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June 18, 2013

Dan Bailey aims to improve leg strength, learn from past experience -- good and bad

Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey said he spent a lot of time in the weight room this spring to add led strength.

“Got after it pretty good and tried to get a little more leg strength going into this year,” he said during the mini-camp last week at Valley Ranch. “You’re always working on the whole game. Improving the strength, working on the mental side of it – just trying to get better.”

Long field goals are about the only area where Bailey stands to get significantly better. He is 56-for-59 in two years with the Cowboys on kicks up to 49 yards and 5-for-9 from 50-plus. He missed from 53 at Arizona and 52 at the Giants in 2011, and from 51 at Baltimore and 54 at Atlanta last year.

It’s not necessarily all about strength – Bailey has had distance, and he did make three from 50 or longer last year. He also wants to maintain or improve accuracy and how he approaches potential game-winning situations.

“There’s a lot to learn from past experience, both positive and negative,” he said. “You don’t want to dwell on it. I think you can always look back and say, ‘OK, this situation, how did I respond and what did I do?’ Whether it was good or bad.”

Bailey has made six game-winning kicks, second most in Cowboys history behind Rafael Septien’s seven.

“That kind of comes with the territory,” said Bailey, undrafted out of Oklahoma State two years ago. “You just have to be prepared. It has come up a lot in the past two seasons. If it does come up again, luckily I have a lot of experience there, as does everybody in the operation. We’ll do our best, and I think we’ll have a pretty good outcome.”

Bailey said he lets himself enjoy the pressure moments.

“It’s fun. It’s what you dream about,” he said. “It’s the pinnacle, both good and bad. As a kicker, you live for those moments.”

Enough to pull for a chance to kick a game-winner versus having the offense score?

Bailey smiled.

“I’m just thinking, ‘Let’s win the game.’ So however that works is good for me,” he said.

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez



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