Special Cardinals on all-time special teams

Posted by Darren Urban on May 17, 2018 – 9:15 am

You can see the emphasis Steve Wilks is putting on special teams early on in his tenure, devoting a good chunk of both Phase Two and Phase Three on-field work every day to let special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers do his thing. Along those lines, the Cardinals have had some pretty good special teamers over the years, and that was noted when veteran NFL reporter Rick Gosselin — who has long had a detailed system on how to rank special teams units and is an expert on that part of the game — created his all-time special teams lineup.

Three Cardinals made the list, all for their coverage work. Four-time Cardinals special teams Pro Bowler Ron Wolfley, now the Cards’ color analyst, made Gosselin’s first team, along with a quote from Patriots coach Bill Belichick — who was Wolfley’s coach when both were in Cleveland.

“Wolfley had less speed than those other guys,” Belichick said. “But he was very tough with a top motor. He was physical to run through blockers. He wasn’t always the first downfield, but he was around the ball and smart to recognize wall returns and the blocking schemes. He played next to the center on the punt team and was both strong and smart in protection.”

The other two Cardinals landed on the second-team, and are more recent vintage. The just-departed Justin Bethel never quite worked out as a cornerback, but he was excellent on special teams, making three Pro Bowls in six seasons with the Cardinals. And Sean Morey was one of the first players Ken Whisenhunt brought over from Pittsburgh. Morey made a Pro Bowl as a Cardinal as well, memorably blocking a punt in overtime in 2008 that Monty Beisel recovered for a game-winning overtime touchdown against Dallas.

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25 Responses to “Special Cardinals on all-time special teams”

  1. By Preston Jax on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    This is awesome. Thanks Darren.

    In honor of this recognition, can we get a Ron Wolfley photo gallery uploaded to the Photos section of the website? Like his best ones? I feel like fans would love that. I love all the photos you guys post.

    Thanks again D-Urbz.

  2. By Joseph C Millard on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    If you ask me ?

    “memorably blocking a punt in overtime in 2008 that Monty Beisel recovered for a game-winning overtime touchdown against Dallas.”

    Best play in Arizona Cardinals History.

  3. By JTDG on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    Special Teams;

    They have no where to go but up. Glad to here the staff is making it a priority. Could add two more wins a year with great special teams.

    Especially if/when Rosen comes in. With a solid defense and great special teams, he will learn real fast not to force things and take the FG or punt it away.

    Having that, and a good run game, will only help Rosen.

  4. By Steve W on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    Heh. I love listening to Ron Wolfley do color on the Cards radio on Field Pass (which is usually how I get too ‘watch’ most of my Cards games here in VA.) In fact, more often than not if I get the chance to watch them on TV, I turn off the audio and listen to the radio so I can get the best of both worlds. Though usually there’s an annoying four or five second delay to contend with.

    Interesting to hear Belichick’s comments about Wolfley on special teams too, especially since Ron almost ALWAYS mentions about how disheartening it is to line up and have to run again after a penalty forces a re-kick.

  5. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    Loved Sean Morey, like a robo warrior. God, I loved watching him. Sadly, I recall he got concussed from his fearless approach…

  6. By NJAzCardsFan on May 17, 2018 | Reply

    Joe C.- That play is a close second. The best play in Cards history was Warner to Fitz for a TD in the Superbowl with 2:33 remaining…… That put the Cards up 23-20…!!!

  7. By Scott H on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Love these old-school pics. I remember Wolfley being described as the best wedge-buster in the business. Truly a life-long Cardinal.

  8. By Scott H on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Joe C / NJAzCardsFan –

    RE: Best play in Cards history

    Of course, the 63-yarder to Fitz in SB 43 is probably the best. I can’t put anything ahead of that.

    But I’d like nominate this one for consideration – the Palmer to Fitz completion in OT against the Packers in the 2015 playoffs. Amazing play on both ends. Palmer avoiding a sack to get free and finding an in-explicably wide-open Fitz near the sideline, then Fitz stiff-arming and evading and out-running Packers defenders all the way to the 4 yard line.

    Gotta be one of the most memorable plays ever. Knowing that we scored on the next play ( Fitz again ) and won the game helps, ya know?

    There were several plays from the 2008 title game against Philly that come to mind as well.

  9. By Eric G on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Jamar Taylor!!!! Yes!!!!

    Steve Keim, seriously, what’s gotten into you? Great job.

  10. By El Gallo on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    – ST

    Such an important phase of the game that our team struggled in the last few years.
    Glad to see Wolfley and Bethel recognized and that our new HC is making it a point to improve ST.

    I hear a Trade with Cleveland for CB, J. Taylor is in process..
    Very interesting!

  11. By NJAzCardsFan on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Scott H.-
    For second… I would call it a tie between your game and the Cards-Packers playoff game where Dansby scored the TD in OT. Warner was awesome that game. IIRC he had only 3 incompletions all day…. Yes, both defenses weren’t on the field in that game….

  12. By Dr. G. on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Memorable plays? How about Jay Feely scoring a touchdown on a fake fiel goal, jumping up on the wall to give a Fan the football? …saw that in person at the game…Fans were laughing while cheering…too cool.

  13. By Dr. G. on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Oh…forgot a very big stat…Jay Feely scored 25 points in that 2010 game vs Denver…nothing but Super Man effort.

    Those were the days when we had Red Zone issues…be well Cards Fans

  14. By Scott H on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    NJAzCards –

    RE: Warner’s stat line

    You were close but just a little off. Doesn’t matter. It was still a day most QB’s will never have. Warner was 29 of 33 for almost 400 yards and 5 TD’s. Yes, that means the man threw more TD’s than incompletions in that game. Unheard of. And that was against a pass defense that was one of the best in the league that year.

    Warner and Rodgers were both un-stoppable that day. They looked like they would have shredded any NFL defense you wanted to put out there, the 85 Bears, the 00 Ravens, you name it. It was a fun game to watch….more fun if you were a Cardinals fan!

  15. By Scott H on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    I am seeing the report of the Jamar Taylor trade as well, and I am liking it! Aggressiveness in action. Keim can bring it when he puts his mind to it. Nice job.

    I guess this means Breeland isn’t coming here. Of the two, Breeland may be the better player but….who knows how attain-able he was really going to be, ya know?

    This trade smacks of the trade the Eagles made for that Darby kid last year that I was so envious of and that worked out so well for them. So, good to see that OUR team is making such moves this off-season. I like it. At the VERY least, we have what we didn’t have last year – legit competition for the CB2 spot.

  16. By D on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    On May 5 -I proposed the trade for T. Taylor from the Browns, but Mr. Keim only gave up a 6th rounder while I was going to give up a 4th round pick, that shows what little I know. Good job SK. Add a T. Boston at S and this Secondary will be solid.

  17. By Coach K on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Eric G

    I think Keim reads this blog.

    I think he got the message from the Bird gang ad it ruffled his feathers
    and made him a better GM.

    Let’s hope so.

  18. By patrick on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    A bridge qb1 ✅ (Bradford)
    Veteran Qb backup ✅ (Glennon)
    Release Adrian Peterson ✅
    Resolve HB contract ✅
    Sign inside LB ✅ (Bynes)
    Improve O-line ✅ (Andre Smith)
    Improve O-line interior ✅ (Pugh and Cole)
    Resolve Iupati contract ✅
    Resolve Veldheer contract ✅
    Draft QB of future preferably round 1 but definitely in first 2 rounds.✅ (Rosen)
    Sign / Draft WR2 ✅ (Kirk) or Chad Williams
    Sign WR depth ✅ (Butler + UDFA’s TBD)
    Sign Fullback ✅ (Coleman and/or Ramesh
    Sign (trade for) CB2 ✅ Jamar Taylor

    To Do List: (All might already be on roster)

    Sign TE depth
    Sign slot CB
    Sign Safety Depth
    Improve Interior D line

  19. By Big Ken on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Oh Wooooow! Number 24 looks like some high school kid out there. A black and white photo to boot. Gotta love Ron W., Iconic.

  20. By CARDS62 on May 18, 2018 | Reply

    Nothing but love for Wolfley but if you can remember him you can remember Terry Metcalf on returns, Terry was so much fun to watch on special teams and at RB. Terry has to be our best return man of all time.

    Patrick I like your list of needs. I just posted on another post about DT Johnathan Hankins if the price is right. What do you think about him?
    I think we also need another veteran receiver. Maybe Jeremy Macklin if healthy. I always like the way he plays.

    Scott H I agree with you that the Packers playoff win is my favorite Cardinal game of all time because of the excitement and unreal performance of Kurt Warner.

    I also enjoyed our playoff win over Dallas so many years ago because of our great defensive play and because it was Dallas who beat our brains out on a regular basis when we were a part of the NFC East.

    I am starting to get a little excited about the 2018 season. Go Cards !!!

  21. By clssylssy on May 19, 2018 | Reply

    Everything I keep hearing about Rosen just gets better and better, and it’s still a little surreal to think we got him! This week the analysts have been gushing about his brillance at reading defenses and making good decisions under pressure with confidence and skilsl many starters never achieve. He even requested to be excused from the exclusive Rookie Premier Event held in LA by the league so he could finish the week’s OTA’s! . I’m loving this kid’s intelligence, skills, and devotion to the game.
    It’s kinda looking that we wasted about $20M on Glennon and Bradford is destained to be the highest paid backup in the league (although the importance of a quality backup cannot be minimized as we’ve seen in recent years).

  22. By patrick on May 20, 2018 | Reply


    Thanks, as far as DT Hankins, I try not to get caught up in potential players. I agree the Cardinals seem to still need DT help (preferably a veteran that can provide leadership), but it can come from current free agency, a player released later, trade, or a surprise on the roster.

    I think Wilks summed up the offseason pretty good with this quote.

    “When you go back to January 22nd, when I was hired, there were questions,” Wilks said. “Here’s a guy with no head coaching experience, you have no quarterback on the roster, the offensive line has a lot of holes, there are a lot of questions about this team. And I would say this: Sight is totally different than vision. Sometimes you have to see past the difficulties. We had a plan. We had a vision.”

    2018 might be a good year or bad year, but I think it is a team fans that can see the vision can be proud to root for.

  23. By Scott H on May 21, 2018 | Reply

    I think I’d actually be quite surprised if Keim read this blog. I might say I wish he WOULD, but….I doubt it ever happens. And that’s OK if he doesn’t. Lord knows, I’ve had plenty to say about the job Keim has done recently ( THIS off-season not included ) but let’s face it – fans and a general manager have to operate on different levels. They can’t think like us. Once they do, it won’t be long before they’ll BE one of us.

    And if Keim DID need to read a fan blog to realize that he needed to address the CB position…..I don’t even want to know.

  24. By Dan Nicholson on May 22, 2018 | Reply

    I remember back in the 1980’s watching the Cards @ Dallas and Roy Green returns a kickoff 108 yards for a TD which at the time was an NFL record. If Metcalf, (Terry) had played a couple more years with Cards that him& Green would have been unstoppable.

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