Amos Jones begins his fourth season as special teams coordinator with the Cardinals after joining the team on 2/5/13. He is beginning his 10th NFL season in addition to working 21 seasons as a college coach. In his first three years with the Cardinals, Jones helped Justin Bethel earn three consecutive Pro Bowl selections as a special teams player after he led the team in special teams tackles all three seasons. Bethel has also blocked three field goals and was named Special Teams Player of the Week and Special Teams Player of the Month (December) in 2014.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro tied the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals to begin a career (17) and established a new franchise rookie record with 114 points in 2014. Last season he finished third in the NFL with 137 points, which is the second-highest single-season total in franchise history (140, Neil Rackers). He was named Special Teams Player of the Week following Week 14 last season, which marked his third career selection, tied for the most “Special Teams Player of the Week” honors by a kicker in team history (Chris Jacke, Bill Gramatica). Catanzaro also had his first two game-winning kicks in his career last year, a 32-yarder in Week 11 to beat Cincinnati and a season-long 47-yarder in Week 14 in a victory over Minnesota.
In 2013, punter Dave Zastudil tied for the NFL lead with 35 punts inside the 20-yard line and his 45.7-yard punting average ranked as the third-best single-season total in franchise history. Punter Drew Butler tied for the NFL lead with 34 punts inside the 20-yard line (Donnie Jones) in 2014 and the Cardinals kickoff coverage unit finished fourth in the league with an average opponent drive starting at the 20.6-yard line.
Jones came to Arizona in 2013 after working in Pittsburgh for six seasons, the first five as assistant special teams coach and then as special teams coach in 2012 after he was promoted before the beginning of the season. In 2012, kicker Shaun Suisham was 28 of 31 on field goals, and kick returner Chris Rainey had 1,035 kickoff return yards, the third-most in a season in team history.
Jones was instrumental in the development of Antonio Brown, who in 2011 set a franchise record with 2,048 all-purpose yards, with 1,062 of those yards coming on returns. Brown returned his first career touchdown on a punt return for 60 yards and registered an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown as well. Dating back to 1941, he became one of just three Steelers players with at least one punt return for a touchdown and one kick return for a touchdown in a season. Brown finished the 2011 season with a 27.3-yard average on kickoff returns and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl as a returner.
In 2009, the Steelers were the NFL’s top kickoff return team with a franchise record 1,581 return yards. Stefan Logan had a team record 1,466 kickoff return yards (1,306 yards-Ernie Mills, 1995). The Steelers also had the NFL’s top kick coverage unit during the 2008 season. Anthony Madison led the team with 25 special teams tackles and Patrick Bailey was named the Steelers Rookie of the Year.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Jones spent three years at Mississippi State as special teams/linebackers coach (2004-05) and outside linebackers coach (2006). Under Jones guidance, three linebackers earned freshman All-SEC recognition and two punters earned all-conference honors. Jones spent the 2003 season at James Madison University as tight ends and special teams coach. Prior to James Madison, Jones coached running backs and special teams for four years (1999-2002) at the University of Cincinnati. At Cincinnati, he helped All-American Jonathan Ruffin earn the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2000. During that same span, punter Adam Wulfeck earned All-Conference USA honors, and Jones coached a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. He helped the Bearcats reach three bowl games (2000-01 Motor City Bowl, 2002 New Orleans Bowl) during his tenure at Cincinnati.
A veteran assistant coach at the high school, collegiate and professional level, Jones worked one season as an assistant coach with British Columbia of the Canadian Football League (1997), helping guide them to a Western Division playoff berth. He also coached linebackers at Tulane University for two seasons (1995-96) after spending the 1992 season at the University of Pittsburgh as kicking game coordinator.
A former player at Alabama (1978-80), Jones played safety and running back under legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant with the Crimson Tide. He got his start in coaching under Bryant at Alabama as a graduate assistant from 1981-82. He then made the second of his two coaching stints with the Crimson Tide as special teams coach in 1990-91 under head coach Gene Stallings. In 1990, Alabama had the nation’s top-rated percentage kicker (Philip Doyle).
Between his two assignments at Alabama, Jones worked under head coach Bruce Arians at Temple University (1983-88). He coached tight ends (1983-85) and the defensive line (1986-88) at Temple while also coordinating the Owls special teams. A graduate of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a minor in History, Jones was a member of the 1978 and ‘79 Tide teams that went 23-1 and earned back-to-back SEC titles, National Championships and Sugar Bowl crowns. Jones later earned his master’s degree in Secondary Education from Alabama. Jones and his wife Stacey, have four children, daughter Samantha and sons Joshua, Nathan and Jeremy.