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Jerry Jones Pokes at Greg Zuerlein: Would Dallas Cowboys Give Kicker the Boot?

Greg Zuerlein has been boom-or-bust for most of the 2021 season

The Dallas Cowboys' former NFL-leading rushing game has shriveled, topping 100 yards only five times in the last 10 games.

They lead the league in penalties, getting flagged more than even the traditionally undisciplined Raiders.

Speedy receiving weapon Michael Gallup is out for the season with a knee injury.

Opposing offenses continue to pick on - and expose - any cornerback not named Trevon Diggs.

And coach Mike McCarthy's questionable clock management consistently rears its ugly head.

But at the top of the Cowboys' concerns about winning a playoff game and making a possible run to Super Bowl LVI: Greg Zuerlein's boom-or-bust kicking.

After watching Zuerlein hook a 43-yard field goal in last Sunday's three-point loss to the Cardinals, owner Jerry Jones addressed the issue Tuesday on his 105.3 The Fan weekly radio appearance.

“I think the most important part of a kicker is consistency," Jones said. "And it’s not consistently missing.”

Seems far-fetched to question a veteran kicker who entering Week 17 had made 11 consecutive field goals and earlier this season connected on four dramatic, pressure kicks: Tying the game at Tampa (48 yards, 1:24 remaining), beating the Chargers (56, :00) and forcing overtime in New England (49, :20) and against the Raiders (45, :19).

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But against elevated competition with higher stakes, Jones knows that even one missed kick - field goal or extra point - could be the difference between heading on and going home.

Said the owner of the 25-22 loss to Arizona, “That’s the type of team and the type of game we’ll be playing every time in the playoffs.”

Among kickers on NFC playoff teams, Zuerlein has missed five extra points while no one else has more than three. Only Green Bay's Mason Crosby (nine) and Arizona's Matt Prater (seven) have missed more field goal than Zuerlein's six.

As every Cowboys fan knows, the 34-year-old Zuerlein is both incredibly powerful and infuriatingly inconsistent. He's the basketball player that misses two free throws in the third quarter, but recovers to hit the game-winning 3-pointer from half-court at the buzzer. He's the baseball pitcher that walks the bases loaded, then promptly strikes out the side. His kicks are rarely smooth and straight, instead featuring uncomfortable and unpredictable movement that teases and scares before - usually - winding up at the desired destination between the uprights.

He was clutch late against the Buccaneers, but only after earlier missing an extra point and two field goals (31, 60) in the two-point loss. In the overtime loss to Las Vegas, his 59-yard attempt caromed off the left upright. And against the Cardinals his 43-yarder drifted wide left, as do most of his misses.

Three of Zuerlein's six misses are from 50+, and he's a relatively reliable 90 percent (26 of 29) between 20-49 yards.

But in the Cowboys' five losses, their kicker has four missed field goals and two botched extra points.

Can the Cowboys win the Super Bowl with Zuerlein as their kicker?