The Dallas Cowboys are entering the 2023 NFL season with a ton of expectations weighing on them. They certainly didn't need to face stress early in training camp. But, this being the Cowboys, of course they have. They're now down to one kicker on the roster and he's never played an NFL game.
On Monday, the Cowboys released Tristan Vizcaino, leaving rookie Brandon Aubrey as the only kicker on the roster. Aubrey has an interesting background. He was a third-team All-American at Notre Dame ... as a soccer player. He was a first-round pick by Toronto in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, but was released after one season. He played for Bethlehem Steel FC in 2018 before being released, after which he decided to switch to football.
Aubrey played for the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL for two season, winning championships in 2022 and 2023. He signed with the Cowboys on July 3 and is now the odds-on favorite to be their kicker in Week 1.
Kicking has been a sore spot for Dallas over the past few seasons. After a solid campaign in 2022, Brett Maher completely fell apart in the playoffs. He made both field goals he attempted, but went 1-for-6 on extra points, including going 1-for-5 a Wild Card Round win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also missed his only extra point attempt in a Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Maher had replaced Greg Zuerlein, who had gone 29-for-35 on field goals during the 2021 season and 42-for-48 on extra points. In 2020, he went 34-for-41 on field goals, including 3-for-9 from 50-plus yards.
The Cowboys have had a kicking issue for years and, it appears, they're putting their trust in a rookie this season without much of a competition at the position.