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Cat Man drives kickoffs deep

Posted by Darren Urban on October 21, 2014 – 10:14 am

At this point, the story of Chandler Catanzaro is pretty well known. The undrafted rookie kicker out of Clemson — who got all of a $1,500 signing bonus — is 15-for-15 on field goals, tying the NFL record for most makes to start a rookie season. He’s already got 56 points on the season, and he’s a nice blend of humility with an layer beneath of confidence. He’s not going to brag about himself, but there is no question he thinks he can be a great kicker. He’s off to a great start.

But the field goals are only part of the equation. His kickoffs — a part of the game that more than anything moved the Cardinals toward looking for a Jay Feely replacement — have been as impressive as expected.

Of Catanzaro’s 34 kickoffs so far, 30 have not made it past the 20-yard line and more importantly, Catanzaro already has 22 touchbacks. In this day and age of kickoffs being up five yards further and rules changing the way the kickoff return can be blocked, that’s not overwhelmingly surprising. Last year, the Cards had 33 touchbacks on 86 total kickoffs. Catanzaro should reach that total by mid-November.

So far, the average starting position of Cardinals’ opponents after a kickoff is the 19. That ranks second in the NFL, behind only Cleveland (at 18.1). A touchback actually helps an opponent these days.

“They are going well,” Catanzaro said. “I didn’t hit them as well (in Oakland) and I need to get better this week. But they are going well. I didn’t do them in college and I am happy with where I am. I’m confident. I did some work ever since the Orange Bowl was over last year with Clemson, working my tail off where my kickoffs are. I have to keep that up because I think that’s helping us win games. Honestly, it’s a huge testament to the kickoff team as well. They are doing an awesome job.”

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Posted in Blog | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Cat Man drives kickoffs deep”

  1. By Dr. G. on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    The 19-yard line…What else can one say? Oh yeah, our Special Teamsl…

    Bethel is my favorite player…Thanks Justin, Chandler…

  2. By kauaicardsfan on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Aloha Darren,
    Cat man was undrafted, how did he come to the cards? Did Keim invite him to try out ? Did he come on his own knowing he had a good chance of making the team?
    If Keim and crew invited him that goes to show how great our scouts are once again amd found a Diamond in the rough!

    Love this team!!!
    GO CARDS!!!

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Kauai —

    RE: Cat Man invite

    Like every undrafted rookie, the Cards called him and invited him to the roster. I don’t know if he had other options.

  4. By Dynosoar on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    In the last blog article, Kevin S Mesa wrote,

    “The combined record of the Cardinals’ opponents is 19-21. And that includes the fact that we are 5 of those losses… so their combined record in games not against us is 18-16.”

    I was looking at this as well yesterday, but didn’t go to the second level (the 18-16). Here’s what I found and yeah, I’m a stats guy., but ya’ll knew that.

    Eagles opponents combined record = 17-24
    Cowboys opponents combined record = 19-26 (1 extra game played)
    Cardinals opponents combined record = 19-21

    49ers beat the Eagles and Cowboys
    Our Cardinals beat the 49ers (and we were in it with Denver most of the game, SF never was.)

    Does this mean we win… no, but it’s comforting and makes me just that much more excited for the next two weeks. Also, Dallas is winning because of the run game and we’re #1 against the run.

    I so want 4-0 against our old division. So want this and it’s so close I can taste it.

  5. By Dynosoar on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa, I like that you took it to that next level.

    And that’s what the Cat Man is doing, taking it to the next level. I liked Neil and Jay and am liking Chandler just as well. How long can his streak continue? I’m impressed.

    If the NFL ever moves the kickoff back so we can have more returns (fingers crossed) what will he do? He’d still probably have more touchbacks than most.

    The funniest thing regarding kickers I ever read, was on the Patriots website store the day after their last Super Bowl loss, when their kicker missed to the left and instead of the win, the Giants won. The webstore stated you could order his jerseys, but it would be delivered one house to the left. Haha.

    A sense of humor is a good thing, the spoonful of sugar so to speak.

  6. By Big Ken on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    The Bidwell$ need to reward that kid.

  7. By Jake L. on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Noooo! Now you just jinxed him for writing this article! Last week you had an article talking about how we have no interceptions and looked what happened Sunday!!!

  8. By T.Stone on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Dynosoar

    RE: kickers

    The funniest thing I remember from the Cards is for the punter. Buddy Ryan I think said we ain’t Payin 1 million bucks to keep a punter. Lol. I think he went to the Seahawks. Good punter, but for a mill? In those days? Don’t think so.

  9. By siege911 on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    I was bummed to see Feely go as I really thought highly of the guy, but from a pure performance perspective, I can’t argue with the production. Cat is doing awesome.

  10. By Richard S on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    Undrafted – this sure beats the days when the Cardinals drafted Steve Little in the first round as a kicker. May he rest in peace.

  11. By krehbieo14 on Oct 21, 2014 | Reply

    His maturity and confidence as as a young man is remarkable. CatMan is a playmaker!

  12. By Eazy E on Oct 22, 2014 | Reply

    I loved my man Jay, so if we had to replace him because of kickoffs, the replacement better be great because Jay was pretty close to money on field goals. Sure, his leg on kickoffs wasn’t quite Janikowski, but they weren’t at the 20 or 30 either. Catanzaro has been impressive for anybody and even moreso a rookie. Keep it up and get that dang record!

  13. By superbowlcards on Oct 22, 2014 | Reply

    Question on Cat’s contract. Undradted free agent means very little if any signing bonus plus he probably signed for around $35 k. Once he made the team does his contract automatically bulb up to a minimum? I know there is a veteran minimum, but is there a rookie minimum that is higher than the undrafted free agent contract figures? A lot like the practice squad players do they have a different minimum that they bump up to if the are signed to the regular roster? Anybody know

  14. By Darren Urban on Oct 22, 2014 | Reply

    superbowl —

    RE: Bonus/contract

    The salary is what it is. The signing bonus is what it is. Rookie minimums for salaries are the same, drafted or not.

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