SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Brett Maher was the surprise of training camp and preseason last year, taking the kicker job from a former Pro Bowler.
This year, all eyes are on him.
The Cowboys' incumbent kicker made three of four field goal attempts in Saturday's preseason opener against the 49ers, but team officials continue to field questions about whether he's been consistent enough through the first two and a half weeks of camp.
"We were obviously disappointed in the third kick," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said, referencing a 35-yard attempt that went wide right in the second quarter. "The other ones seemed to be pretty good. So we'll keep evaluating him, we'll keep giving him shots, but he's been a good kicker for us."
Maher made kicks from 25 and 40 yards to give the Cowboys an early 6-0 lead over San Francisco.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones did not seem concerned about Maher's lone miss.
"I thought it was good. It was the only way we scored tonight," Jones said.
"You'd like for him to hit them all, but I'm glad he got the ones he got. … We've got more camp days and continue to evaluate him. In his case, we'll evaluate last year and this year, just to sum it up. We don't have any different opinion about him after the game than we had before the game."
Last year was a solid rookie season for Maher. His 29 made field goals ranked eighth in the NFL. His six field goals from 50 yards or more tied the Jets' Jason Myers for the most in the league last season and the most in Cowboys history for a single season, tying his predecessor Dan Bailey. Maher won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice, and he set career highs with four field goals in two early-season wins over Detroit and Jacksonville.
The Cowboys have been pleased overall with his camp so far, despite a couple of misses inside of 40 yards in the past week. Saturday didn't seem to change that thinking.