Nothing should change now under new special teams coordinator Amos Jones.
The 53-year old Jones was introduced as the Cardinals’ special teams coordinator yesterday. Under new head coach Bruce Arians, the University of Alabama product is inheriting a dynamic unit that is known for making exciting plays. For example, the Red Birds blocked three kicks last season and one was returned for an 82-yard touchdown by Justin Bethel.
Wait, there's more. Despite not returning a punt for a touchdown in 2012, Patrick Peterson did have four punt return touchdowns during the 2011 season. That tied an NFL record. He's still a very dangerous return man, along with doubling as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He'll continue to return punts under Arians this coming season.
“I’m glad (the Cardinals) drafted him,” Jones told arizonasports.com. “Shoot, he’s an offensive guy on defense as far as we’re concerned. I’m just glad coach told me I could use him. Wouldn’t y’all?”
Of course. Peterson is a true talent but he did struggle in his second NFL campaign returning punts. The LSU product fumbled/muffed seven kicks and lost possession on three separate occasions. His 8.4 punt return average was disappointing but opposing teams did focus on him greatly in 2012.
Jones has other weapons to coach as well. Punter Dave Zastudil easily could have made the Pro Bowl last season. Not only did he average 46.5 yards per boot but he set an NFL record with 46 punts inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Jay Feely notched over 100 points for the eighth time in his long career and William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling did a good job returning kickoffs.
A solid foundation has been established.
No doubt Jones, who was the assistant special teams coach with the Steelers from 2007-12, has some excellent weapons to work with. Included among them are Calais Campbell and Bethel, who excel in blocking punts and field goals. They should remain just as aggressive as ever in 2013.
"I don’t know if any of y’all ever blocked a kick, but it hurts,” Jones told azcentral.com. “When you put your hands on leather, man, you’ve gotta be committed to doing it. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with those guys because a quick get-off affords us the luxury of line up, sic ’em and go get ’em.”
That's what Cardinals fans love to hear.
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