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Arizona Cardinals Kicker Chandler Catanzaro not Concerned by Extra Point Change

May 22nd, 2015 at 5:56 AM
By Steve Smith

Now entering his second NFL season in 2015, Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro isn't fazed by the new NFL rule for kickers – starting this coming season, the ball will be snapped from the 15-yard line instead of the one.

Catanzaro is taking the change in stride.

"What it comes down to is that kicking is kicking,” Catanzaro said via the team's website. “It’s me, the ball and my target. That doesn’t change much. Nothing changes technique-wise. Rules are rules, and I am ready for the challenge.”

The numbers back up his confident attitude. Last season, the University of Clemson product went 7-for-7 on field goals between 30 and 33 yards – at the 15, it will likely be a 33-yard attempt for extra points – and in the past 10 seasons, Arizona kickers have made 45 of 46 field goals from that distance.

Two-point conversion attempts will still be snapped at the 2-yard line, although the move would seem to squash any attempt of a fake kick on extra points. With little fear of a fake, edge rushers can now come off harder.

That doesn't faze Catanzaro.

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Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Carson Palmer Working His Way Back

May 21st, 2015 at 4:53 AM
By Steve Smith

He's 35 years old now and six months removed from surgery to repair his torn left ACL. As he participates in team OTA's, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer participates in various drills with a real sense of urgency.

At this point in time, the Red Birds signal-caller is limited to individual and 7-on-7 activities as he works his way back from the season-ending injury he suffered against the St. Louis Rams last November.

He knows his window of opportunity to lead the Cards to the Super Bowl is slowly starting to close.

“He knows the clock’s ticking,” Arizona head coach Bruce Arians stated via the team's website. “It is for a lot of guys on this team. You get a window to make a run and most of it depends on your quarterback. Right now, it’s our window. There is a sense of urgency.”

That's right. The Cardinals were never the same without Palmer last year following his injury. Sure, they made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 but struggled offensively under backups Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley, respectively.

The Red Birds need a healthy Palmer in 2015.

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Rookies David Johnson, Gerald Christian Sign Contracts with Arizona Cardinals

May 20th, 2015 at 4:52 AM
By Steve Smith

Rookies David Johnson and Gerald Christian have been signed by the Arizona Cardinals to four-year deals. That means only 2015 first round pick D.J. Humphries remains unsigned from the Red Birds' draft class.

Johnson, a third-round selection and seventh-round pick Gerald Christian, a tight end and the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant” for being the final pick in the draft are both now in the fold. Humphries’ deal is not expected to be a complicated contract either and should be signed sooner rather than later.

Johnson, a powerful running back from Northern Iowa, is expected to pair with Andre Ellington to form a dynamic rushing attack for the Cards.

"I definitely hope so,” Johnson said via the team's website. “There is no telling right now (my role) but hopefully by the time the regular season comes I can be on the field and help out the team.”

As the final pick in this year's draft, Christian is scheduled to attend a week’s worth of “Mr. Irrelevant” celebrations in southern California later this summer, including a parade and trip to Disneyland. The University of Louisville product has embraced the concept, although he thinks it shouldn’t color how people view his value with the Cardinals.

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Versatility Should Serve Arizona Cardinals Rookie Rodney Gunter Well

May 19th, 2015 at 4:50 AM
By Steve Smith

Versatility may be the main reason rookie Rodney Gunter makes the Arizona Cardinals roster in 2015.

The Red Birds improved their depth on the defensive line by drafting Gunter in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago.

The Delaware State product is 6-foot-5 and weighs 305 pounds. He was a second-team All-MEAC selection in 2014, a first-team All-MEAC pick in 2013 and a second-team All-MEAC selection in 2012.

The Cards moved up seven spots to select Gunter, swapping places with the Browns in the fourth round and sending sixth and seventh-round picks to Cleveland to obtain him.

A productive player in college, some scouting services think Gunter can play both end and tackle. According to the Delaware State web site, Gunter is a cousin of former Cardinals tight end D.C. Jefferson, a seventh round pick in 2013. Jefferson lasted one year with the club. Gunter played just one season in high school. As the oldest of three sons to a single mother, he worked as a dishwasher and waiter to make ends meet. His character traits are solid.

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Several Rookies Impressing Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians

May 18th, 2015 at 4:51 AM
By Steve Smith

So far, so good.

Just a little over a week into their new NFL careers, several of the 24 rookies in Arizona Cardinals camp are impressing head coach Bruce Arians.

"Oh, God, all the drafts picks are right on the money," Arians enthused via azcentral.com.

Outside linebackers Markus Golden (second round pick) and Shaq Riddick (fifth) displayed the athleticism that prompted the Red Birds to select them in this year's draft.

"They've got so much to learn coverage-wise," Arians added, "but the thing we drafted them for, being able to get in a two-point stance and press off that edge, both looked really good."

Another player turning heads is first round draft pick D.J. Humphries. The Charlotte, NC native played left tackle for the Gators but will switch to right tackle for the Cards. Making that transition will take time but Arians feels he's up to the task.

"He can swing (play both) easily," Arians said.

Northern Iowa's David Johnson, a third round selection, is a multi-faceted running back and has impressed Arians with his intelligence.

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