You could definitely say that the 2008 Arizona Cardinals Special Teams was just that – special. From the blocked punt by Sean Morey in overtime to defeat the Dallas Cowboys to Neil Rackers going 25-28 last season in field goals, including the playoffs, the Cards special unit was a huge factor in getting them to the Super Bowl.
Who’s gone from the 2008 Special Teams:
Monty Beisel. The recipient of the Morey blocked punt has returned to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he started his career. He will be playing for former Cards coach Todd Haley.
Who’s new to the 2009 Special Teams:
The Cardinals Special Teams should be just about the same as they were in 2008. Neil Rackers enters his seventh, yes seventh, season with the Arizona Cardinals. My how time flies. Ben Graham returns as punter.
What to expect in 2009:
Much of the same. I would like to see Steve Breaston return a couple of punts for touchdowns this season. He is ready to be a breakout star. Last season he had a breakout season as a receiver. Hopefully this is the year he puts himself on the map as a punt returner.
Hopefully Rackers can continue his form he regained in 2008 after having a down 2007 season. The main concern is his distance. Last season he only attempted two field goals, connecting on one, outside 50 yards. Either coach Ken Whisenhunt lost some confidence in his leg strength or he was more concerned about field position. It was probably a mixture of both.
Also new in 2009 is no more wedge kicks on kickoffs. Hopefully the kickoff team can still pound out a few surprises even with that ridiculous change.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this unit has to offer in 2009.