3 things that went right for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023

The 2023 season was deceptive regarding the Arizona Cardinals, as nothing was supposed to go right for this team sans a so-called tank.

Dec 31, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) hands
Dec 31, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) hands / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Matt Prater, Blake Gillikin
Dec 3, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals place kicker Matt Prater (5) kicks an / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3 - Special teams

Special teams were something that could have gone horribly wrong for the Cardinals, as they put their faith in an aging kicker and a punter who was a cast-off when the 2023 season began. But that aging kicker, Matt Prater, led the league in long over the first 17 weeks as he boomed a 62-yard field goal earlier this year. 

Prater also made nine field goals in 11 attempts from over 50 yards, which ties him only with the upstart Brandon Aubrey of the Dallas Cowboys. Sure, he missed a pair of field goals in the Cardinals eventual Week 18 loss - by no means should we think any differently of Prater based on one game.

Meanwhile, punter Blake Gillikin showed us what he can do, as he ranks third in the NFL heading into Week 18 with 50.6 yards per punt and his long of 77 yards ranks fourth. While Gillikin hasn’t been perfect this season, he showed fans everywhere that he was the right man for the job after the Cardinals released Nolan Cooney.

If Arizona decides to hang onto Gillikin, they will have their kicking and punting duo here for the taking when the 2024 season rolls around. And if general manager Monti Ossenfort is thinking logically, he will hang onto both players. 

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)