Jay Feely: Have patience with Cardinals K Zane Gonzalez
Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has missed some notable kicks that could have swung games in his team’s favor this season.
The most recent being one of the deciding factors in the Cardinals’ 20-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
But while many have rushed to judgment on the kicker since missing the potential game-winning 45-yarder wide right, former Cardinals kicker and CBS NFL analyst Jay Feely says pump the brakes.
“I still think Zane has a tremendous amount of ability. I think he has more ability and his best kicks are better than anything I ever hit,” Feely told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Monday. “I know he’s struggled, especially in big moments here this year. I would just caution, you have to make those kicks, he knows he has to make those kicks, but who are you going to replace him with?
“Who are you going to get? Do you think that there’s somebody you can just step out and bring in right now that’s going to fix that position? No. You would be going out and getting somebody who’s young and inexperienced going into critical games where you have to make kicks.”
This season, Gonzalez has successfully converted 16 of his 21 field goal tries (76.2%). He’s missed just one of his 35 extra points (97.1%).
His numbers are down from last season when he made 88.6% (31-35) of his field goal attempts.
Three of his misses this season, however, came in the last five games. The Cardinals lost three of those contests, with two decided by a field goal.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on the kicker altogether, says Feely. If anything, the team needs to rally behind the four-year pro.
“To me, I think the prudent move right now is continue to focus and help him be the best that he can be,” Feely said. “I think his ceiling is still really high. I know Cardinals fans are frustrated right now that he’s missed those kicks, a couple of game winners.
“Sometimes you can get in those situations and kinda guide them. I think that’s why he was short on the one and I think he just needs to be aggressive. Doesn’t mean you’re hitting it as hard as you can. I would have a little patience there.”