The Cowboys don't know any more about their new field-goal kicker than they did two weeks ago. For the second consecutive game, David Buehler didn't get to try a field goal.
Buehler, who led the league with 29 touchbacks last season as the team's kickoff specialist, is the only kicker on the team's roster. They have confidence in him based on his consistency in practice, but they will have him on a short leash when the season starts.
The Cowboys don't want a repeat of last season when they ranked 30th in field-goal percentage, hitting only 20 of 31 tries. Nick Folk and Shaun Suisham neither one helped the team's cause.
Buehler has made 6-of-7 field-goal tries in the preseason, missing from 49 yards.
In the past two games, he has three PATs and five kickoffs.
"It has been a while," Buehler said. "Those PATs are keeping me ready. The more PATs I have the better. I’d rather not kick a field goal. Keep kicking PATs and touchbacks."
The Cowboys could have elected to have Buehler try a 48-yarder with 3:21 remaining in the fourth quarter. But trailing 23-7, coaches chose to go for it on fourth down and Stephen McGee's pass fell incomplete.
"The only way we could win the game is if we score touchdowns," Buehler said. "It’s preseason. I was ready to go if my name was called, but it wasn’t. I’ve just got to be ready in those situations."
Both of his kickoffs went for touchbacks in Saturday's game against the Texans. He had one in the game against the Chargers. But Buehler wasn't completely happy with his first kickoff Saturday night. It went 5 yards deep into the end zone to open the second half, and Sherrick McManis dropped to a knee.
"That first one, even though it was a touchback, I wasn't pleased with the direction of the ball," Buehler said. "IIt was supposed to be deep right. I kicked it right down the middle. That's a no-no in Joe D's [Joe DeCamillis] eyes. I want to accomplish all three aspects of the kickoff -- the direction, hang time and distance. I got two of them, so that was good enough. But I don't like to settle for mediocrity."
-- Charean Williams