New kicker Dan Carpenter (left) at practice; Incumbent kicker Jay Feely (right) booting a field goal Wednesday.
Dan Carpenter showed up for his first day of Cardinals' practice and watched.
The veteran kicker, signed by the team Wednesday to a one-year contract to compete with incumbent Jay Feely, admitted his life has been "a little bit of a tornado" of late, having been released by the Dolphins a week ago, having his first child Monday, and then coming to Arizona.
"They didn't want me to hop off a five-hour plane ride and have to come out and kick," Carpenter said afterward.
Feely took care of that, perfectly drilling field goals of 34, 39, 44 and 55 yards (along with a fake field goal pass and a pooch punt) in the first salvo of the kicker battle.
"I've been around long enough to know the job of management is always to get better," Feely said earlier in the day. "To try
to find someone who is better on the roster and your job as a player is to prove to them you are the best option."
How this competition will play out is an unknown for now. The move was made after coach Bruce Arians met with the media, although he did release a statement through the team after the Carpenter signing was announced.
"Healthy competition only makes us better," Arians said. "We've been consistent that whenever there's the potential to make our football team better we're going to explore that opportunity."
It's not the first time either have gone through competition, and it's not even the first time the two have competed against each other. In 2008, when Carpenter was an undrafted rookie out of Montana, he won the Dolphins job from the incumbent veteran – who happened to be Feely.
The scenario plays out again now for Feely, 37, and Carpenter, 27.
"It's kind of a little déjà vu," Carpenter said. "I feel a little like a rookie again, not knowing a lot of the guys. I do know a few more faces than I did six years ago. (Jay) is a great guy, a great competitor, and obviously a great kicker. He's been in this league many, many years, more than I have. It'll be fun."
Feely missed a pair of field goals in the first two preseason games. Monday, Arians, asked for his assessment of Feely's performance thus far, had an extended pause before saying, "Solid until he missed that short one (against Dallas)."
"We spoke to each other about that," Arians added. "Unacceptable."
Feely added he had a recent conversation with Arians and was comfortable with the discussion. He did not reveal details.
Feely kicked four field goals against the Cowboys in Saturday's preseason game, including a 53-yarder. But his one miss was from 30 yards, saying he should have taken a delay of game penalty to make sure he didn't rush the kick.
"I am proud of my performance over the last four years," Feely said, noting that he was third in the NFL in field-goal makes over 47 yards the last four years, fifth in percentage at that distance and fifth in percentage from less than 47 yards. "I am happy with how I have performed the last few years and happy with my training camp so far."
Feely is set to make $1.5 million this season. Carpenter's terms were not released, although he had been set to make more than $2.6 million in Miami before he was cut. The Dolphins had spent a fifth-round draft pick on a kicker, Caleb Sturgis.
Carpenter said he had a multiple offers from teams – he would not be specific – all of them telling him they could provide good opportunities for him to kick.
"When it came down to it, for myself, the opportunity, a place to play, my family, this is what it all came down to," Carpenter said, adding that kicking indoors "is not a negative thing."
Carpenter has made 82 percent of his field-goal tries in his five-year NFL career. Last season, he converted 22 of 27 field goals for the Dolphins and all 26 extra points, with 30 touchbacks among 65 kickoffs. Feely was 25-of-28 on field goals last season (89 percent), making all 25 extra points. He had 29 touchbacks among 63 kickoffs.
"I've had competition my whole career and there's competition whether someone is here or not," Feely said. "You are always competing against every other kicker in camp and even guys who aren't in camp. I've been there myself. This doesn't change anything for me. I'm comfortable with what coach Arians told me and I will keep competing. I am happy with where I am at right now and progressing to get ready for St. Louis."
EXTRA POINT: The Cardinals also released wide receivers Robert Gill and Robby Toma.