In the draft, the Cowboys made an excellent choice in first team All-PAC 10 kicker, Nick Folk. After the way the season ended for them, you had to think the kicking game would be first and foremost in their minds. Some may even say they drafted the veteran QB Brad Johnson simply to replace Romo as holder, of course, this would be incorrect but it is another wise move by the Cowboy organization. Throw in Pro-bowl punter Matt McBriar and an experienced but excitable Martin Grammatica and voila, you have what would appear to be a pretty solid kicking squad.
Folk had impressive numbers at Arizona, he can also punt quite well, a 44.2 avg., if called upon to do so. He was a perfect 22 for 22 on XP’s and 15 of 20 in FG’s including a 52-yarder in â€˜06 for the Wildcats. Not bad numbers at all for relatively big kid from California. Last year the Pats were forced to rely on a rookie kicker and look how well that turned out, almost making the Super Bowl again. And let’s not forget how Neil Rackers burst on the scene for the Cardinals two years ago as a rookie. Competition is always the best motivator at any position, including PK.
McBriar is quite possibly the most technically proficient punter in the game today with no blocks and a career 44 yard average. He appeared in his first Pro-Bowl in â€˜06 and expect many more from this talented young kicker from Hawaii. The only statistic that would appear to need some improvement, and I do mean a little bit, as there is always room for improvement, right, would be kicks inside the 20. But that isn’t intolerable at the present.
What is there to say about Martin Grammatica that hasn’t already been said, except that look for him to have possibly the best year of his career this season. After being out of football for a year and then attempting a comeback with the Colts, he seems to have turned the corner with the Cowboys. He made some clutch kicks after the late release of K Mike Vanderjagt, who never found the consistency Bill Parcells required, and has a history of exceptional performance in the month of December. So should the Cowboys actually be playing at that time, he will be a crucial element.
I know how most true football fans regard kickers, and I also feel that the game has become a little too field goal oriented of late, but it is still the one area that can either make or break a team late in the season, as evidenced last year. Let’s all hope perhaps not as many games will depend upon a last second kick, especially Cowboys’ fans.