"I know Kai from having him come in and working out at the Rams' facility in the past, and he's a great guy," Zuerlein told 103.3 KESN-FM, via the Dallas Morning News. "I look forward to being around him, learning from him. And hopefully, we have a good competition. Ideally, I win. I wouldn't have signed here if I didn't think I ... I mean, you go anywhere and expect to win the job if you have any sort of confidence at all.
"I just look forward to being around him. I've been with other kickers in camp, and there's never any animosity. Kickers get along very well. You go out, kick, and let the kicking speak for itself. Friendships don't have to get in the way of a job. The rest is up for the coaches to decide."
Zuerlein's three-year contract suggests he'd enter any competition with a leg up. Forbath, who is on a one-year deal, however, did stabilize the Cowboys' kicker situation last season, going 10-for-10 down the stretch. Had Forbath been Dallas' booter from the start of the season, it might have made the playoffs.
Aside from the money suggesting it's Zuerlein's job to lose, the kicker spent the past eight seasons with special teams coordinator John "Bones" Fassel in L.A.
Fassel and Zuerlein are expected to dramatically turn around a Cowboys special teams unit that was atrocious last season, ranking among the worst in the NFL.
"Oh, we could have a whole hourlong conversation about 'Bones,'" Zuerlein said. "He's going to get the guys ready to play. They'll know what they're doing. I think the biggest thing that's really immeasurable is the chemistry he creates by making all the guys buy in. So, everyone is working as a unit. ... He makes sure guys aren't out there on an island by themselves.
"He gets those undrafted guys, players who don't want to play special teams and think they should be starting, he gets them to believe in themselves and then buy in to what he's doing. Following what he says, you'll get opportunities to start. Just looking at what he's done with so many late draft picks or undrafted guys, he gets them balling out on special teams and when injuries happen those guys get their opportunity. ... Then they get paid a lot of money by somebody else or their own team. I've watched Fassel do this eight years now and it's impressive. He'll continue to do that in Dallas."
While big-name signings on offense and defense have generated offseason headlines, the Cowboys' upgrades on special teams should play as big a role in coach Mike McCarthy's first season in Dallas as any improvement. The Cowboys' special teams were comically bad last season. Turning that around with Fassel and Zuerlein should pay immediate dividends.