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Kicker Will Be Position Of Discussion For Cardinals

Notes: Fitzgerald timeline unclear; defense needs better situational play

Kicker Zane Gonzalez lines up a field-goal try against the Rams Sunday.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez lines up a field-goal try against the Rams Sunday.

When asked directly, Kliff Kingsbury answered directly.

"Zane is our kicker," the Cardinals coach said Monday during his press conference, when talking about Zane Gonzalez following Gonzalez's missed field-goal attempt Sunday against the Rams.

The Cardinals have made no roster moves. But Kingsbury, about 15 minutes later appearing on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station, also said the position of kicker will be under discussion.

"We'll definitely, when (GM) Steve (Keim) and I get together to discuss personnel, it'll be a topic I'm sure," Kingsbury said. "Once again, we have to make those kicks and we understand that. These teams are too good to not get those points there."

Gonzalez missed a 48-yard field goal right before halftime, points that would've cut the Rams' lead to 14-10. Against the Patriots the week before, Gonzalez missed a 45-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in a tie game. He also missed late-game field goals against the Dolphins and Seahawks.

On the season, Gonzalez has made 16-of-22 field goals after converting 31-of-35 last season. He is 8-of-13 between 40-49 yards.

The Cardinals have carried veteran kicker Mike Nugent on the practice squad all season for COVID protection reasons.

"Zane is mentally tough," Kingsbury said. "That comes with the territory at that position. We've got to be able to make those kicks. We all understand that. He understands that more than anyone."


Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains on the COVID list, and Kingsbury acknowledged he didn't know when that status might change.

"From what I am hearing he is doing better," Kingsbury said. "I'm not sure where it's at with that, but we're hoping to have him back soon."

For an offense that is struggling, Fitzgerald would seem to be a welcome addition both as a piece of the offense and as a veteran anchor in the locker room.

"He's a tremendous leader and presence for us obviously," Kingsbury said. "You know he brings a level of confidence because of what he has accomplished and what he can do on the field."


The offense is the biggest concern for the Cardinals at the moment, but the defense can't break down as the game goes along either.

Kingsbury said the unit got worn down because they spent so much time (almost 23 of 30 minutes in the first half) on the field, but cornerback Patrick Peterson said it had more to do with the execution by the group.

"We've got to make sure we thrive in situational football," Peterson said. "We have to make sure teams don't score before halves. I think they converted two or three third downs in 9-plus (too), those are some of the things that are unacceptable."

The Rams converted a third-and-10 and a third-and-11, the latter of which came to a wide open tight end Gerald Everett to prevent the Cards from having a chance for a game-tying or lead-taking possession. The touchdown the Cards allowed with less than a minute to go before halftime was also the 12th score the Cards have allowed this season in the final two minutes of a half, at least one in all but two games.

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