Special teams was nothing short of a disaster for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 and, if the team didn't plan on blaming special teams coach Amos Jones, then the personnel was destined to take the fall for the lack of production.
That started today when the Cards decided to bring in kicker Phil Dawson and non-tender Chandler Catanzaro, making him a free agent, per multiple reports. The terms of Dawson's new pact with Arizona are still unknown. Catanzaro had been with the team since 2014, but struggled mightily last year in field goal and extra point kicks.
Dawson, meanwhile, has been the pillar of consistency throughout his long and illustrious career. Coming over from the San Francisco 49ers, Dawson just turned 42 in January and may not have the leg he once did, but the fact that he has made 85% of his field goal attempts in his career cannot be overlooked. That rate puts him at 11th all time in field goal accuracy.
It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals plan on scheming their kickoffs on special teams. While Dawson could very well be an upgrade in the field goal and extra point departments, it is hard to envision him being able to convert as many touchbacks as Catanzaro did with his stronger leg.
We could very well see some higher kicked balls to create hangtime and forced returns this year as opposed to kicking the automatic touchback each time. I have long been a proponent of this method ever since the NFL moved up the line where kickoffs begin and set touchbacks to the 25 yard line instead of the 20, but it definitely comes with more risk of elite returners being able to get better field position.
What do you think of the move, fans? Do you like trading out Catanzaro for the older, but perhaps more accurate, Phil Dawson?