Arizona Cardinals: Time to Say Something Nice About Chandler Catanzaro
There are some people that, in football, say that special teams is a third of the game. While that may be a bit of an overstatement, there’s no doubt that a solid special teams unit is a significant part of a winning football team.
For the Cardinals, they’re special teams hasn’t been flawless. Ted Ginn has had difficulty in the return game. On the flip side, punter Drew Butler has been serviceable coming in on incredibly short notice to replace Dave Zastudil. The one part of the Cardinals special teams that it’s hard to find fault with is Chandler Catanzaro.
On August 25, I and perhaps many other Cardinals fans were scratching their heads. The Cards reliable veteran Jay Feely was released, and taking his place was this undrafted rookie from Clemson who many people may have never seen kick a football. What? Now, Catanzaro has proven that the Cardinals coaching staff knows better than everyone else. The Cat Man has been perfect this season on field goals, going 15-15, which ties a record for most consecutive filed goals made by a rookie to start the season. He was awarded the NFC special teams Player of the Week award for connecting on 3 of 3 attempts against the Redskins.
His most attractive quality is his leg strength, which has also resulted in excellent kickoff outcomes. 22 of 34 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks, and 30 have not gotten beyond the 2o-yard line. The Cardinals depleted defense has been given a gift by Catanzaro and the kicking unit by making opposing offenses face a long filed on a consistent basis. That’s something Jay Feely wasn’t able to do as well for Arizona. Despite his success, he has shown great humility and a commitment to growing as a player, which is good. Undrafted guys who perform usually have that admirable work ethic because they know that they are lucky for the chance. Catanzaro is an example. He’s focused on improving as a player and helping his team win ball games, and that’s always something to like.
Though he hasn’t yet hit a game winner or made a onside kick work, his performance has not doubt proved that he belongs in the league. His power is exceptional and his accuracy is dependable. If he continues to grow, he’ll have a great career and continue to be the boost to Arizona he already has been through six games.