Bruce Arians, Chandler Catanzaro remain confident despite kicker’s struggles

Dec 8, 2014, 1:57 AM | Updated: 2:17 am

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Not long ago Chandler Catanzaro was a revelation, a rookie kicker who made his first 17 field goal attempts as a pro, giving him a share of the NFL record for most consecutive made attempts to begin a career.

He’s made just five of nine attempts since, though, and his pair of misses in Sunday’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs could have proven to be very costly.

The first one was a 36-yard attempt that bounced off the right upright, leaving the score 14-6 Chiefs at the half. The second, a 34-yard attempt with 1:14 left in the game, hit the left upright, keeping the score 17-14, Arizona on top.

Neither miss ended up costing Arizona the win, though the rookie’s struggles led to Cardinals coach Bruce Arians being asked if he’s concerned about his kicker.

“No, no,” the coach said. “He drilled those uprights. He’s been great all year; he hit them great, just hit them right into the post.”

Including Sunday, Catanzaro is has made 22-of-26 field goal attempts as well as all 26 of his extra points.

“I’m definitely appreciative of that,” Catanzaro said of Arians’ support. “Yeah, I mean, I really appreciate that. I’m just going to try to watch film tomorrow and find ways to get better. That’s what I’m focused on right now.”

Catanzaro, who said he hates not being able to come through for his team when called upon, took responsibility for what happened against the Chiefs, saying he felt his preparation and warmups were fine and the kicks felt good. They just weren’t executed properly.

“Those are inexcusable,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep grinding, keep the faith and keep swinging.”

Not every kick is going to split the uprights, and Catanzaro knows that. However, that does not mean he isn’t aiming for perfection, nor does it, in his mind, make misses acceptable.

But though he seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch after his great start, the 23-year-old said his confidence has not waned.

“You just wipe this away; it’s the next kick mentality, like I said at the beginning of the season when I was making them,” he said. “So it’s next shot. Quick turnaround, and I’ll be ready for Thursday.”

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