The punter who won’t leave

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2014 – 5:18 pm

The Cardinals cut punter Drew Butler for a second time this week, and then Wednesday re-signed him again. This time it is to the practice squad, with the Cardinals letting defensive tackle Christian Tupou go from the practice squad. Tupou wasn’t needed once the Cardinals brought back/in Bruce Gaston from the Dolphins’ practice squad today to the Cards’ 53-man roster. Gaston, the undrafted rookie whom the Cardinals really liked in training camp before cutting him, replaced running back Jalen Parmele on the 53, who was unnecessary when Marion Grice was signed yesterday — taking Butler’s place on the roster.

Keeping all that straight?

Clearly, there is probably still some concern about Dave Zastudil’s groin injury, but having Butler (wearing No. 2 below) around is insurance (love that new 10-man practice squad to give a team some leeway with a practice-squad punter). I’d still guess Zastudil should be OK, but we’ll see. Bruce Arians said today everyone should be totally healthy come Monday save for a little uncertainty on quarterback Carson Palmer. But Palmer should be ready by Wednesday now that he’s throwing again, so there’s that.

— 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta said today he was not fined for his hit on sliding QB Drew Stanton.



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32 Responses to “The punter who won’t leave”

  1. By TucsonTim on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply


    BTW just watched the 2nd half of the 49ers (ok I have no social life) and I was wondering has anyone noticed that on that controversial pass interference call late in the 4th Q, Brown actually made an incredible catch with right foot, left toe in bounds. OMG, that guy is fricking AMAZING

  2. By TucsonTim on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    And BTW the 49ers secondary is awful. With Palmer we blow them out by 3 or 4 TDs easy. And the Eagles are dogs going there Sunday???. I don’t bet, but if I did I can’t see Foles missing all those wide open receivers for easy TDs

  3. By Dynosoar on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    As to Dan Skuta’s hit on Stanton, I watched it a couple times, but it was on a small computer screen so it may not have been that clear a picture. It looked to me like Skuta had begun his tackle before or just as the slide began.

    If what I saw was correct, shouldn’t have even been a flag. But it is a small screen and with computer streaming, I may have seen it wrong.

    I also think, perhaps with all the potentially game changing flags being thrown on defenses this season, maybe the League is going to ease up on the fines, like when PP looked as if he’d “nudged” a ref. It evened out.

  4. By navyboy0812 on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    This guy must have a travel bag ready all times just in case.

  5. By georgiebird on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    Zastudil is an excellent punter but he will be 36 in another month. This is how the older guys break down- they get an injury that should take a week to heal- and it takes 2 months. And then they get another injury. See this year’s NY Yankees’ team e.g. Beltran, CC, Teixeira etc.
    I would keep Butler close. At 25 and with a strong leg (and correctable flaws), Butler could be another Catanzaro type choice.
    Right now, I would keep the strong legged Butler over the compromised DZ if the roster should allow for one or the other.
    As soon as a punter goes down elsewhere, Butler is a goner.

  6. By azdesertrat1953 on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    Goodness it’s like the “Soaps” on day-time TV.
    “The Punter Slowly Turns.” [coming this winter on cards tv]

    Ya just gotta Love how Keim and BA keep this Team going, and it seems no matter what happens they, some how, find a way to keep the Team Winning.

    GO CARDS!!!

  7. By wilyb on Sep 24, 2014 | Reply


    Not to argue with your conclusion about Skuta’s hit on Stanton, but the idea of the slide rule is to protect QBs from a hit like Stanton took. If a QB slides, he is down where his butt hits the turf (he doesn’t have to be touched). Defenders are supposed to avoid hitting the slider if at all possible.

    In my judgment, Skuta could have avoided a hit like he delivered, as Stanton was going feet first before Skuta left his feet. It was definitely a bang bang play, but the idea of the rule is to protect QBs from hits when they are going down. Skuta knows, or should have known, that the idea of the rule is to protect QBs. I believe Skuta could have pulled up or lessen the blow (if he wanted to). I believe it was a cheap shot that should have been penalized.

  8. By Andy Kw on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    I love that we have 2 Quality Starting QBs.

  9. By Scott H on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Man, this poor guy can’t even un-pack his damn suitcase!

  10. By Andy Kw on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    I miss Louie Cioffi. If we retained him as a DB coach, I think our secondary would be ranked top 10.

  11. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    I watched that Stanton play a few times on my DVR. I just don’t see how a defender going full speed is supposed to make a nearly instanteous decision that, oh, he’s sliding, I can’t hit him.

  12. By Dobie on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    That call was just to close it could have gone ether way but it help the team that the way it is called win some lose but you all are forgetting that we get bad calls too like that last Eagles game there was some bad call on the Cards that might have change the game favors to us it is just called human error

  13. By Victor S on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    TucsonTim – I too thought he caught it inbounds but his second two never touches down in bounds. It was still a spectacular catch despite being mugged…:)

    Dyno – I do believe the LB had a chance to jump over vs. lower his shoulder on a sliding QB.

    Looking forward to DEN game!

  14. By SteveG on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    With the caveat that there is an expanded number of slots available on the new PS squads with which to fill, I do not recall there being this constant churning under the previous GM.

    Is my perception correct, or is my memory faulty?

    The seemingly endless drive by Keim to improve every slot on the team reinforces my perception of the team having one of the better GM’s in all of football..but do the numbers and my memory jibe?


  15. By Darren Urban on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Steve G —

    RE: Churn

    The Cardinals make many more roster moves now than they used to. You are correct.

  16. By Dynosoar on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa,

    Thank you. Neither did I, but like I said I didn’t have it on a big screen, but you did.


    I fully understand the intent of the rule is to protect. I also feel, if what I saw is correct that Skuta had begun his tackle just before or simultaneously with the slide, how’s he supposed to “pull up?” (He was off his feet and to my knowledge, he’s not a Marvel or DC comic book character that can fly.)

    Again, I was watching on a computer and streaming doesn’t always allow the clearest picture. But he wasn’t fined, probably because he didn’t commit a foul. (And I do want flags called when a foul is committed, but some of these flags are not appropriate. (Defensive holding on the opposite side of the field from where the ball is thrown.))

    I don’t fault the ref, it was very close and could’ve been called either way and he was on the ground without the benefit of big screen review in slow motion I’m sure the league is using.

  17. By Dynosoar on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Has anyone here read the Art of War by Sun Tsu, or is familiar with the OODA Loop that is identified and taught by Colonel Boyd (USAF, never lost a dogfight and he was in plenty.) You can find some on the OODA Loop on Wikipedia and around Google searches. Colonel Boyd learned it from two sources, a dilligent and unending study of the Art of War and his actual combat experience.

    The nutshell, if you can fully comprehend what the enemy is doing, then plan strategy around this knowledge, you are now one step ahead of the enemy and will always win. Part of the winning is as the enemy realizes he is being beaten and his enemy (you) are always one step ahead, no matter what he tries, the enemy unravels and begins making critical errors. Then you win.

    Our coaches understand the OODA Loop. As was demonstrated last Sunday by the second half corrections to both offense and defense AND the complete unraveling and loss of discipline by the 49ers.

  18. By br in nc on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Very smart move, signing Butler to the practise squad. That is something you would never have seen prior to the expansion of the squad to 10 players (very good move by NFL) Hell I thought signing a punter or kicker to the practice squad was illegal, never really saw it before, the expansion gives teams the flexibility to make this kind of move, it gives the Cardinals a little bit of protection on Butler, any team looking for a short term replacement at Punter will be a little hesitant to sign him off our PS, because the have to maintain him for 3 weeks on their 53 man roster. (Thanks again for that info Darren, I wont forget it this time! LOL!) More than likely they will sign a Punter or Kicker off the waiver wire, so they can let him go the next week if their Punter is back. Even teams looking for long term replacement will think long and hard before signing off the PS, they would probably want to work them out before signing, and I don’t think they can do that if the player is on another teams PS. Anyone know how that works, can another team work out a Practice Squad player from our practice squad prior to signing him??

    JTDG – Was it you that was praising Bruce Gaston early in camp and preseason, I remember someone posting a lot of positive praise on Gaston, he was showing flashes early, but then kind of faded toward the end, I thought he was still with the Patriots, didn’t even know Miami had stashed him on their practice squad??? It said in an article I read, Miami was awarded waiver claim on Gaston, I’m willing to bet Cardinals put a claim on him when he was released from the Patriots, they had a worse record than we did, so they were able to snag him. I do know this Guy was a force at Purdue, hopefully he can at least assist in the pass rush department by keeping massive pressure up the middle, if we can rotate a fresh NT in every few plays they can force double teams, which in turn will weaken the outside protection, or force the pocket to collapse, and everyone know Petting Manning is not very “fleet of foot”!
    From what you saw of Gaston is he strictly a NT or can he play DE in Bowles scheme?

  19. By j on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    cards are third in the NFL with points allowed and no 4th quarter scores, i think the secondary is way past top 10.

  20. By davemaham on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    georgiebird: are you insane? Zastudil is the best in the league at pinning the ball inside the 10 yard line. I haven’t seen the niners game, but Butler was horrendous in that sense in the previous game. He appeared to have no control of his punts. Simply boots them hard.

  21. By Richard S on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Butler only punted once during the game which I was pleased with since he had one blocked and one tipped in the first 2 games. Of course they went for it in the first half with a few inches to go on the 44 yd. line and Stanton converted.

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    br in nc,

    Yes, when ever I watched early video, Gaston flashed. He looked really good against our guards and early stuff.

    But as he got into pre season games, he disappeared, which led to his release.

    I hope he can stick around, because he had a burst of quickness that everyone on the dline not named campbell, doesn’t have.

    But he needs to make plays against the real NFL players and not just against the guys who got cut.

  23. By wilyb on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Dynosoar; Kevin S Mesa:

    This is obviously a judgment call by the game officials. The applicable NFL guidance is in Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1(d):

    “Article 1: Dead Ball Declared. An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended”…

    “(d) when a runner declares himself down by sliding feet first on the ground. The ball is dead the instant the runner touches the ground with anything other than his hands or his feet” … “

    (1) A defender must pull up when a runner begins a feet-first slide. This does not mean that all contact by a defender is illegal. If a defender has already committed himself, and the contact is unavoidable, it is not a foul unless the defender commits some other act, such as helmet-to-helmet contact or by driving his forearm or shoulder into the head or neck area of the runner.”

    Skuta knew the runner was a QB and was likely to slide. He was watching him clear the line of scrimmage and run about 7 yards before sliding. The game film clearly shows Skuta driving his shoulder into the head and neck area of the runner. He could have lessen the blow, if he wanted to.

  24. By Scott H on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –
    With Butler, are we seeing a record for the number of times a player has been on-off-on again ( the Cardinals roster ) in a single season?

  25. By Darren Urban on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Butler

    Record? I don’t know about that yet.

  26. By georgiebird on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    What’s paramount to the Skuta tackle is the following:
    If a QB has begun the slide movement but has not yet hit the ground, can a fumble still be called? If the answer is yes, then one can;t blame Skuta- this is football. However, if the ball is dead once the QB begins the sliding movement- then Skuta deserved the flag. Don’t know the answer.

  27. By wilyb on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply


    The idea of this dead ball rule for a defenseless, sliding runner, is to protect said runner from injury. Stanton waited a bit long to begin his slide, but it is clear from the film that he began his slide before Skuta was airborne. Granted it was a bang bang play, but in my opinion Skuta could have avoided the shoulder to the head and neck of Stanton.

    The possibility of a fumble is not germane to this dead ball rule. If the runner has lost control of the ball before it becomes a dead ball, then the dead ball rule is out the door. That doesn’t mean you can knock the you know what out of a sliding runner to induce a fumble.

  28. By cards62 on Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    I agree with having a punter on the practice squad in case Z can not go, but this Butler kid is just way too slow in getting the ball off. I think someone said he can not even get unpacked and I say this is only true because he moves too slow. I hope we do not need him as I see several more block punts in his future.
    Love our starting kicker and punter.

  29. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Wilyb, thanks for the clarification on the rules.

    I do think it’s still an extremely difficult thing to ask players performing at the speed of an NFL game to make instant judgments that, oh, I’m not supposed to hit this guy now.

    I do think there’s a place in the game for unnecessary roughness calls. However, I personally think too many such flags are thrown. It was obviously a debatable play — given that we’re all here debating it, and Dynosaur and I thought no flag should have been thrown, and he wasn’t fined which is usually the league’s way of saying it wasn’t actually a hit worth penalizing in the first place — and in that situation I think it’s better for the referee to swallow the whistle. Go back and review it after the fact and fine the guy if need be, but a 15 yard penalty like that can change the course of a game. It’s one thing if it’s, say, a debatable pass interference call, because not making the call deprives the offense of a play that they otherwise might have made. But on “late hit” or “unsportsmanlike conduct” calls — calls that don’t affect the outcome of the play itself — I think need to be clear cut.

  30. By wilyb on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa:

    “A defender must pull up when a runner begins a feet-first slide.”

    NFL fines are more about how flagrant a violation of the rules happens to be. The fact that the NFL does not fine a player for an illegal hit is not the same thing as “saying it wasn’t actually a hit worth penalizing in the first place.” If you use that logic you end up concluding that every penalty that is not fined by the NFL is a bad call, and that clearly is not the case.

    You say “go back and review it after the fact and fine the guy if need be, but a 15 yard penalty like that can change the course of a game.“ How about if Skuta’s hit ended up separating Stanton’s shoulder, or broken his collarbone? I’m sorry, I have to side with Arians on this one. It was a cheap hit that should have been called.

    I guess we can agree to disagree on this issue.

  31. By Scott H on Sep 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    Well, you tell me – who has him beat so far?

  32. By Darren Urban on Sep 27, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Beat

    I’d like to look up Reagan Maui’a’s transaction list.

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