How Special Can The Arizona Cardinals Special Teams Be?

Aug. 17, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

For the Arizona Cardinals, the offense has a lot of question marks, but really in two areas -- quarterback play and offensive line -- are the culprits. The defense is expected to be solid and perhaps very good to elite (that is the hope). However, one area that does not get mentioned as much happens to be a group of players that you might argue could become the best collective unit in the league -- the Cardinals special teams.

Most will equate that with kicking and punting, but across the board, Arizona has a unit that can be impactful in every way.

The team has a great kick returner in LaRod Stephens-Howling. Yes, the kickoff return team is not as valued because touchbacks are the norm, but he is one of the very good returners.

We all know about Patrick Peterson and punt returns. He is arguably the best in the game now.

In Jay Feely, the team has a very consistent kicker, based on his career. He does not have the biggest leg, but can hit from 50+ yards and, while he doesn't do much in the way of touchbacks, I believe that is more by design than leg strength. He is able to do all sorts of kickoffs.

For the punting game, Dave Zastudil is not elite by any means, but he is more than adequate. Plus, at least during the preseason, he has shown greater leg strength to flip field position if necessary.

One thing the Cardinals happen to be quite good at is field goal defense, if there is such a thing. They block kicks with regularity. This causes kickers to think about it and they tend to miss unblocked kicks more than against other teams. Now the team has three real threats to get their hand on a field goal attempt -- Calais Campbell, Patrick Peterson and now Justin Bethel. Bethel also can get to the punter as well.

The team also has standout special teams players. O'Brien Schofield had 12 special teams tackles in 2011, among the most in the league. Anthony Sherman seems to be in the middle of every play on special teams. Michale Adams (if he makes the team) and LSH are great gunners for punts. Reggie Walker is recognized as one of the best special teams players in the league. DeMarco Sampson, Jim Dray and Rashad Johnson play big parts.

The special teams unit lost two of the best in Hamza Abdullah and Sean Considine and won't even miss a beat.

There are better punting teams and better kickers. But if you look at special teams from top to bottom, you might be hard pressed to find a more complete unit that can affect a game in so many ways, whether it be a big return, a made kick, a blocked kick, or kick coverage.

How special do you think this year's special teams unit will be?

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Revenge of the Birds

You must be a member of Revenge of the Birds to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Revenge of the Birds. You should read them.

Join Revenge of the Birds

You must be a member of Revenge of the Birds to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Revenge of the Birds. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker