Though many factors contributed to the Arizona Cardinals opening night loss the special teams unit was perhaps the biggest culprit
It could’ve ended well for the Arizona Cardinals. After falling behind to the underdog New England Patriots, the Cards still had life. With three minutes and change to play all Arizona needed was a field goal.
A gutsy, Carson Palmer drive highlighted by three receptions by Larry Fitzgerald and one by Jaron Brown got them close. The field goal attempt would be from 47 yards. By no means a chipshot but within kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s range.
Rookie long snapper Kameron Canaday failed in his first big NFL moment. A low snap was handled and placed upright by punter and holder Drew Butler. But the miscue threw off the timing of the attempt and Catanzaro’s kick sailed wide left.
Game over. Cardinals lose.
Afterwards in the locker room Catanzaro took the blame, refusing to throw Canaday under the bus. The fact is, the rookie needed to execute a better snap. That’s the long snapper’s lone duty and obviously the pressure of the moment was too much for him.
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Will the bad snap linger in the rookie’s memory? The next time the pressure is on will he choke again? Is the team better off cutting ties now and bringing back Daniel Dillon?
Besides the botched field goal attempt, the rest of the special teams was also abysmal.
The search for any semblance of a return game continues. Andre Ellington is terrible at it. Fans can only hope for touchbacks so the team can at least start at the 25-yard line.
As far as the punting goes, why Butler still has the job is anyone’s guess. He gets off way more bad punts than good ones. It’s mind-boggling that the front office hasn’t come up with a better option.
There’s enough problems with the unit that the competence of special teams coordinator Amos Jones needs to be questioned. If this lack of production continues head coach Bruce Arians should consider a change in the staff.