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Cards notch a special top 10

Posted by Darren Urban on February 15, 2010 – 1:35 pm

Ranking special-teams units across the league is not an easy task, so when Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News came up with a system to do so, it’s become universally regarded as the best way to sort out such things. And this season, Gosselin’s rankings put the Cards eighth.

“Our specialists had a good year,” Spencer said, noting improvements in punts inside the 20, net and gross punting averages, and field-goal-made percentage. “The return game showed some life.

“It was an excellent effort by our veterans and out young guys.”

Rookie LaRod Stephens-Howling made an impact both in coverage and as a kickoff return man, while Sean Morey was a Pro Bowl alternate this season on special teams. Punter Ben Graham was snubbed for the Pro Bowl himself after tying the NFL record for punts inside the 20. Neil Rackers made an NFL-best 94.7 percent of his field-goal attempts. The Cards also got impactful seasons from guys like Jason Wright and Kenny Iwebema, among others.

“It’s amazing how smart you become when you have good players,” Spencer said.


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Posted in Blog | 17 Comments »


17 Responses to “Cards notch a special top 10”

  1. By Eric on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Finally, some praise for the special teams! I remember last year cringing whenever we kicked-off or punted because the coverage team was so bad. This season was just the opposite. The coverage teams did EXCELLENT all season. Ben Graham, a PUNTER, is one of my favorite Cardinals players. LSH and Wright were excellent making tackles. Rackers had an excellent year, save for the missed FG in the wild card game.

    Darren, has there been any talk about progress, or lack thereof, with our free agents, including Rackers?

  2. By darrenurban on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    No, I have not heard anything free-agency wise. I hope to talk to Rod Graves this week.

  3. By tom manoogian on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    except for ? mark at qb,the offense should be ok,but on defense,with what we are going to lose,not that the defense didn’t have problems with the people we had last year,but could lose alot on that side of the ball.we are weak on that side of the ball,the offense should not have to score 30 pts,and then pray those pts will hold up.d line,linebackers,and d backs,we have holes all over.it’s going to have to be one heck of an offseason to fill those holes,sure hope it works out.quick passes and good running game will be ok with matt,hope we get d help trading boldin.

  4. By Paul on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    OK, SB is over. Our season has been over for a month. I can almost hear the crickets at the facility from my house a mile away. I know the CBA situation is holding some things up. We have resigned a S&C coach,swapped RB coaches and signed a long shot OLB from Canada. I’m sure that Coach Whiz would like something of a full roster when the OTA’a start in a few weeks. Come on Rod and Michael.
    Chop Chop !

  5. By darrenurban on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Paul —

    Please tell me you are joking with the insinuation the bulk of the offseason work should be done by mid-February.

  6. By Pay Dockett! on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    I thought our ST was the best

  7. By WarnerFan13 on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    This doesn’t have to do with the above, although congrats to the Cards’ special team and those players. My question Darren, is do you know when you’ll be posting the Kurt Warner 30 minute special? You had mentioned it and I’ve been looking for it. I’m not a local (I live in Iowa) so I’d like to catch it when it airs. Thanks for the help.

  8. By Paul on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, your right. Probably overstating the case. Just trying to light a fire. This is a big off season. Warner era is over. Management needs to show the fans that they are committed to maintain the success of the last few seasons. Looking forward to seeing how things shake out.

  9. By Eric on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    I’m really interested in the Cardinals outlook on this unique non-CBA offseason. Due to the fact that there’s no salary cap, has the front office given any consideration to restructuring some contracts to front-load them this season, thereby reducing their cap number for next year, which may be capped again?

  10. By Tbru on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    I think the Rackers injury and the missed FG in the Wild Card game knocked us down a few notches

  11. By DON CHRISTENSEN on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    DARREN…WHERE DOES THE NFL KEEP SPECIAL TEAMS STATISTICS (TACKLES,TB’S, ETC.)? HASSIM OSGOOD WAS A PRO-BOWL COVERAGE GUY WITH 13 TACKLES …IN 2008, WE HAD 3 GUYS WITH MORE THAN 20.

  12. By darrenurban on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    WarnerFan —

    I expect it to be posted some time before the end of the month, although we have not yet set a date. It still has some airings on the local FSN channel, so our broadcasting department would like to wait for most of those to run their course.

  13. By darrenurban on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    The problem with that is you are pushing actual dollars paid out this year. And while I haven’t spoken to anyone here on the subject yet, I am guessing around the league teams are going to be leery of doing such a thing — because that gives players more money now, and in the end, teams aren’t going to want to give players a bunch of money up front when they might not get as much football from them in 2011 if there is a work stoppage.

  14. By darrenurban on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Tbru —

    I am pretty sure Goose’s rankings are confined to the regular season, so the missed playoff field goal wouldn’t have matters, nor would the Reggie Bush TD punt return.

  15. By darrenurban on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Don —

    Tackles aren’t an “official” NFL stat per se. They are kept every game on both defense and special teams, but then every team goes over the film and “re-issues” tackles in both circumstances. That’s why the tackles on NFL.com and the ones released by teams rarely match up.

  16. By DON CHRISTENSEN on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    ON NFL.COM, YOU CAN GET TEAM STATISTICS, INCLUDING TACKLES, FOR EACH TEAM, BUT SPECIAL T EAMS TACKLES ARE DON’T SEEM TO B E INCLUDED, I DONT THINK, BECAUSE LSH WAS NOT LISTED ON OUR STATISTICS THAT INCLUDED ANY SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES, ONLY SOMETHING HE GOT WHILE PLAYING OFFENSE, AND TACKLING A FUMBLE-RECOVERER OR A INTERCEPTOR…DON

  17. By Scott Hornberger on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    It’s hard to imagine being excited about a punter but Ben Graham is a punter you CAN be excited about! His booming kicks and amazing ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory are great things to be able to count on! It’s ridiculous that he wasn’t voted to the Pro Bowl. And while I’ve always liked Rackers, some of his misses are just SOOOO hard to forgive. I’m still not over the miss at the end of the infamous Monday Night game against Chicago a few years ago. And when he totally blew the kick near the end of regulation against Green Bay, I was just sick. I thought our season had just ended right there, especially when the Packers won the toss in overtime. He’s a dependable kicker but his misses tend to be huge!

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