Pooching and the kickoff question for Dawson

Posted by Darren Urban on June 12, 2017 – 6:27 am

When the Cardinals signed veteran kicker Phil Dawson, one of the questions that came up immediately was whether he would kick off. Dawson split time with the 49ers last year with punter Bradley Pinion on the duty, and ended up with only four touchbacks. But Dawson emphasized that his low touchback count was by design and not because of an inability to kick it deep. While both the Cardinals’ current punting options — Matt Wile and Richie Leone — can and have kicked off in the past, coach Bruce Arians has said Dawson can do the job. It’s a wait-and-see situation, but Dawson wants to kick off.

Dawson said the biggest reason his touchback count was so low last year was that the coaches wanted him to pooch kickoffs. Pro Football Focus pointed out that Dawson had the greatest percentage of kickoffs between the goalline and the 5-yard line last season, at 41.5 percent. With touchbacks now coming out to the 25-yard line, a pooch-and-cover strategy makes a lot of sense. The Patriots, to name one team, did it well last year. The Cardinals went with the touchback most of the time with Chandler Catanzaro, but given special teams issues and the need to cover, that probably was a good idea. If the Cards can gather a coverage unit that can get there, Dawson could trap return men near the goal again. Yes, his touchback ratio would be lower, but if the Cards can lock down the return man inside the 25, no one will care.

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Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Pooching and the kickoff question for Dawson”

  1. By D on Jun 12, 2017 | Reply

    Dawson should give AZ two more wins this year. (Seattle/NE last year= 9 wins)

    I could see AZ signing a ILB before the place shuts down for the summer, (until Camp in July). DBuc probably will be out until end of Sept, leaves AZ with Los and Reddick trying to learn with only Special Teams LBs as backups…Perry Riley????

  2. By creditcard on Jun 12, 2017 | Reply

    Feed Dawson Geritol before each game — he’ll be fine.

    Special team play in terms of blocking and tackling needs drastic improvement this year. The ability / inability to kick well was sighted lasted year, but if you looked at the porous blocking and tackling on special teams, it is only a wonder that field goals were missed, punts blocks, and long returns prevailed.

    The ability of certain back-up running backs, receivers, safeties, linebackers, and cornerbacks being able to block and tackle well may determine the Cards season again.

  3. By Scott H on Jun 12, 2017 | Reply

    Hopefully, we will enjoy the consistent / rock solid performance that Dawson has always been known for this season. After the nerve-racking ST’s play we endured last year….we could use a break.

    And, man, isn’t it just nice to know that Butler isn’t gonna be the punter ( again ) this year??? It would seem we almost have to be better based on THAT completely over-due change alone.

    But we still don’t appear to have the return game we need. I really don’t believe Peterson is the answer, nor SHOULD he be.

  4. By shooter28 on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    D – The Kicking game cost AZ more than just 2 wins last year, it cost AZ 3 wins and special teams as a whole cost them 4 wins….

    AZ isn’t going to need another ILB, Deone Bucannon isn’t missing the 1st month of the season. Bucannon is currently ahead of schedule in his rehab, he could miss 1 game at the most but the team currently believes he will be back at the end of August!!! Hassan Reddick has been killing it on the field as well, and AZ has 3 very good capable backup ILBs in Scooby Wright. Game Martin n Alani Fua. No need for another backer.

  5. By shooter28 on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    Signing Kicker Phil Dawson was a big addition and was a greatly overlook move. If not AZs kicking game last year they would of 10-11 games and the division, but Catanzaro single handily made sure that didn’t happen.
    In Phil Dawson Arizona signed one of the best, most accurate kickers in the NFL, Dawson is use to and very good at making game winning & high pressure kicks.The Kicking/Punting Units & Special Teams play will all be much, much better in 2017.

  6. By D on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    Curious to see if any players listed below are included in Mr. Keim’s “6-8” street players who are on his short list.

    I would have to believe C. Johnson, RB would be one of the players, CB, ILB, TE could also be areas to add depth.

    1 Eric Decker WR NYJ 30
    2 Ryan Clady OT NYJ 30
    3 Perry Riley ILB OAK 29
    4 Nick Mangold C NYJ 33
    5 Isa Abdul-Quddus S MIA 28
    6 DeAndre Levy 4-3 OLB DET 30
    7 Austin Pasztor G CLE 26
    8 Darrelle Revis CB NYJ 32
    9 Brandon Flowers CB LAC 31
    10 Paul Kruger 3-4 OLB NO 31
    11 Gary Barnidge TE CLE 31
    12 Alterraun Verner CB TB 28
    13 Ladarius Green TE PIT 27
    14 David Harris ILB NYJ 33
    15 Sam Shields CB GB 29

  7. By Scott H on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    D –

    RE: Bucannon

    If I understand correctly, if he starts the season on the PUP list, he can’t play until after Week 6, which puts us into Oct. NOT good. Hence, all my previous gripes about why his surgery waited until MID MAY.

    Dammit, there goes my blood pressure again….Serenity NOW!!!

    Darren, are you able to provide any clarity on that whole starting-the-season-on-the-PUP-list thing?

  8. By Darren Urban on Jun 14, 2017 | Reply

    Scott –

    RE: PUP

    If a player starts camp on PUP, if he comes off before the regular season he can play whenever. If he starts the regular season on PUP, yes, it would mean he’d miss six weeks. I highly doubt Buc is on PUP when the regular season starts.

  9. By Scott H on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    To whoever gave my previous post the thumbs downs…..oh, you have a problem with my feeling glad to be done with BUTLER as our punter???? Gimme a break….

  10. By Chris Robot on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply

    Some filler: last year his average return was 19.6. So if the pooch works and the coverage gets there.. it will swing some things for us compared to last year.

  11. By mal on Jun 13, 2017 | Reply


    You’ve written a few times on this website that the coaches are off until training camp but the rookies are still around for 2 more weeks.

    With no coaches there, what are those rookies doing?

  12. By Darren Urban on Jun 14, 2017 | Reply

    Mal –

    RE: rookies

    Strength training and life training. (How to take care of money, how to stay out of trouble, etc.)

  13. By Scott H on Jun 15, 2017 | Reply

    shooter 28 / Darren –

    I am encouraged by the confidence that Bucannon will NOT be on the PUP list when the regular season starts. Doesn’t mean he’ll be READY when the regular season starts, but….I’ll take it.

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