Retooling the Cardinals' Special Teams

Discussion in 'Arizona Cardinals' started by Mitch, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Mitch

    Mitch Crawled Through 5 FB Fields

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    13,405
    Likes Received:
    2,978
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Location:
    Wrentham, MA
    Welcome to Arizona, Jeff Rodgers. It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood now that you have arrived.

    You worked with LS Aaron Brewer while you were with the Broncos---so you know what you have in him. Steve Keim signed LS Drew Williams (6-3, 190, South Carolina) to a future's contract---so it would seem like a good idea to re-sign Brewer (who has been solid, but not superb) and have Williams compete with him during training camp.

    P Andy Lee is coming off a very good 2017 performance. 88 punts/47.3 ave./29 inside 20. Lee is due a $1M signing bonus and will count $2.63M on the cap. Very reasonable. In fact, the Cardinals might want to consider extending his contract, as he becomes a UFA in 2019.

    The not so good stat on the punting team is the net average of 39.7. That's even despite having one of the best gunners in the NFL, Pro Bowl STs player, Budda Baker. Baker was at the top of the league in tackles (12), but he missed 4 tackles as well. So there is room for improvement.

    It's hard to say what players you will be working with this year, but some of the better STs' players for the Cardinals, in addition to Baker, were Elijaah Penny, Jaron Brown, Josh Bynes and Scooby Wright.

    The return game needs work. The return of T.J. Logan should help the kickoff return team. Logan was working on returning punts before his wrist injury and looked like he had some promise. At North Carolina, his teammate Ryan Switzer handled the punt return duties.

    D.J. Foster finally got a couple of chances to return punts late in the season and showed flashes of ability.

    Steve Wilks has already said that in key situations he would be open to Patrick Peterson returning punts, once again. Coach Rodgers, if Patrick Peterson returns a punt for a TD for the first time since his rookie year, you will be hailed as the STC who put the special back in teams.

    It would be a wise idea for the Cardinals to address the punt return position in the draft. Man, if they could get their hands on Christian Kirk (5-11, 200, Texas A&M) they could add the dynamic slot WR they need, plus one of the most electric punt returners in the country. Kirk had 4 TDs on returns of over 78 yards at A&M. Plus, he's from Scottsdale. Kirk is a field flipper.

    The key off-season decision is whether to retain K Phil Dawson at a hefty salary of $3.5M---or look elsewhere---either in FA, where Matt Bryant (43---Falcons), Caleb Sturgis (29---Eagles), Chandler Catanzaro (27---Jets), Ryan Succop (31---Titans) and Graham Gano (31---Panthers) are on the market. Catanzaro had a very good bounce back season with the Jets (85% of his FGs and 100% of his XPTs).

    Dawson struggled big-time during the first 10 games---but later he admitted that because of the blocking scheme and personnel, he didn't feel like he could follow through on his kicks. Down the stretch Dawson was following through and splitting the uprights.

    In the draft, the top 2 prospects appear to be Daniel Carlson (6-4, 225, Auburn) and Michael Bagdley (5-10, 175, Miami), if the Cardinals want to go that route. The Eagles sure did well with rookie Jake Elliott (Memphis) after Caleb Sturgis was injured.

    Coach Rodgers---two other things of note---after losing Calais Campbell to FA, the kick blocking team was not as strong (we will need an edge kick blocker if Justin Bethel is not re-signed)---and it seems like eons since the last time the Cardinals ever blocked a punt.

    Steve Wilks has said that he is going to spend a good deal of time working with the STs. He said that every player on the Cardinals should understand that playing STs "is a privilege." Hopefully with Wilks and Rodgers it will be a privilege for Cardinals' fans to see teams that are truly special.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    unseenaz, daves, WildBB and 1 other person like this.
  2. football karma

    football karma formerly known as En Fuego

    Posts:
    8,744
    Likes Received:
    792
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    WildBB, Ohcrap75 and Mitch like this.
  3. Camshaft

    Camshaft Registered

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    266
    Likes Received:
    30
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    You might draft Rashaard Penny. He had 8 kickoff returns for touch downs. One was against California and another against Penn State, just in case you thought he didn't play against big teams. He had over 2,200 yds running in his senior year. He ran over 7 yds per carry.
    My bad. He ran 7 kickoff returns for touchdowns and 1 punt return for touchdown in three years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    daves and Mitch like this.
  4. Arz101

    Arz101 Registered

    Posts:
    875
    Likes Received:
    605
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2014
    Andy Lee was consistently good all through the season. Hope he is back.

    Dawson was nails the last 6 games or so. He is one of the reasons Cards closed out winning 3 out 4. I am fine with either bringing him back or moving him (given high dollar amount)

    Coverage and return teams is where Jeff Rodgers should focus on. Eagles paid some high dollar amount 2 years ago to bring in some great cover and return team players. Cards should do the same.

    TJ Logan coming back is like having an extra draft pick (I know that's not how it works).

    Don't put Peterson for punt returns unless the team needs a spark late in the game.
     
  5. Snakester

    Snakester Draft Man

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    4,173
    Likes Received:
    396
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The good news is the special teams can only get better with famous Amos gone.
     
    daves likes this.
  6. WildBB

    WildBB BB - BIG BIRD

    Posts:
    12,598
    Likes Received:
    410
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    The Sonoran Jungle - West
    With Wilks hands on, it should be good for 1 or 2 W's next season.
     
  7. GimmedaBall

    GimmedaBall Registered

    Posts:
    1,219
    Likes Received:
    670
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    I was going to post a new thread covering 'Special Teams' in the title but found this older post from Mitch earlier in the year.

    We're approaching the draft and apart from a new coaching staff, not much has been done in regards to player roster additions that may have an impact on Special teams.

    One lose was Bethel---he struggled to move to CB but was good on ST. Too expensive to keep strictly for that role.

    Surprised that the Cards have not brought in more guys to be position backups but to also be key players on Special Teams.

    Also, wonder if SW is still considering PP2 to return kicks especially since he seems to prefer the sidelines as compared to turning it up field (someone has to harp on PP2 now that Mitch is MIA).

    I would not assign PP2 to return kicks---we still need him healthy to play CB. If he is going to bang heads, rather see him do it on D and tackling RBs and WRs.
     
  8. BullheadCardFan

    BullheadCardFan Go for it Contributor

    Posts:
    36,174
    Likes Received:
    1,052
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Bullhead City, AZ
    +1

    PP2 does not belong on the punt return team. The risk of injury and the way he avoids contacts on the returns is not good for the team overall.

    Let him concentrate on playing as the #1 CB in the new D Wilks is installing.

    Our new ST coach has his work cut out for him. All of us here will be watching closely for improvement.
     
  9. GimmedaBall

    GimmedaBall Registered

    Posts:
    1,219
    Likes Received:
    670
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    I agree that a key starter on D should not also be doing the risky business of running back kicks---but that is saying that some other less proven guy is cannon fodder for the task. No wonder that the league is considering doing away with the kickoffs altogether---too many guys running headlong into one another and blowing out knees and brain stems.

    SW brought up the idea of using PP2 to return kicks. He must not have looked at film of PP2 catching the ball and immediately sprinting to the sidelines before the blocking can even set up for a possible return. Was that by coaching design or by self-preservation by the player?

    HB suffered his first ACL when returning a free kick and trying to outmuscle half the D players when he got gang tackled.

    Watch only if you can stomach reliving the injury:



    I foresee PP2 and SW butting heads over how PP2 is going to be assigned responsibilities. SW is old school in regards to a CB being 'physical.' SW has also stated that it is an honor to play on Special Teams. PP2 has been a cover corner under BA/Bettcher. I mention this not to rehash old arguments regarding PP2's play---it is all going to depend on how SW uses PP2 and if PP2 is going to play ST.
     
  10. WildBB

    WildBB BB - BIG BIRD

    Posts:
    12,598
    Likes Received:
    410
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    The Sonoran Jungle - West
    Mitch makes a cameo. :)
     
  11. Arizona_Steve

    Arizona_Steve Registered

    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    I, for one, am glad to see him back.
     
  12. GuernseyCard

    GuernseyCard Registered

    Posts:
    5,230
    Likes Received:
    1,203
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    This dates from February.
     
    cardncubfan likes this.
  13. GimmedaBall

    GimmedaBall Registered

    Posts:
    1,219
    Likes Received:
    670
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    Sorry for any misunderstanding regarding this thread.

    I was going to post a new thread covering 'Special Teams' in the title but found this older post from Mitch earlier in the year.

    His original points still hold true and with some distance between Mitch's original post and now I was looking to see how well the Cards have addressed the Special Team issues.

    We were at the bottom of the league last year and need to improve ST if we are going to get a few more wins.
     
    Mainstreet and daves like this.
  14. WildBB

    WildBB BB - BIG BIRD

    Posts:
    12,598
    Likes Received:
    410
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    The Sonoran Jungle - West
    Thus the cameo. ;)
     
    cardncubfan likes this.
  15. Jetstream Green

    Jetstream Green Registered User

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    20,397
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Retooling the special teams? What a load of bunk. You draft players for a position first and those who do not start play special teams. You do not draft guys with 'oooo, he would be a great gunner'. Now, you might draft a WR or RB over another guy because he has the added advantage of being a good returner but you really do not draft a guy with the sole purpose to return kicks. Special Teams comes down to the coach for the most part and Amos sucked getting guys prepared for a part of the game where fundamentals rule... when those guys would be rather starting on defense or offense :)
     

Share This Page