A Somewhat Incomplete History of Dallas Kick Holders


cp-fbprokickthumbnail.gifI read in the last “short shot” in an article by Josh Ellis of DC.com that there is a three-man battle for kick holder on this year’s squad. Here is the blurb:

Special teams coach Bruce Read said receiver Jerheme Urban figures into the holder competition in addition to Brad Johnson and punter Mat McBriar. Of the three, Urban has the longest odds for making the team.

[I’m sure nobody missed it, but I’m covering my bases…]

So given this site’s affinity for the art of holding field goals and extra points, as well as for all things obscure, thought I would try to compile a list of the kick holders in team history. And that turned out to be more difficult than I thought, but here is my best effort.

1960s

Kickers: Fred Cone (1960), Allen Green (1961), Dick Bielski (1961), Sam Baker (1962-1963), Dick Van Raaphorst (1964), Danny Villanueva (1965-1967), Harold Deters (1967), Mike Clark (1968-1971).

Holders:

Eddie LeBaron: I know from several articles that LeBaron was the first holder in team history. This is from a 1962 story–

Don Meredith, who lone-wolfed it at quarterback as Eddie LeBaron limped in only long enough to hold on place kicks, passed to rookie running back Amos Bullocks for 22 yards for the first one that gave the Cowboys that 6-0 lead.

Jerry Rhome: I found a picture showing Jerry Rhome (#13) holding a field goal for Danny Villanueva against the Giants–

Danny Villanueva

Rhome played for the Cowboys from 1965 to 1968, but I could not determine whether he was a holder during that entire period of time.

Dan Reeves: see below

1970s-1980s

Kickers: Toni Fritsch (1972-1973, 1975), Efren Herrera (1974, 1976-1977), Rafael Septien (1978-1986), Roger Ruzek (1987-1989), Luis Zendejas (1987 [strike], 1988, 1989), Kerry Brady (1987 [strike]).

Reeves: I know that Reeves was the holder for a number of years. Here is a shot showing him holding for Tony Fritsch:

Dan Reeves

Charlie Waters: I remember quite well that Waters was a holder for much of the 1970s. Here is a shot of him holding for Rafael Septien:

Rafael Septien

Glenn Carano: He was the holder in 1979, when Waters was out with an injury, as well as other times during his career as a backup. This is from a 1983 story about a missed extra point in a 21-20 win over the Saints (Dallas won the game on a safety with less than two minutes left)–

That got the Cowboys within 20-19. And that’s how it stayed when 6-6 Tyrone Young blocked Septien’s extra point with 7:05 left. “There was some movement on the lines that turned Rafael’s rhythm off,” said Glenn Carano, the holder.

Gary Hogeboom: I had forgotten that he was a holder, but I found this shot of a card of him and Septien:

Rafael Septien

Steve Pelleur: I have a tape of a game from 1986 between the Cowboys and Cardinals, and Pelleur was the holder during that game.

Mike Saxon: For some reason I do not remember Saxon holding field goals, but I found this reference in an article about the opening day loss to the Saints in 1989–

…That gave Dallas the ball at the Saints’ 36, trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter. Unable to go anywhere, the Cowboys had a fourth-and-nine at the 30 when Johnson went for a big gamble. The idea was to have Saxon, the holder, pull the snap away from kicker Roger Ruzek and run around the right side. But the Saints had the play covered and Saxon was lucky to get off a four-yard completion to Ruzek, which still did the Cowboys no good….

1990s

Kickers: Ken Willis (1990-1991), Lin Elliott (1992-1993), Eddie Murray (1993, 1999), Chris Boniol (1994-1996), Richie Cunningham (1997-1999).

Holders:

Steve Beuerlein: Here is a shot showing him holding for Lin Elliott in 1992:

Steve Beuerlein

Jay Novacek: I remember this play from a 1993 game against Indianapolis:

It was still a 14-3 game midway through the third quarter when Dallas drove to the two-yard line before facing fourth down. From field-goal formation, holder Jay Novacek took the snap from Dale Hellestrae and ran through a giant hole on the left side, between Mark Tuinei and Nate Newton, for a two-yard touchdown.

Here is a shot of Novacek holding for Chris Boniol during Super Bowl XXX–

Jay Novacek

John Jett: I stumbled across this shot of John Jett holding for Boniol in 1996–

John Jett

Eric Bjornson: Similar to Novacek, I remember Bjornson holding because of scores he made on fake field goals. Here is one such instance from the Cowboys 13-9 win over the Eagles in 1998–

They won without making an offensive touchdown. Scoring on a seven-yard run by holder Eric Bjornson on a fake field goal indicated enterprise. Of course, much of it was forced by a passing game that functioned with the precision of a three-legged frog.

2000s

Kickers: Tim Seder (2000-2001), Billy Cundiff (2002-2005), Jose Cortez (2005), Shaun Suisham (2005), Mike Vanderjagt (2006), Martin Gramatica (2006).

Holders:

Micah Knorr: This was not a vote of confidence from Tim Cowlishaw about Mr. Knorr in 2002–

The Cowboys couldn’t even connect on an extra point following their one big play, Carter’s 78-yard heave to Antonio Bryant. Micah Knorr, the team’s below-average punter who is basically on the roster only because of his sure hands as a holder, dropped the snap and cost the team the lead.

Here is a shot of Knorr holding for Seder at Carolina in 2000–

Tim Seder

Filip Filipovic: Remember him? Someone had to have held the ball when Knorr ceased to be the Cowboys’ punter.

Toby Gowin: He apparently earned his free agent money in 2003 by being a pretty good holder… because his punting left a bit to be desired. Here is him holding for Billy Cundiff when Cundiff kicked seven field goals against the Giants in 2003–

Billy Cundiff

Mat McBriar: McBriar was the holder for a significant part of the year in 2004. Here is a shot of him with Billy Cundiff–

Billy Cundiff

Tony Romo: This is from Martin Gramatica: “The thing I want to say is that Tony is the best holder I’ve ever had.” The bad–

Tony Romo

Leaner (and Meaner?) Linebackers


Roy WilliamsThe Dallas Morning News blog, which has provided outstanding coverage of the mini-camp thus far, had an interesting blurb about the Cowboys’ linebackers today:

** The linebackers all look like they lost a bunch of pounds. Bradie James said he played part of last year around 265 pounds but is now 245. Akin Ayodele is in the 240s and Bobby Carpenter is down to 252 after playing last year at 265.

Bill Parcells craved size in his linebackers because they had to take on offensive linemen so much, but this year the ‘backers believe they need more speed. The Chargers’ starting linebackers from a year ago weighed 262, 245, 227 and 272 pounds.

This news comes shortly after we learned that the Cowboys had plugged Roy Williams in as a nickel linebacker. This is from Mickey Spagnola:

Let’s qualify this from the start. This is only mini-camp, no pads, no hitting, no scheming. But maybe Wade Phillips has figured out how to keep Roy Williams out of deep coverage in passing situations on the nickel. In Sunday’s lone practice, the Cowboys worked on their nickel defense for the first time, and they lined up with Kevin Burnett and Williams as the linebackers on the nickel defense. That left Ken Hamlin and Pat Watkins at safety, with the usual rotation of corners: Terence Newman in the slot, along with Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn on the outside. You know, Bill Parcells experimented with Williams at this up position on the nickel last summer at training camp. He called it at the time only a special package. But not until late in the season, like maybe the final game or two, did he actually go to the “special package.” We’ll keep an eye on this.

Williams was listed at 229 last season, and if he has stayed at this weight, it makes sense to give this scheme a shot. I assume that this means Williams will blitz more frequently, but I would be curious if the move could help in the coverages underneath and in run support from the nickel.

————

More from Spagnola:

What’s the difference between Wade Phillips and Bill Parcells?

Well, now that I’ve seen a practice or two, the Cowboys opening a three-day mini-camp on Saturday with two practices, an open locker room session and a Phillips press conference, man, can I give you guys some succinct answers to these differences.

First, the Cowboys practiced outside – in the brilliant sunshine out here Saturday at The Ranch, and on real grass no less, that is until the afternoon practice when a 20-minute hail storm unleashed, sending the team scurrying indoors. But heck, you know Bill, he liked being cooped up in that indoor structure. We’d have probably been indoors in the first place.

The first word out of Phillips’ mouth during his press conference was “Terrell.” Not “he.” Not “the player.” No sidestep of the issue, Phillips actually poking a little fun at himself for saying on Thursday he wasn’t sure if Terrell Owens would be allowed to practice today by starting off with “Terrell is going to practice, and caught the ball to clear that up, and caught it very well, by the way.”

Cute, and believe me, Bill never did much cute.

Don’t know about anyone else, but I really don’t miss Parcells. I certainly didn’t think I would say that when Dallas hired him in 2003.

————

There is a new Cowboys blog that seems to be off to a good start. Check out Cowboys Blitz.

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