A Folk’d Up Kicking Situation

After missing five field goals in the last four games, the Cowboys are starting to worry about their kicking situation. Nick Folk was automatic his rookie year making the pro bowl in 2007 and continued to shine in 2008. He had hip surgery in the offseason and didn’t resume kicking until training camp. This season Folk has missed 8 of 24 attempts.

It’s possible he’s just having an off year and after missing his normal offseason training and routine because of surgery it certainly explains why he’s struggling.

But its also possible that the misses aren’t completely Folk’s fault. As stated by the coaches, it could be a combination of things. Folk automatically gets the blame because he’s the kicker but there is also the long snapper and the holder in the mix.

“The hold, the snap, the kick, the coach,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said, including himself in the equation. “We’ve got to get it squared away.”

“I’m worried that it’s a combination of confidence more than anything,” Wade Phillips said. “They work all the time on it. Those guys spend a lot of practice time snapping and holding, snapping and holding. That’s what they do and kicking. I would feel like we would have more confidence than we’ve had. Whether it’s working into the kicker or the holder or whoever, we’ve got to determine what we need to do there and go forward.”

“I’m not losing any faith in Nick at all,” DeCamillis said. “I’ve been around this thing for 22 years, and I’ve seen them miss ’em and I’ve seen them make ’em. They go through stretches just like any other player. Unfortunately for him, it’s right out in the open for everybody to see.”

Both Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis are confident in Nick Folk’s ability so it doesn’t seem like any big changes are coming, but they will be working on some of the details and smaller aspects of the field goal unit.

Rookie kicker David Buehler is excellent on kickoffs but not as accurate or consistent when it comes to field goals.

Don’t expect to see any noticeable changes any time soon. It’s likely they will just practice more and try to correct the problem.

Hopefully the crowd can get back to cheering “FOLK YEAH!” very soon.

Cowboys Add Return Specialist

The Cowboys and Allen Rossum have agreed on a 1-year deal to bring the return specialist to Dallas.

From the Cowboys website:

Rossum is expected to sign a one-year, veteran-minimum contract with the Cowboys on Wednesday morning. A Dallas native who played at Skyline High School, Rossum left for Notre Dame before joining the Philadelphia Eagles as a third-round cornerback in 1998.

Philadelphia quickly learned that Rossum’s greatest talents were as a kickoff and punt returner, a role he’s filled for five franchises over the last 11 seasons. After two years with the Eagles he was traded to Green Bay, where he spent two seasons. He signed an unrestricted free-agent contract with Atlanta in 2002 and went on to play five years there before being traded to Pittsburgh for the 2007 season.

After a year in the Steel City he joined the 49ers, playing in San Francisco for all of last season and the first four games of 2009 before he was waived Monday to make room for first-round pick Michael Crabtree, who ended his holdout last week.

In 156 career games Rossum has 307 punt returns, averaging 10 yards per return with three touchdowns. He has returned 513 kickoffs at an average of 23.3 yards, with five scores.

Rossum would replace Patrick Crayton as the Cowboys’ primary punt returner. Felix Jones, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree have served as kickoff returners so far this season. Crayton has averaged 8.0 yards on 10 punt returns this season, but mishandled one kick Sunday, leading to a Kansas City touchdown, and then appeared hesitant to field a couple of more punts later in the game.

Rossum, who has 10 career starts at cornerback as well, will replace Cletis Gordon, who was released Tuesday after signing on in an emergency cornerback role last week.

Sounds like a good deal. Lord knows we didn’t want Patrick Crayton resuming duties after the bye week.

Thanks to Nate for giving me the heads up.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 1

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Tony Romo.

With the weight of world on his shoulders, Tony Romo lead his team to a seasoner opener victory Sunday afternoon as the Cowboys dominated the Buccaneers 34-21. Completing 16 of 27 passes, Romo threw a career high 353 yards and ended the day with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Using his various weapons, Tony Romo looked absolutely stunning hitting Patrick Crayton on an 80 yard completion for a TD, another career high. His other two touchdowns were also long, airing out to Miles Austin for 42 yards and Roy Williams for 66 yards.

“You’re not judged off of yards or anything like that,” Tony Romo said. “You’re judged off of winning and losing at this position. I think our team understands that it’s about winning and losing. And that’s what we’re out here to try and do.”

After last year’s dismal season, it was apparent that Tony Romo needed to step up and step up big. The Cowboys still have a long season ahead, but Romo’s performance this week surely removed any doubt that he was ready to lead this team all the way.


This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to David Buehler.

In his NFL debut, rookie specialist David Buehler shined and helped Special Teams look fantastic something we haven’t seen since… hmm can’t remember the last time actually.

Buehler, a kickoff specialist, had three touchbacks out of seven kickoffs Sunday. Now, its extremely important to note that the Cowboys had zero touchbacks in 2008, and only four total in 2007. The last time the Cowboys had multiple touchbacks in one game was more than a decade ago, in 1998.

Field position can mean everything in a game. Buehler held the Tampa Bay Bucs to an average drive start of 23 yards.

“Everybody got their minds right and came out ready to play. It was good to have a couple of touchbacks in the first game of my NFL career. I felt like I had a pretty good game and did my job,” David Buehler said.

Owner Jerry Jones also bragged about Buehler after the game.

“The guy I feel as good about as anybody on this team is Buehler,” Jones said. “You can see what Buehler can mean with the field position he gave us on kickoffs. It’s great for him because that was our focus. For the first kick he ever makes and drives in the back of the end zone for a touchback, that’s big.”

Now does everyone understand why the Cowboys have three kickers on their roster?


Congratulations to Tony and David for their outstanding play.

Runners-up: Patrick Crayton who racked up 135 yards and a TD on 4 passes, Crayton was also wide open on several plays and could have easily had more yards and/or touchdowns. Nick Folk was perfect accounting for 10 points, including a 51-yard field goal to jump start the Cowboys win in the first half.

Miles Austin: The SuperNova

Miles Austin was born on June 30, 1984 in Summit, New Jersey. Miles attended Garfield High School in Garfield, New Jersey, and was a letterman in football,basketball, and track and field. In football he played wide reciever and defensive back, and as a senior he won All-Bergen County honors and All-State honors. In basketball, Austin garnered All-Bergen County honors as well. In track and field, Austin participated in the 100 meter dash, long jump, triple jump, and javelin throw. He recorded the second-longest javelin throw in Bergen County history with a throw of 214 feet, 8 inches. Austin finished third in the long jump and the triple jump at the New Jersey Meet of Champions. Miles Austin graduated from Garfield High School in 2002.

Miles college career took home at Monmouth. In his college career he caught 150 passes for 2,867 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is the school record-holder in recieving yards. He rushed 15 times for 140 yards and 1 touchdown. In 2003 Miles Set a Monmouth single-season record for touchdown catches with 12.

His NFL career started when the Dallas Cowboys signed him as a undrafted rookie free agent. In his rookie year he returned 29 kickoffs for 753 yards and recorded 5 tackles. His main highlight of the year was in the Cowboys playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. He returned 3 kickoffs for 136 yards in the game, including a 93 yard touchdown return. In the 55 postseason games in franchise history, it was the Cowboys’ first ever kickoff return touchdown in the playoffs. Miles caught his first career touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers. In 2008 he had 13 catches for 278 and 3 touchdowns with an average of 21.4 yards per catch.

With the release of Terrell Owens, Miles is expected to start as the No. 2 receiver across from Roy Williams.

Legends of the Star – Mel Renfro


This week’s Legend of the Star is the longtime, outstanding Cowboys safety, Mel Renfro. Mel Renfro was an All-American running back at the University of Oregon, where he not only set many team and college records, but was eventually enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1964, Renfro was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys immediately started him at safety that season rather than at running back and used him extensively on special teams. Although the move baffled many, he ended up leading the Cowboys with seven interceptions, while leading the NFL in kickoff and punt returns in his rookie season.

Although he spent his first few years as a safety, it wasn’t until he was switched to cornerback that his career would skyrocket. Renfro used his speed to intimidate opposing wide receivers and was absolutely dominating in the secondary. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for 10 straight seasons. In his 14-season career, Renfro intercepted 52 passes that he returned for 626 yards. He returned 109 punts for 842 yards and 85 kickoffs for 2,246 yards and a sparkling 26.4-yard average, and led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1969. Renfro always knew how to turn it up in big games too, and one of his most memorable plays was a key interception that led to the Cowboys’ game-winning touchdown over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Title game in 1970. He helped the Cowboys win nine division titles, four NFC Championships, and Super Bowls, VI and XII.

Mel Renfro was added to the Texas Stadium Ring of Honor in 1981, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Cliff Harris

This week’s “Legend of the Star” is one of the best defensive players in Cowboys history, none other than Cliff Harris. Although Cliff was not drafted in 1970, he was invited by the Cowboys to training camp where he shocked his coaches with his intense style of play. Although the organization had just drafted the highly touted Charlie Waters, the Cowboys surprised everyone in the league when they announced that Cliff Harris would be the starter at free safety for the season opener.

 Cliff Harris single handedly led the secondary with his “all-out” style of play and due to his relentless pursuit of the ball carrier he was soon nicknamed “Captain Crash” by his teammates. His devastating hits struck fear in the hearts of any ball carrier that got in his way. The new nickname became synonymous with his hard-nosed, bone-crushing style of play and many football experts credit Cliff Harris for changing the way the free safety position is played today.

His rookie year was interrupted due to military service, but he returned just in time to help the Cowboys win Super Bowl VI over the Dolphins. He continued playing at free safety for the next 9 seasons, and began to compile some incredible achievements while playing one great season after another. He was considered by many to being the most dominating defensive player in the NFL during his tenure. In a stunning decision, he announced his retirement following the 1979 season to pursue his business ventures.

Harris finished his 10 NFL seasons with 29 interceptions, which he returned for 281 yards and 1 touchdown, and 18 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 91 yards. He also gained 418 yards on punt returns and 1,622 yards returning kickoffs.

During his short yet remarkable career, he made 5 Super Bowl appearances and was chosen for the Pro Bowl six consecutive times. He is in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and Sports Illustrated Writers named him their Dream Team free safety. In 2004 he was selected to the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor for his contributions to the franchise. He truly was a “Legend of the Star” in every sense and I enjoyed telling you a little about this great Cowboy.


Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.