Special teams cost Arizona Cardinals once again
The special teams of the Arizona Cardinals has been so awful this season that a coaching change should be considered
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim needs to yield his power. It should’ve been done weeks ago , but Keim needs to force Bruce Arians to fire special teams boss Amos Jones. Although making the move now probably wouldn’t save the season, a message needs to be sent to this underachieving squad.
With three straight winning campaigns, Arians has bought himself a lot of leeway. Because of that, Keim has probably chosen not to get involved with the coaching staff decisions. But privately he’s gotta know there’s a big, big problem with Jones.
If that sentiment seems harsh to you, then you obviously haven’t been watching Cards’ games this year. An argument can be made that if not for Jones’ horrid group, the team would have three more victories.
It started on opening night against the New England Patriots. Down by two late in the game, Carson Palmer led the offense down the field and into field-goal range. A botched snap from a since-departed rookie, Kameron Canaday, threw off kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s timing and he missed the game-winning attempt.
Weeks later, the Arizona defense had stifled the Seattle Seahawks’ offense throughout the whole game. An injured Jaron Brown was replaced on the punt-unit team by the tiny Kerwynn Williams, a huge mistake. The result was a blocked punt that allowed Seattle to kick a game-tying field-goal late in the game.
With the game now in overtime, Palmer, as he had done against New England, led the offense down the field. He got them close enough that the potential game-winning field-goal attempt would be just 24 yards. Although Jones can’t be blamed, “Catman” somehow shanked it, and the game ended in a heart-wrenching tie.
This past Sunday’s showing versus the Minnesota Vikings should be the final straw. The Cardinals were within three points of the Vikings after Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham for a score right before halftime. The coverage unit responded by allowing Cordarrelle Patterson to race 100 yards to pay dirt with the second-half kickoff.
Down by six points late in the contest, John Brown foolishly decided not to field a punt. The ball proceeded to bounce 20 yards back, giving the offense miserable field position. The blunder pretty much killed any hopes of a game-winning drive.
It’s possible that loyalty has kept Arians from dismissing Jones. The two have coached together since the early 1980’s. The NFL has the “old boy’s network”, and it may be why Jones remains on Arians’ staff.
And that’s where Keim needs to step in. The Cardinals are not a monopoly, so the GM should be able to recommend to Arians that Jones be canned. Better late than never.