Dan Bailey is almost back to normal … no pun intended.
The Cowboys kicker woke up with a stiff back in San Francisco on Oct. 2. He nearly missed the following week’s game against Cincinnati, as the Cowboys worked out kickers leading up to the game.
Finally, though, Bailey is close to 100 percent.
“Last week in Green Bay, I felt pretty close to being there,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t quite there. At the same time, I’m kind of somewhat of a perfectionist, so I like for everything to be exactly as it should be at least in my head. I think just judging that progression and this week off, and we’ll have another week of practice, I think I’ll be good [for the Eagles game on Oct. 30].”
Bailey missed a 47-yarder wide left in the 24-17 victory over the 49ers, though he had only one of his five kickoffs returned past the 25. He had three touchbacks, and the 49ers had returns to their own 22 and the 29.
“After the game, it became apparent there was something there probably pre-existing,” Bailey said. “As far as how it came about, I just literally went to sleep and woke up in the morning and couldn’t move hardly. It’s kind of a crazy way for it to happen.”
The Cowboys had safety Jeff Heath kick in practice the next Wednesday before working out three kickers the following day. Ultimately, though, Bailey kicked against the Bengals.
“It was weird, because I had never been in that position before,” Bailey said. “I think that was the first practice I ever missed, college or here. That’s 10-plus years of not ever being through that. Especially early in the week, I had my doubts [of playing] for sure. As the week went on, I thought it was something I could be able to manage come game day, and it turned out I was able to do that.”
Bailey tried no field goals against the Bengals and Cincinnati started at the 25 or inside the 25 all five times he kicked off. Last week against Green Bay, Bailey went 3-for-3.
Despite missing two field goals this season, Bailey remains the NFL’s all-time most accurate kicker at 90.116 percent.
“The bye week comes at a good time. Get some rest. Hopefully get back to 100 percent,” he said. “Really the past two or three weeks have just been about managing, kind of trying to keep it under control and then hopefully get it back this week.”