Cowboys prefer Romo not be holder

Updated: February 23, 2010, 6:32 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

The Dallas Cowboys have hired former kicker Chris Boniol as a consultant to help fix the team's field goal problems.

Boniol will help kicker David Buehler during the offseason and training camp. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said it has not been determined if Boniol will stick around once the regular season starts.

"Anytime you get a guy who has been in that situation as a pro, you take advantage of it," DeCamillis said. "He's made this like a career where he helps high school and college [kids] train at his camp. It's a good system."

DeCamillis said Boniol's work with Buehler does not mean he'll be kicking field goals when the season begins. Connor Hughes, who was signed to a reserve/futures contract on Feb. 1, could make the final roster if he beats out Buehler.

"I agree with it," Buehler said of bringing in Boniol. "The more set of eyes I can have watching me, that's better for me. It allows me to progress and become the field goal kicker I need to be."

The Cowboys have ruled out trying to draft a kicker, even though they've had success doing that in 2007 and 2009.

Nick Folk earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2007 -- his rookie year -- but was cut in December 2009 after missing a NFL-high 10 field goals.

Buehler, drafted as a kickoff specialist/special teams player in 2009, led the NFL with 29 touchbacks last season. It was a significant improvement from the previous year, when Folk had none.

The Cowboys, however, struggled on field goal attempts for most of the 2009 season.

Folk made 11 of his first 13 attempts, but only made 8-of-15 before the Cowboys cut him after a 24-yard miss at New Orleans on Dec. 19. Folk was 6-of-7 between 30-39 yards, but went 5-of-12 from 40-49 yards.

Dallas had an open tryout late in the season, but Buehler struggled badly in trying to overtake Folk's job.

Shaun Suisham was signed to replace Folk and made two of three attempts until the NFC divisional round playoff loss to Minnesota, when he missed field goals of 48 and 49 yards.

A restricted free agent, Suisham likely won't return with the Cowboys. But that doesn't rule out the team signing a veteran kicker.

"It's still a consideration," DeCamillis said. "We don't know what is going to happen. The problem with signing a veteran guy is they want veteran money."

DeCamillis also said he'd like for quarterback Tony Romo not to return as the holder on field goal attempts.

Last season, punter Mat McBriar was the holder until Folk complained about placement of the ball. Romo then took over for McBriar.

Both Romo and McBriar don't like being the holder.

"Tony did a nice job when he came in," DeCamillis said. "We want to get that situation handled as much as possible. We'd like for [Romo] not to be the holder."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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