Oklahoma State football: Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey still sees room to improve

Dan Bailey only missed two field goals last season, both of which were beyond 50 yards. But like most NFL kickers, the former Oklahoma State player is a perfectionist.
by Michael Baldwin Published: August 24, 2013
Advertisement
;

Like most NFL kickers, Dan Bailey is a perfectionist.

A former Lou Groza winner from Oklahoma State, Bailey made all but two field goals last season with the Dallas Cowboys. Both misses were beyond 50 yards.

“My expectation is to make every one,” Bailey said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman. “It's kind of like golf. You can go out and shoot the best round of your life but there will always be that putt you could have made or a shot that got away even if it didn't kill your round.

“There are some things you wish you could have back and do over. Last year was a good year but there's definitely room to improve. I missed two kicks. I'll do my best this year not to miss any. That's my goal.”

Since he joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent two years ago, Bailey ranks third in the NFL in field goal percentage. He's converted nearly 90 percent of his field goal attempts.

The stat that jumps out is how reliable Bailey has been inside 47 yards. Remarkably, Bailey has missed only one kick in two seasons. From 46 yards or closer, Bailey is 41-of-42 with Dallas.

“You could make a compelling argument he does his job as well as anybody does on this team,” coach Jason Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. “He's about as reliable a guy as I've been around kicking the football.

“He's about as professional a guy as I've been around. He's an outstanding athlete and is as cool as they come. He's made some big kicks for us. We are lucky to have him.”

The clutch factor is what sets Bailey apart.

Bailey's only miss inside 47 yards was his second game, a 21-yard chip shot two years ago at San Francisco. Bailey, though, nailed a 48-yarder with :00 left to tie the game, then won it in overtime.

Rafael Septien, who played nine seasons in Dallas, set the franchise record for game-winning field goals. Seven. Bailey has tied Septien's mark in two seasons.

Bailey has booted four overtime game-winners. In two of those wins, he nailed kicks late in regulation to force overtime. Bailey also has kicked two last-second, game-winners.

“It's a lot of fun. That's what you dream about,” Bailey said. “It's the pinnacle.”

Bailey was 29-of-31 last season. His two misses were a 51-yard kick against Baltimore and 54-yarder against Atlanta.

Some blamed the miss against the Ravens on Garrett and the offense. After recovering an onside kick, the Cowboys advanced to the 34-yard line but inexplicably allowed 20 seconds to run off the clock.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant briefly argued with an official. As precious seconds ticked off the clock, Garrett eventually called timeout with :06 left. It forced Bailey to attempt a win-or-lose 51-yarder instead of running another play to get Bailey into his automatic range. His kick sailed wide left.


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Angels' Garrett Richards suffers patellar injury
  2. 2
    Former OU football star De'Mond Parker released on bond in gang case
  3. 3
    Report: Under Armour offers Kevin Durant rich deal
  4. 4
    SeaWorld pulls staff from water in killer whale shows
  5. 5
    Troubling Report Finds Children Are Getting Killed Once They're Deported From U.S.
+ show more