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Jay Feely: Kicking off may be the root of Phil Dawson’s struggles

Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson (4) celebrates with Andy Lee after kicking a field goal as San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dekoda Watson (97) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LISTEN: Jay Feely, CBS Special Teams Expert

Heading into Week 10 of the NFL season, Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson is ranked 33rd in the league in field goal percentage.

Considering there are only 32 teams in the league, one might conclude that kicking has become a real problem the Cardinals need to address down the stretch.

Thursday morning, former Cardinals kicker Jay Feely joined Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station to address why Dawson has struggled so badly this season. One of the issues could be that, at age 42, Dawson has to double-dip with kickoff duties as well as field goals.

“They had two young guys to kick off and they wanted them to win the job so Phil wouldn’t have to kick off. Neither one of them won the job,” Feely said. “I just know that as an older guy the impacts that kickoffs had.

“The analogy I give is if you lose your driver, I was teeing off with a 3-iron every hole. It has an impact on you physically and mentally as well.”

Feely said that losing long snapper Aaron Brewer in Week 5 could affect the snap-hold-kick process.

“If you see the ball the whole way, the entire time you are attacking the ball and hitting the ball you are comfortable and confident. When the ball isn’t there and the holder has to reach somewhere else and you don’t get to see it until the last minute, that makes it more difficult, no question,” said Feely.

Many fans were excited when the Cardinals signed the 18-year veteran this offseason since he has hit 84 percent of his career attempts and is only four field goals shy of 500 for his career.

But with six misses in only eight games, the acquisition has proved underwhelming.

On a positive note, Dawson has hit 13 of 13 extra point attempts this season and will look to redeem himself Thursday against the Seahawks.

In Week 7 last season, the Cardinals engaged the Seahawks in a 6-6 field goal fest in which missed field goals played a pivotal role at University of Phoenix Stadium.

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