Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features kicker Dan Bailey.)
Name: Dan Bailey
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 210
Experience: 4 seasons
College: Oklahoma State
Key stat: On a streak that began in the 2013 season, Bailey set the Cowboys' record with 30 straight made field goals. He now has three of the five longest streaks in franchise history.
Contract Status: Signed through 2020.
2014 Impact: With Dan Bailey, the numbers don't tell the complete story -- and for a kicker that says a lot. Elected as a team captain, he is one of the hardest workers on the squad at any position. Bailey takes a great deal of pride in his conditioning and preparation. He's one of the best athletes on this squad and was a member of the Off Season Award team for his work in the team's conditioning program. It is no accident that he has enjoyed the success he has had during his career because of his offseason work. Overall a mentally strong player in relation to his position, but he appeared to get flustered in the playoff game against Green Bay. Never looked completely confident in the conditions, which were less than ideal, but could have been much worse. I remember observing him in pregame warmups and later on the sideline after the miss before the half and he just didn't appear to be his normal self. I might be making too much of this because up until that point in the season, he was rock solid. Only had two misses on his own the entire season to go along with three other blocks. He is a weapon from any position on the field and is also an exceptional kickoff man. Doesn't surprise me about the leg strength due to how hard he works in the weight room and on the field at his craft. Does an outstanding job of getting quickly to the ball with the smooth mechanics to get it home. Is very consistent in how he approaches each kick. It's rare that you see him struggle with his technique or the operation of the kick.
Where He Fits: Bailey is an ideal member of this football team on several different levels. He is reliable and prideful of his job. Has the poise to handle situations and the clutch ability to take the burden off his coaches and teammates of worrying about his performance. I like his toughness and the way he competes overall. He's one of those players that, when given the opportunity, is going to produce points game in and game out.
Nick Eatman: It's easy to remember what happened in the playoffs, but that's also a product of how good Bailey has been over the years. Yes he missed a 50-yard attempt on a bad surface in Green Bay and another chip-shot against the Lions, but Bailey also drilled a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter against Detroit that kept them within striking distance. That's what we've gotten used to with Bailey – focusing on the misses way more than the clutch kicks. And that's the sign of a true weapon, which is exactly what Bailey has become. He's probably the most stable player on this team and in a league where close games are the norm, having that gives the Cowboys an edge in most games.