No Stone Unturned in Kicker Research

FRISCO, Texas – Let the action begin, well, sort of, here at the Star this Friday.

Cowboys rookie minicamp this weekend, mostly drills and tours.

Nearly 40 guys will be on the practice field: those nine draft picks, 20 rookie free agents, seven guys from last year’s squad that didn’t qualify for a year of service, and a handful of guys at the test.

Most intriguing to me would be the one position the Cowboys don’t yet have a clue who will win the job:

There will be three here, all combined for one NFL experience game. All combined for an NFL regular season field goal. Let the competition begin…for now.

First, there’s Chris Naggar, owner of that unique field converted in his NFL game last year with previously signed Cleveland.

Then there’s rookie free agent Jonathan Garibay of Texas Tech. Garibay, after two years in college, played just three games for Tech in 2020 and then a full season in 2021.

And behind Gate #3 is Simon Mathiesen, a relative unknown, his route here as one of the more intriguing but devious guys than the old Route 66 winding through this country from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, a total of 2,448 miles.

Mathiesen, 28, grew up in Vedbaek, Denmark. Attended secondary school abroad at Copenhagen Business School. Then landed at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo., the former football player was not a kicker but a wide receiver at 6-4, 205 pounds in his first year as a walk-on in 2013.

After trying a few kicks in practice, the Bearcats were desperate for a kicker ahead of a game against Washburn. During an interview for the Maryville ForumMathiesen is quoted as saying, “10 minutes before the game against Washburn I was told I had to kick.”

The rest is history, at least at Northwest, where after going 10 of 10 that freshman year, he finally ditched that receiver idea and pitched for the next three seasons, connecting on 61 of 74 bases. on the field and 237 of 243 extra points for a team winning three NCAA Division II National Championships in its four years.

But that’s where this second-team All-America Honors career took one of those 90-degree turns. Catching only the curiosity of the NFL in 2017 and a degree in business economics, Mathiesen landed in the Danish company Trackman, at the time mainly involved in golf and baseball, using video technology to track speeds. swing, angles and ball speeds. Mathiesen became involved in the soccer arm, primarily monitoring kicking statistics, such as ball speed, suspension time, top height, and projected distance of field goal attempts.

Trackman evolved into a relationship with NBC, with the network using its technology during Sunday night football aired since 2018, helping commentary on kicker distances, misses, ball flight and height, leg strength and leg swing consistency over the past four seasons. And for the first time, Trackman was used at SoFi Stadium for the last Super Bowl, also capable of judging the distance from which a kick would have been good and ball tracers for full flight of the ball – similar to what is currently happening during PGA golf. broadcast as soon as the ball is hit.

Mathiesen was the guy who went to stadiums before games to set up equipment and then kick around to make sure everything was working properly. And during that time, the former college kicker met and became friends with former Danish kicker Morten Andersen, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, receiving “private lessons” along the way. When people at various NFL stadiums saw him kicking while setting up video tech, they realized this guy had some talent. I’ve been told that NFL teams are now showing interest in incorporating Trackman technology into their franchises, including Baltimore. Even Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker is one of the NFL kickers incorporating Trackman technology into his routine.

A few years ago, in a washington time interview, Andersen had this to say about Mathiesen: “I’ve gotten to know him quite well. He’s got a lot of talent. I can quickly identify if he’s got what it takes – physical talent, work ethic and “mental toughness. I’ve put him through tough practices and he’s performed well. He’s got good elevation on the ball, a good spotlight. He’s pretty composed right now.

Well, it’s 2022 now, Mathiesen hasn’t pitched a competition since that 2016 Northwest Missouri State National Championship season. But the Cowboys are giving him a chance.

And hey, in the current state of the Cowboys kicker, why not overlook anything?

  • It is not easy : Not so fast buying strength from the schedule calculations suggesting the Cowboys are tied with Washington for the easiest 2022 season, with their 17 opponents finishing the 2021 season with a combined record of 133-155-1, a percentage of 0.462 wins. A lot of that has to do with playing five games against four of the five teams with the worst records last year, Giants twice (4-13), Detroit (3-13-1), Jacksonville (3 -14) and Houston (4 -13), only missing the Jets 4-13. But watch this: The Cowboys will face both Super Bowl teams, five of seven division champions and eight games against teams finishing with winning records. That means two with the best records from last year, Green Bay (13-4) and Tamp Bay (13-4), two teams with their identical 12-5 record, Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee , then Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati (10-7) — all division champions. Then with winning records in Indianapolis (9-8) and two games against NFC East enemy Philadelphia (9-8). Which means half of the program is not so easy.
  • Since 2016: If history means anything then, four of the six teams that finished on the league’s easiest schedules since 2016 found themselves in the playoffs the following year: 2016 Packers (10-6), 2018 Texans (11 -5), 2020 Ravens (11- 5) and 2021 Eagles (9-8). Conversely, five of the last seven teams to finish with the strongest strength on the schedule since 2016 (the Falcons and 49ers tied in 2016) ended up missing the playoffs the following year. Once again, the soft will inherit the NFL.
  • Bucket list: If heading to Green Bay for a Cowboys regular season game is on your wish list, better go this year, with the NFL already announcing that the Cowboys will face the Packers in Lambeau on Sunday, November 13, with the schedule complete to be published Thursday evening. This is an easily accessible bucket item. If you’re not driving, there are flight options to Milwaukee, Chicago, or even Madison, Wisconsin, getting you within driving distance of Green Bay. And if you can’t find accommodation in Green Bay, go to Appleton. Plan ahead to find tickets. But better go, because the next time the Cowboys could play a regular season game in Green Bay would be 2026, but only if both teams finish in the divisional spots when the NFC East takes on this NFC North team. .
  • TB12: Ten years, $370 million, that’s all I have to say about it. And for those wondering how Tom Brady will do in a TV analyst role for Fox and if he’ll spend the time to prepare, give me a break. He’s going to get too prepared. And the reason these quarterbacks do so well in the pit, starting with the late Don Meredith, is their incredible ability to see the field — the whole field in a single snapshot.
  • Third round: To me, NFL free agency has three rounds. First, as soon as the doors open. Second, after the money has been overspent, such as in the second or third week. And the third round? Now, after the draft, that second week of May where the guys still available look up and think, Hey, I’m unemployed, I better get myself a deal. Especially older veterans. At the start of the week, 22 of NFL.com’s top 101 free agents were unsigned. Know what ? Fifteen of these guys were in their thirties. It’s never a good idea to invest too often in age. And just this week veteran free agents started signing deals, including defensive end Jerry Hughes (Houston), running back Sony Michel (Miami), running back Mike Davis (Baltimore) and offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (Colts). I guarantee you, Michel looked up without a job, saw off-season practices start, and said, OK, I’ll play a year for $2.1 million with the Dolphins.
  • Mini moves: As recently as last year, the Chicago Bears quarterbacks were Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. Well, Dalton recently signed a free agent contract with the Saints and Foles was released, with the Bears incurring a total of $12.6 million in dead money against the cap on those two former quarterbacks, again. another cautionary tale about spending a lot of money signing veteran free agents… I wonder if McCarthy, upon leaving the Packers, uttered the infamous words General Douglas MacArthur said after pulling out of the Philippines during the World War II, “I’ll be back.” Definitely the impetus for the NFL announcing this highlight game on Wednesday before the schedule was officially released on Thursday… Most intrigued to watch fifth-round draft pick Matt Waletzko. Want to see if he has the feet and mobility to potentially earn the swing tackle position as a rookie behind Tyron Smith and Terrence Steele… Another note on the strength of the Cowboys’ schedule standings. With only the Cowboys winning more than nine games last season and facing the AFC South and NFC North, the NFC East’s Giants, Eagles, Cowboys and Commanders are the bottom four teams by schedule while three members of the NFC West, the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers, because they play each other twice, with Seattle placing first, second and fifth, respectively.

And for the final word this week, we return to Day 2 of the NFL Draft when the Cowboys selected South Alabama wide receiver Jalen Tolbert in the third round with the 88th overall pick. There’s no doubt the Cowboys and likely quarterback Dak Prescott were impressed with his performance against SEC Tennessee, because even though the Jaguars were wiped out, 60-14, at Neyland Stadium, Tolbert finished with seven catches for 143 yards and one 68 yards. fourth quarter touchdown.

Tolbert was quite surprised to get a call from Prescott before the draft, saying this when speaking to members of the Cowboys media on draft day.

“He called me a few days ago, and I actually thought it was a call like, ‘Hey, is that your draft number?’ I answered, and he was like ‘Jalen!’ and I was like ‘What’s up?’ and he was like, ‘It’s Dak Prescott, man. How you doing?’

“For a minute it was like a surreal moment because I didn’t know quarterbacks would call prospects, but it was awesome. It was awesome, a great experience. We had a 20-minute chat, and it was great. I think we immediately vibrated on the phone and connected right there.”

Now they also have to connect in the field.

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