Retooling the Cardinals' Special Teams

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

  1. Mitch

    Mitch Crawled Through 5 FB Fields

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    Aug 10, 2005
    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
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  2. football karma

    football karma formerly known as En Fuego

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    Jul 22, 2002
    WildBB, Ohcrap75 and Mitch like this.
  3. Camshaft

    Camshaft Registered

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    Jul 19, 2002
    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
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  4. Arz101

    Arz101 Registered

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    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

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    Sep 14, 2002
    North Carolina
    The good news is the special teams can only get better with famous Amos gone.
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  6. WildBB

    WildBB BB - BIG BIRD

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    Mar 20, 2004
    The Sonoran Jungle - West
    With Wilks hands on, it should be good for 1 or 2 W's next season.

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