Buried beneath the pile of bad news that was Sunday’s 37-9 loss to the NFC-East leading Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) was the faintest of faint silver linings for the Cowboys (5-5).
Yes, it’s kicker news, but it’s still technically good news. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey tried out his leg on some field goals during pre-game warmups, for the first time since injuring his groin in Dallas’ 40-10 win at the 49ers on Oct. 22.
“I’m definitely better than I was,” Bailey said after the game. “It’s still a, not to sound too cliché, but it’s still kind of a day-to-day thing.”
Sunday’s game was Bailey’s fourth full game on the shelf after he went down during the second quarter in San Francisco. The week after he went down, the Cowboys expected Bailey to miss “four weeks or more,” according to team vice president Stephen Jones.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
Mike Nugent has assumed the kicking responsibilities since Bailey’s injury, and he was the only player producing any actual points Sunday in the Cowboys’ second straight loss without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith. He’s 7 for 9 on field goal tries in his four games with the Cowboys and 8 for 8 on extra point kicks.
Nugent hit field goals of 47 and 48 yards against the Eagles.
Even when Bailey does return, the Cowboys might still carry both kickers on the roster, possibly using Bailey for shorter field goals and Nugent for longer kicks.
But when will the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL be back in a Cowboy uniform? This week will give the Cowboys a lot of information in figuring out Bailey’s return date.
“We’ll see how I feel [Monday]. Hopefully back soon,” Bailey said. “Today was good. I’m sure we’ll have a discussion about it tomorrow and kind of see where we’re at and make a decision from there.”