*(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 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features kicker Dan Bailey.) *
Name: Dan Bailey
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 189
Experience: 2 seasons
College: Oklahoma State
Key stat: Bailey was automatic from all kicks inside of 50 yards, making 26 straight kicks. He was 7 of 7 from 40-49 and was pretty good from the 50 range, making 3 of 5.
Contract Status: Signed through 2013
2012 Impact:Once again, Bailey was one of the steadiest players on the Cowboys' roster. He had three-game winners on the final play – all against AFC teams. In fact, Bailey was the last Cowboys' player to touch the ball in all four games with the AFC. He won games in overtime against Pittsburgh and
Cleveland and booted the game-winner at the gun against Cincinnati. And he just missed a game-winning kick in Baltimore, but his 51-yard attempt sailed wide left. Bailey also made four field goals, including two in the final five minutes against Carolina. Overall, he was 29 of 31 and was considered by some as a Pro-Bowl snub for the second straight year.
Where He Fits: This is probably the easiest player to fill out this category on the entire team. He fits perfectly for the Cowboys, especially a team that struggled to score inside the red zone. The Cowboys moved the ball just fine, ranking sixth in total offense, which is equated by yards. But when you can't punch it into the end zone, you must have a reliable kicker and no one was better than Bailey inside the 50. Bailey isn't the best on his kickoffs, but it's not a huge problem. He gets it to the end zone and sometimes a touchback, but he's definitely not a boomer that practices his field-goal kicking on his kickoffs. There are a few returnable kicks and that's an area he can work on.
Rowan Kavner– It doesn't get much better at kicker around the league than Bailey. Sure, over 50 yards might be a toss-up, but he demonstrated last season that anything under 50 is basically a gimme. In fact, it was undoubtedly a converted field goal. The situation at kicker is sort of like what the Cowboys dealt with for years at quarterback before finding Tony Romo. The Cowboys, of all [embedded_ad] teams, know what it's like to have uncertainty at the position. They've finally found the consistency they've strived for with Bailey, who's given the team confidence that when they march inside the 30-yard line, they should get three points or more. The problem for the Cowboys was they couldn't reach the end zone enough and relied on Bailey for points too often.