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Cowboys need to put Brett Maher through the wringer this week

Mike Florio and Chris Simms evaluate where the Cowboys go from here, after kicker Brett Maher missed four point after attempts, and question how he’ll handle the pressure against the 49ers.

The Cowboys have every right to entrust the kicking duties to kicker Brett Maher on Sunday, even though he missed four extra-point attempts on Monday night. But they’d better be sure he’s ready to go in Santa Clara.

Bring in competition. Make him kick extra points and field goals, over and over and over again. Do everything possible to ensure that he will be able to operate in the pressure of the moment, when he lines up for any kick on Sunday.

And here’s one thing that the Cowboys definitely should do. Similar to teams pumping in crowd noise to prepare players for a loud and raucous crowd, the Cowboys should be recording -- now -- a deafening, sing-song “Maaaaa-her, Maaaa-her” chant for him to hear whenever he kicks in practice. Because he definitely will be hearing it every time he kicks in Santa Clara on Sunday.

If, in the end, the Cowboys count on Maher to kick, and if they ultimately fail to advance to the NFC Championship for the first time since 1995 because of a Maher missed kick, they’ll have only themselves to blame, both for sticking with him and for not being absolutely certain that he’s ready to go when it’s time to prove that his case of the yips was temporary.