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Mike McCarthy: Cowboys K Brett Maher ‘he needs to practice well’

Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) misses a point after touchdown kick in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tristan Vizcaino was on the field with the Dallas Cowboys at Thursday’s practice, but coach Mike McCarthy said that the kicking insurance policy doesn’t mean the team does not believe in Brett Maher.

Maher missed four straight extra-point attempts in Monday’s 31-14 wild-card win over the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He converted his fifth and final try of the game.

Dallas added Vizcaino to the practice squad on Tuesday. Vizcaino had previous stints with the 49ers, Chargers, Cardinals and Patriots and was briefly on the Cowboys’ offseason roster in 2020.

“It doesn’t take anything away from our trust in Brett,” McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “I just think it’s part of the responsibility. Player acquisition’s a 365-day (thing), this is nothing out of the normal for us.”

It’s unclear if the Cowboys would consider carrying two kickers on the active roster for Sunday’s divisional round game at the San Francisco 49ers.

“He (Maher) needs to practice well this week,” McCarthy said, adding, “We all need to practice well this week. I better coach well this week.”

Maher might have received the message. According to reporters in clear view of the kicking display at the Cowboys’ practice in Frisco, Texas, Maher went 6-for-6 on field goals and Vizcaino went 3-for-5, including missing his very first kick.

“Whoever lines up here on the 48, I’ll have great confidence,” McCarthy said.

The Cowboys will head west hoping to be the first team to hand San Francisco a loss since Oct. 23. The Niners have won 11 straight games, including seven behind rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who’s impressed the league after taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

McCarthy said there’s no point in crunching tape of Purdy’s days at Iowa State.

“He’s got plenty of film now and he’s played at a very high level. … He’s not a rookie anymore in our eyes,” McCarthy said.

“The three things that jumped out to me … is his instincts, his awareness and his confidence. For a young player he definitely looks very confident and comfortable in the system.”

–Field Level Media