Dealing Cards: Nowhere Drew Butler would rather play than Arizona
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Cardinals made a roster move Tuesday, bringing back punter Drew Butler while parting with Ryan Quigley.
For Butler, who was waived by the Cardinals on Oct. 4 with an injury settlement, it was a reunion he hoped would happen.
“Those guys put a plan in place and I took their word and just worked hard and followed the process, and I’m glad to be back,” he said.
Butler was originally released after he suffered a calf injury against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, though he also suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener against the New England Patriots.
The Cardinals were happy to bring him back.
“Everything, numbers-wise, was about the same,” head coach Bruce Arians said of re-signing him. “Drew gives us an extra field goal kicker and kickoff guy, just like the way he kicks better.”
In three games this season, he punted 15 times, averaging 40.3 yards per kick with a net average of 33.7 yards. If he had enough punts to be eligible, those numbers would rank him at the bottom of the NFL, though the man he is replacing, Quigley, averaged 41.6 and 37.2 yards, respectively, numbers that do rank last in the league.
Arians, however, is not concerned with Butler’s poor yardage statistics.
“No, because some of it is coverage and some of it is the kick itself,” he said.
The coach also said Butler has been good at putting the ball inside the 20 yard line, and is also adept at directional kicking. Last season, Butler put 22 of 60 punts inside the 20, after doing so on 34 of 79 attempts in 2014.
That, Arians noted, gives the team some flexibility in the punting game. And being healthy, Butler said, should help his overall game.
“Yeah, I think I was healthy for one game this year, and it was against Tampa Bay,” he said. “I really liked how I kicked the ball that game; I think it was showing how I kicked the ball all preseason camp and all training camp.
“I’m ready to pick up that form and keep it hot down the stretch.”
He’s also really looking forward to continuing his career with the Cardinals, who he said told him coming back might be an option but guaranteed nothing. He was brought in for a workout and physical Tuesday, and showed enough to get signed.
That said Butler has been healthy for a couple weeks now, and during the time he was on the market he said other teams did inquire about his services.
“But you make decisions best on what you think can happen and what’s best for your family,” he said. “I love this community; I think our fans are awesome and I think the passion around this football team and what’s inside this locker room and what’s upstairs with the front office and coaching staff is what makes it so special.
“There’s a lot of football left to be played this season, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here.”
The first version of this week’s injury report can be found here, and a look shows an extensive list for both teams. For the Cardinals, Deone Bucannon, Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones, Alex Okafor, Carson Palmer and Corey Peters did not practice, though Jones and Palmer were not injured, Arians said.
As for the players who are dealing with ailments, Arians reaffirmed his confidence that each would be ready to go by Sunday, and is hopeful some will get back on the practice field Thursday.
New digs, loud digs
The Minnesota Vikings moved into U.S. Bank Stadium this season, a shiny new facility that has already earned a reputation.
“Extremely loud,” Arians said of what he’s heard about the noise level. “Louder than Seattle.”
That has to be pretty loud, though how much of a difference that makes in Arizona’s preparation may be negligible.
“Nothing different,” guard Earl Watford said. “It’s an away game. It’s loud there — I’ve heard some people say that it’s probably louder than Seattle. Just the usual, silent count and all that stuff.”
Tackle D.J. Humphries said he will go back to his college days in Florida for an idea of how loud it might be but, like Watford, does not think it will be an issue.
“We’re going to harp on it a lot this week and make sure we’re on our Ps and Qs when it’s time to get in that noise,” he said.
Jaron will be back
The Cardinals reportedly signed receiver Jaron Brown to a one-year extension Wednesday, and though no official announcement has been made by the team, there was no argument from Arians when asked what bringing him back means for the team.
“It gives us good protection,” the coach said. “We love him as a football player. It looks like he’ll be fine health-wise, gives him another year, and he’s earned it. Really happy for him and it’s good for us because he’s a quality special teams player and a really quality receiver.”
Brown caught 11 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown in seven games before tearing his ACL. In his career, he has caught 55 passes for 700 yards and five scores.
“I’m excited,” Palmer said of Brown being back for another year. “Jaron’s a guy you don’t want to lose. What he brings to the team, because he can play special teams, he plays every spot at receiver. He’s physical, he’s got speed, he catches the ball. He catches 50-50 balls really well. Just a very, very well-rounded receiver.”
Originally an undrafted rookie free agent out of Clemson in 2013, Brown has carved out a role as a reliable option for the team. His path to this point, Palmer said, likely plays a role into the kind of player he is.
“Yeah, a chip on his shoulder,” the QB said. “He plays that way. He practices that way. That whole locker room—he’s just one of those guys the whole locker room loves.”
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