clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Arizona Cardinals punter battle is one to watch

New, comments

Leone versus Wile for the Arizona Cardinals punter position.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the Arizona Cardinals, finding a punter is one of the key talking points to the offseason.

It is such an important part of the offseason that the Arizona Cardinals are carrying two! Two punters in a training camp is not unheard of, but carrying two punters the entirety of the offseason shows that the Cardinals are serious about fixing a problem.

The interesting aspect is, the problem has been obvious for a couple of seasons, but didn't seem to bother the Cardinals much.

Drew Butler was consistently one of, if not the worst punters in net yardage, punting yards minus return yards for total yardage.

However, it didn't cause any issues until last year, when Butler was hurt and it caused a carousel of mishaps on special teams.

Now, the Cardinals have two young punters with big legs, but that has never been what punting has been about in Arizona.

Matt Wile was with the Cardinals at the end of last season and had a nice little tryout. In 12 total punts in his 2016 career, two with Atlanta, ten with Arizona, Wile averaged 46.1 yards per punt and downed two inside the 20.

The other punter in camp is Richie Leone, one of the best punters in the CFL. I'm not going to lie to you, I don't know if punting in the CFL is a straight translation to the NFL, but in two years, he's averaged 49.4 yards per punt in 216 career punts.

The 25 year old has also kicked field goals in the CFL, converting 72% in his career, with a career long of 56 yards.

Wile kicked in college at Michigan, converting on 69% of his attempts.

Those two things may seem unimportant, but to the Cardinals it means a lot.

What is interesting about the punter battle, maybe just to me, is that the Cardinals are waging this war on a budget.

Either way, punters… who knew?