Performance consultant tees up advice for Cowboys kicker Brett Maher

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When Brett Maher, the Cowboys’ new kicker, came onto the field for a 37-yard field goal attempt in the middle of the first quarter, Gillham sat up a little straighter. When Maher’s kick split the uprights, he was like millions of other Cowboys fans.

“I’m human, so of course I’m happy, but I don’t want to say it was ‘relief,’ because that implies there was some doubt,” Gillham said. “Outside of the fact that every kicker is human and therefore will miss at some point, there was no doubt.”

For the past 20 months, Gillham has served as a sports-performance consultant for Maher. He is not a kicking guru. He is not a clinical sports psychologist, either. To Maher, he is critical to his success in making the Cowboys’ roster.

“I’m very capable of staying in my own lane with Brett,” Gillham said. “I don’t talk about kicking mechanics. I’ve got nothing to say there. That’s not my world. I don’t comment heads or tails on a coach’s decision … That’s not anything we can control. It’s more on approach.”7

In his first game replacing Dan Bailey, the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, Maher missed a 47-yard field goal attempt against the Carolina Panthers. Many believed Maher entered last week’s game against the Giants with even more pressure.

Week 2 was not a good one for kickers. In nine games, 19 kicks were missed across the NFL — 12 field goal attempts, seven point-after attempts. Two kickers — Zane Gonzalez of the Cleveland Browns and Daniel Carlson of the Minnesota Vikings — lost their jobs. The Vikings signed Bailey to replace Carlson.

“The biggest thing, I think, for me is the belief that every [field goal] is worth three points,” Maher said. “A lot of people, they know that that’s true, but they think that the kick in the fourth quarter with three seconds left when you’re down two is the most important kick that you could ever have, and trying to adopt the mindset of, ‘Well, the kick in the first quarter can be just as important as that one.’ Maybe you won’t be in that position later in the game if you miss that one.

“Really trying to attack every single kick and not try and put an emphasis on one vs. another or an extra point vs. a 55-yard field goal or first quarter vs. fourth quarter and just having the same process through everything.”