"He's done. He's faking it. He can't handle the scrutiny of kicking for the Dallas Cowboys."
Vanderjagt's Teflon attitude makes it easy for him to dismiss such
"Fortunately, that (skepticism) is coming from people who don't know anything about me," Vanderjagt said. "If you were in Indianapolis,
you'd know that preseason kicks don't mean a thing to me. Up there,
I'd miss a preseason kick, and it's not like they (the Indianapolis
Colts) would be bringing someone in to take my place."
The Cowboys, of course, are carrying Shaun Suisham as their kickoff
specialist, and Suisham kicked field goals in the opener while
Vanderjagt nursed his strained groin. The decision to carry two
kickers goes against the beliefs of head coach Bill Parcells, who
felt it is necessary to carry the extra kicker solely for kickoffs.
Vanderjagt said he would like to kick off as well, and believes he's
ready to take over both jobs.
"That's going to come to a head really soon," he said. "I believe I'm
ready to kick off, and that's something I've said I would like to do.
"But I know how (Parcells) is -- he's very much a practice guy, he
goes off the production he sees in practice. If he's going to judge
me just on what he sees in practice, he's not going to like what he
sees too much."
Whether the Cowboys continue to carry an extra kicker is something
Parcells said he's going to have to decide before every game.
"I've got to consider that on a week-to-week basis," Parcells said.
"The (weather) elements are part of it. If it's raining the other
night (in the Dallas win Sunday night over Washington) like it did in
warm-ups, then that changes how we approach things -- we're just
trying to keep the ball down in their end (of the field)."
Parcells said that based on what he has seen in practice from his
kickers, Suisham gives the Cowboys an edge in field position. He said
that Suisham's kicks -- both longer and higher -- result in a 12- to
15-yard advantage in field position. Add that up over four kickoffs
per game, Parcells said, and the end result is a shift of about 60
yards, which he equates to about four points on the scoreboard.
"Suisham did help us the other night (in the win over Washington),"
Parcells said. "If he had tackled (Rock) Cartwright on that kickoff
(which Cartwright returned 100 yards for the Redskins' only
touchdown), he would have helped more. But it (carrying two kickers)
is not something I like -- it's something I dislike -- and one of
these days, it's going to bite us."
Vanderjagt acknowledged that while he would like to assume kickoff
duties in addition to kicking field goals and extra points, Suisham
is a valuable asset.
"Shaun is not just a guy who comes in and kicks off," Vanderjagt
said. "We're going to save 5, 6, 7 yards every time with him. He is a
Vanderjagt also said that his performance and injury have drawn far
more scrutiny since his arrival in Dallas than they would have if he
still was a member of the Colts.
"You guys would have been all of the media up there," he said to the
six reporters around him, "not the other 40 in here."
But he said the attention that comes with being a kicker is not
something he would prefer to avoid.
"I like the pressure of every kick," he said. "I enjoy the moment,
with the crowd going crazy. Yes, I think it's been over-evaluated,
and it wasn't the smoothest transition when I got here. But for me,
I'm two-for-two this season and I've got a 50 (-yard field goal
against the Redskins) under me. It's kind of old, but the Dallas
Cowboys are a high-profile team, so the attention is to be expected.
"I thought it would be pretty easy (kicking for the Cowboys) -- I
think I'm pretty good at what I do. But that's not the case. I
figured (Parcells) out a long time ago. It's his way or the highway.
I'm sure over the next 14 weeks, I'll miss a kick I think I should
make, and people will say I suck again.
"The 50 is something that feels good to get out of the way. I
certainly feel good (physically) and good about kicking for the
Told You So
CowboysHQ Top Stories
Cowboys 1st and 10: The Front Four ShuffleEach weekend I provide 10 quick hits on the Cowboys. Marinelli is turning to his tackles to create an edge rush, the debate about Romo’s job security is a little insulting, and…
Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Picks for Week 3Here are CowboysHQ.com's Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football picks for Week 3 against the Chicago Bears (plus a Norm Hitzges special!)
CowboysHQYesterday at 10:00 AM
Cowboys STARCast: 'Alpha Pup' Vs. The BearsCowboys STARCast: 'Alpha Pup' + 'Butterfly' + Big Changes On D Vs. The Bears - Hear from Tyrone, Jack, Church and Durant!
CowboysHQYesterday at 7:05 AM
Cowboys Shuffle D-Line; Do Sacks Matter?We know the Cowboys' pass rush is challenged. We know, thanks to CHQ sources, that a shuffle is coming this Sunday. So, historically, how much do sacks really matter to a team's…
CowboysHQYesterday at 4:57 AM
Cowboys 100: Facts + Figures for BearsThe Cowboys host the Bears Sunday night in the second Sunday night game in the series. The Cowboys are fifth in the league in time of possession, but where are they in points per…
CowboysHQThursday at 10:06 AM