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Star Evaluation: Dan Bailey Looking To Return To Pre-Injury Greatness in 2018

While free agency officially begins in March, roster turnover isn't too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.

However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.

Today, we'll continue the series with kicker Dan Bailey.     

Views of #5 Kicker Dan Bailey from the 2017-18 Regular Season.

What's Been Good:

His first two weeks of the season were as good as you could get for a kicker. Not only did he make four field goals in a 19-3 win over the Giants in Week 1, but tied his career-best in Denver the following week, drilling a 56-yarder. Before his injury in Week 7, Bailey was a perfect 7 of 7 in field goals.    

What's Been Bad:

The last month of the season was certainly not something we've seen from Bailey in his career. In fact, he's never really had a struggling moment since he arrived in 2011. But coming off the groin injury, Bailey went 8 of 13 on field goals with two missed extra points. In the season-defining loss to the Seahawks, Bailey hit four field goals, but missed two others in the fourth quarter that prevented the Cowboys from making a comeback.

2017 Highlight:

Ironically enough, his best moment of the season occurred in a game that might have been his most frustrating. But before he missed two clutch kicks in the fourth vs. Seattle, Bailey hit consecutive 51-yard field goals, marking the fifth time in his career to hit multiple 50-yarders in a game.

What's Next:

Getting fully healthy again. Now Bailey did not blame his late-season struggles on the injury, but admitted that he was "out of rhythm" and wouldn't rule out his four-week absence has playing a role in that. Either way, look for him to work on his leg strength again to try and regain the form that has made him one of the best kickers in NFL history.

  • I have always believed that there were very few players on this squad that did their job better than Dan Bailey.
  • When it comes to preparation and execution, Bailey is similar to guys like Sean Lee, Zack Martin and Jason Witten.
  • Bailey is so productive at his craft that the staff doesn't think twice about putting him in pressure situations.
  • For as reliable as Bailey has been throughout his career, the one thing we've learned that can slow him down is an injury.
  • Bailey missed a string of games this season due to a groin injury he suffered in San Francisco and when he came back just wasn't quite the same.
  • Missed extra points and short field goals appeared with more regularity.
  • Automatic Dan was struggling and we didn't know what to make of it? Was it mental or his health? I side more with his health.
  • In the back of his mind I am positive that he was still concerned with the groin injury and it affected the way that he performed.
  • New season, better health and same old Dan Bailey - - book it.
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