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Mailbag: Can Maher Regroup? Add Another Kicker? 


Do you think Brett Maher can mentally find his mojo again before the 49ers game? It would seem bringing in another kicker at this point would be risky in terms of the kicking operation's timing, but any chance we use a roster spot for a backup kicker? How should the team, and even Maher, handle his clunker of a game? – Ralph Briggs/Boston, MA

Nick: I believe in the "body of work" theory. So it'd be one thing if Maher was just average all year – very up and down at times – and then had a game like that. But he's been really good all season, so he's got some skins on the wall in my book. That being said, you have to protect yourself. That's where it gets tricky. Does bringing in another kicker on the practice squad actually hurt you more than it helps? If kicking is all about the psychological aspect, then having another guy here in practice might make things even worse in terms of handling pressure. Personally, I think he'll pull through. And I give Mike McCarthy a lot of credit with this one. He could've easily given in to the frustrated guys on the sideline and just go for two. But he kept trying to kick it, and eventually, Maher nailed it through the uprights. And that's the last kick in a game before the next one. That's his first made kick of any kind in the 2023 calendar year. Let's see if he builds on that.

Patrik: Handle it as exactly that: a clunker. There are no excuses anyone should attempt to make for a kicker going 0/4 on point after attempts, setting a franchise and league record in the process, but I'd also say the micro needs to be rolled into the macro here. In looking at the macro, Maher has been a weapon for the Cowboys in 2022, and when few expected that to be the case, so whatever happened in Tampa — field, wind, tilt of the planet, whatever — is something I'm willing to forgive going forward based solely off of his total body of work this season. It's difficult to not be a prisoner of the moment at times when you witness what we all witnessed from Maher on Monday in Tampa, but Prescott just smoked Brady and the Bucs only one week after laying an egg of his own. Sometimes, it's just a bad day at the office and, finally (albeit unfortunately), it was Maher's turn.

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