Is Suisham The Answer?

IRVING, Tex. - Shaun Suisham is to kickers what Trent Dilfer was to quarterbacks.

Modest and methodical, he can be consistent enough to, as Bill Parcells liked to say, "manage a game" or be a "bus driver." Team looking for the next John Elway, an über-athletic scrambler with a bazooka of an arm would have been wildly disappointed with Dilfer. But when in need of a smart quarterback who understands defenses and how to attack them, and someone who is careful with the football, a team would be thrilled to have Dilfer — case in point, the Baltimore Ravens, the defense-heavy team Dilfer guided to a victory in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001.

Likewise, a team looking for another Sebastian Janikowski would scoff at the idea of bringing in Suisham, as the Cowboys did this week after cutting suddenly-erratic Nick Folk. Suisham isn't going to drill 50-yarders with any regularity, but when within his range, he is remarkably consistent. Despite a shanked 23-yarder that effectively cost his team an upset win over the New Orleans Saints, Suisham hit 18-of-23 field goals this season as a member of the Washington Redskins.

There's no debating the fact that his three missed field goals were costly. He missed two against the Cowboys, either of which likely would have iced an admittedly ugly win for the Redskins, before missing the chip shot against New Orleans that would have given Washington a 10-point lead over the then-undefeated Saints in the waning minutes. Had he made a kick he should have been able to hit left-footed, the national scribes would have been discussing how Washington — not Dallas — broke the Saints' winning streak.

Now, in a scenario with all of the predictability of an after-school special, Suisham's first game in his second tour of duty with the Cowboys will be against the team that most recently sent him to the unemployment line: the Redskins.

Suisham has been on both sides of what traditionally is one of the NFL's most intense rivalries. He insists that he harbors no ill will toward the Redskins, and doesn't see his first game in Dallas — Part Deux as a revenge game.


Suisham's misses essentially gave a then-mediocre Dallas team a win over a Washington team that was only slightly less inept that day.

Rest assured, he'd like nothing better than a chance to give the Cowboys another win over the Redskins by drilling a game-winner. He might well hold no grudge against Washington's coaches or management for dumping him, but every competitive athlete has an ego, and Suisham probably would like nothing more than to show the Redskins they made a mistake by letting him go.

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