FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys still plan to have Brett Maher kick in Sunday’s divisional round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, but signed Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad on Wednesday as insurance.
Maher missed four extra points in Monday’s wild-card win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the game, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Maher would continue as the kicker, and on Tuesday, head coach Mike McCarthy and special teams coordinator John Fassel backed him as well.
But if Maher struggles when he kicks in practice on Thursday and Friday, the Cowboys will at least have Vizcaino ready. He spent part of the 2020 offseason with the club.
Vizcaino played in three games this season with the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots. He made two field goal attempts and three extra points in the Cardinals’ win over the Los Angeles Rams.
On Tuesday, Fassel said Maher was battling a case of the yips when he became the first player in any NFL game since 1932 to miss four extra points in a regular-season or playoff game, according to Elias, a span of 16,207 games.
“I believe in the hot hand and I believe in the yips, absolutely,” Fassel said. “And you know, you wonder sometimes how you get into the yips and you wonder sometimes how you get back into the hot hand. I think it’s keep stepping up to the line and shooting that thing. We missed a couple of free throws [Monday] … He had a hot hand. Let’s face it, he only missed [six] kicks all season. The yips happen, so I expect a hot hand coming up.”
In the regular season, Maher made 29 of 32 field goal attempts, missing from 59 yards twice and 46 yards. He made 50 of 53 extra points but missed his final point-after attempt in the regular-season finale loss to the Washington Commanders, then four straight against the Buccaneers.
“Life happens, man. I mean, look at our first three plays. We all had three drops,” wide receiver TY Hilton said. “It happens. And for him, man, like after the second one, I just went up to him and said, ‘Chin up. Hey, we got you. We OK. We good.’ Just continue to just let him get his confidence. All he needs to do is see one go in and he’s fine. But it happens, man. Bad stuff happens, but we got his back no matter what.”