In Dan Bailey, Cowboys trust

OXNARD, Calif. – If there has been one constant at Cowboys training camp this summer, in addition to Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee, it has been Dan Bailey.

From the first practice through Thursday’s final practice, Bailey missed multiple kicks on only one day. In situation work, he made every kick but one when a 52-yarder hit halfway up the left upright. One of his game winners came from 59 yards.

“I wasn’t too happy about that,” Bailey said of the miss. “I thought I played it perfectly. It’s been significantly windy every day and the same wind every day, and I thought it would come back, but it stayed out there.”

In his first two years in the NFL, Bailey has proven to be one of the most clutch kickers, with seven game winners. With so many close games, having an accurate kicker is a must. Bailey made 29 of 31 attempts last year, with his misses from 51 (potential game winner at Baltimore) and 54 yards.

“It’s not necessarily nervous, because with nerves there’s a little doubt or you have doubt,” Bailey said when asked if he gets nervous before his big kicks. “It’s more of an anxious feeling.”

That’s why all of the situation work Jason Garrett puts the team through in practice means so much to him. As the offense moves down the field, Bailey goes through his normal game routine.

“I think it’s as close as you can get to a game situation,” Bailey said. “Jason does a great job for the whole team. It’s good stuff, especially when you get down there at the end of the game and you don’t know what’s going to happen. You’re playing it out and you have to be prepared for whatever situation that comes up.”

Garrett said the Cowboys are lucky to have Bailey.

“You could make a compelling argument that he does his job as well as anybody does theirs on this team,” Garrett said. “He’s an outstanding football player and he’s won a number of games for us at the end of games. He’s about as reliable a guy as I have been around kicking the football. He’s about as professional a guy as I have been around. He has some unbelievable traits in terms of his preparations and how conscientious he is. He is an outstanding athlete, and he is as cool as they come.”