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Mailbag: What About A Kicking Competition?


I'm really shocked that the Cowboys released Kai Forbath. What's wrong with some competition and let the better kicker win the job? — VINCENT VINCI / LAURENCE HARBOR, NJ

Nick: I am surprised as well. I guess with the numbers getting trimmed down to 80, that was a spot they didn't feel like needed to go long. Remember, part of having extra kickers during camp is for the actual preseason games. They don't want the punters and kickers doing all the work. Well, without any games, that cuts down how much work is needed. In practice, they're not really kicking and punting that much anyway. But, yes I'm surprised because I thought Forbath did everything he could've last year. He made every single kick, and who knows what happens with Greg Zuerlein this year? Yes, he's been good. But I've seen Mike Vanderjagt come here and he was completely done. So you just never know. I guess the thinking is, you can always grab a veteran on the street if he's needed. Maybe Forbath won't be available but it'll be someone like that.

Jonny: It was definitely surprising. My assumption is that John Fassel and the coaching staff felt pretty confident that Zuerlein would ultimately win the job anyway, so they felt it was more important to have that roster spot for players who might have to fill in at other positions. It's going to be such an unpredictable season with players down the depth chart who might be less prepared than they would under normal circumstances. Another player in, say, the secondary could prove more helpful than a kicking competition.

Do you think that given the secondary changes the Cowboys will have and the departure of Byron Jones in free agency, the cornerback position will be the most affected by the lack of a preseason? That is, the corners will not have the opportunity to have live game play against other rivals and it may show up big in the season? —  JOE REESE / ORLANDO, FL

Nick: I think it's going to be an issue – with games or not. It's a position that just needs plenty of work. Now, the good thing is that they'll be tested in practice quite often. This group they'll face every day is one of the NFL's best. So we should find out right away what cornerbacks are ready to play. But until they get out there in the games, it's going to be a big question mark about this team. The real hope is they find a way to get to the passer quickly and put less strain on the cornerback spot.

Jonny: I do think that will be the case. Ideally, the right players slide right into the scheme and it's a painless transition. That's certainly a possibility. But we don't even know who will start at the cornerback positions and that's because no one stands out as a surefire 16-week starter. There's definitely intriguing talent at the positions, but this is the exact situation where preseason games would be beneficial to evaluate that talent.

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