Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Arizona Cardinals is looking better these days?
Training camp have begun to open up all around the NFL for all 32 teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we have been taking a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We have looked at the AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, NFC North, AFC South, NFC South and AFC West. We are finishing with the NFC West and have already checked out the champion Seattle Seahawks. Now we turn to the Arizona Cardinals.
Simply put, it was a nightmarish season for a club that came within one victory of a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. The combination of an erratic year by quarterback Carson Palmer and a bad performance by placekicker Chandler Catanzaro were part of a 7-8-1 campaign for Bruce Arians’ team.
One year after finishing with 137 points and connecting on 28-of-31 field goal attempts, the Arizona specialist missed seven of his 28 three-point tries. And they not only seemingly came from every distance but the most inopportune of times. There was the late miss in Week 1 from 47 yards out that proved costly in a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots. There was also the ugly performance in a primetime 6-6 tie vs. the Seattle Seahawks. And to be fair, it was the Cardinals’ special teams in general that let the club down.
In any case, the organization opted not to pick up the option on their kicker. Catanzaro would go onto sign with the New York Jets. Meanwhile, Arizona looked within the division and grabbed Phil Dawson, late of the San Francisco 49ers. The 42-year-old specialist enters his 19th NFL season. He ranks 15th in league history with 1,698 points and 10th with 404 successful field goal attempts.
The former University of Texas kicker, who began his career with the Cleveland Browns, certainly knows his way around the NFC West after spending the last four years with the Niners. He’s a big-time upgrade for the Arizona Cardinals, who look to get back to the division top spot following a down year.