when I get a chance, put points on the board," Maher said.

From the outsider's perspective, it matters very much who used to do the job – as it belonged to the second-most accurate kicker in league history. When Maher's kick sailed wide right, the comparisons to a man who rarely missed were immediate.

"I didn't do that today, and I'll get prepared to help us out next week," Maher said.

The missed kick was one of a litany of errors, keeping the Cowboys in a two-score hole late in the second half. On top of that, it set off a storm of criticism toward the team's front office, which decided to part ways with Dan Bailey just eight days ago.

It was the most obvious gaffe on a day that had a few special teams miscues. Chris Jones was his usual solid self, for the most part, but the Cowboys had issues covering his punts. The Panthers averaged 15.5 yards per return, and Damiere Byrd reeled off a 30-yarder that set up a Carolina touchdown.

Sunday's game was plagued by rain showers both before and during the game, but Maher wasn't interesting in making excuses. He said the snap from L.P. Ladouceur and the hold by Chris Jones were good, and the condition from the field didn't bother him.

"The field, I didn't really notice," he said. "The wind kind of did a few different things, but it was never strong enough to really do anything or make me change my lines or anything like that."

In a lot of ways, Maher might have the easier go of the situation. As an NFL kicker, his job security isn't great as a general rule – just ask Bailey. He has been kicking professionally for six years, and he has learned plenty about overcoming adversity.

"I think it's all about how you respond – from good and bad," he said. "So that's what this focus will be on. Sharpen up and get ready to go."

Hopefully for the Cowboy, he does, because the second-guessing will follow them for the foreseeable future. That's to be expected when you release a former Pro Bowler in favor of a kicker with no prior NFL experience.

That decision might not affect how Maher goes about his job, but he'll be linked to it all the same. The only way to change that will be to bounce back the way the Cowboys think he can.

"I'm prepared to get to work this week and get my preparation in and be ready to go next week," he said.

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