Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians completed putting his coaching staff together earlier in the week, and one of the new members of his staff is special teams coordinator Amos Jones.
“One of the most important phases of our football team will be special teams. I think our specialists are solid guys,” Arians said, before turning his attention to Jones. “I saw him take over a difficult situation in Pittsburgh this year and did an outstanding job. Our relationship goes way back and I have the utmost confidence that he will maintain and improve our special teams.”
Arians expressed confidence in Jones because of how well the coordinator knows the game and his ability to educate players.
“He has coached at every single level and has paid his dues,” Arians said. “He’s a great teacher; he knows how to get it taught and how to get it done. It’s one thing to have knowledge and one thing to be able to teach it, he could flat teach it.”
The head coach said he thinks his team will “have a chance to be very dynamic on special teams.”
In order to do so, Arians said four to five guys will make his squad based on how they fare on special teams during training camp. He added that every practice is to begin with special teams rehearsal led by Jones and five to six assistants.
For his part, Jones said he’s looking forward to getting things going with the Red Birds and working with the team’s experienced special teamers such as kicker Jay Feely, punter Dave Zastudil and long snapper Mike Leach. But, he warned, nobody is a lock at their position no matter who they are.
“All of those guys have to be evaluated as we go through the process and nobody can stand on their laurels from last year because it’s about this year now,” he said.
But it’s not just veterans that Jones is keyed up about; the special teams coordinator said he plans on getting punt returner Patrick Peterson back to the player he knows he can be.
“The exciting thing about that guy is the ball in his hands. He’s an offensive guy on defense as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “He’s got courage and a lot of talent, it’s our job to get him going and back to where he was two years ago when he came out.
“He’s going to have parameters … but you can’t second-guess him because if you do then you take the aggressiveness away from him and we want aggressiveness. As long as he’s got good catch procedures, which he’s shown, then we’ll live with some things.”
Jones also mentioned that having players like Justin Bethel and Calais Campbell on the defensive side of special teams will only make his job easier.
“The biggest thing guys like that afford you is you don’t have to scheme, you don’t have to go to the drawing board and say here’s the scheme of the week. It’s line up and get after the ball,” Jones said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with those guys because the quick get off affords us a larger lineup of sick ’em and go get ‘em.
“I’m looking forward to being able to get it going out here and continue the success that they’ve had.”