Cowboys sign kicker to practice squad after Maher meltdown

Maher is expected to kick Sunday night in the divisional game at San Francisco

Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) watches his extra point miss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (Chris Carlson, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

FRISCO, Texas (AP) – The Dallas Cowboys signed kicker Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad Wednesday, adding an option in case Brett Maher’s wild-card meltdown lingers into practice this week.

Maher missed his first four extra points in the 31-14 victory over Tampa Bay, an NFL first in the regular season or playoffs. He made the fifth to end a streak of five consecutive botched PATs going back to the regular-season finale against Washington.

Owner/general manager Jerry Jones, coach Mike McCarthy and special teams coach John Fassel backed Maher during the week, saying they expected him to kick Sunday night in the divisional game at San Francisco.

Jones was less definitive on his radio show Tuesday. He said the club would see how the week went. The move to Vizcaino could be made if Maher’s struggles continue in practice.

The only full practice of the week is Thursday, but Fassel said there would be no adjustment in Maher’s routine. Fassel said Maher kicks on Thursday and Friday during a normal week.

Vizcaino, who spent part of the 2020 offseason with Dallas, made both field goals and all three extra points in Week 10 with Arizona. The 26-year-old was with New England after that but didn’t attempt any kicks.

In 2021, Vizcaino was just 10 of 15 on extra points with the Los Angeles Chargers before he was demoted in October. He spent the rest of the season on the LA practice squad.

Maher was in the top 10 in field goal percentage during the regular season after making 29 of 32 (91%). He was 50 of 53 on PATs before the playoffs.

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