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Preseason No Excuse To Chandler Catanzaro

Notes: Kicker takes field goals seriously; Okafor tears biceps; Ellington returns punts


Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 52-yard field goal on Friday but also missed a kick.

SAN DIEGO – The preseason is inconsequential to a lot of people. Not Chandler Catanzaro.

The Cardinals' kicker hit a 52-yard field goal for the team's only points in a 19-3 loss to the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Friday night, but it was the miss beforehand which left him steamed.

Catanzaro was wide left on a 48-yard try in the third quarter, which was his second consecutive miss of the preseason dating back to the opener against the Raiders. The Cardinals showed some confidence in him by not bringing in training camp competition, and Catanzaro doesn't want to let anyone second-guess that choice.

He's now 2-of-4 on field goals over the exhibition slate.

"I missed two, and I don't care if it's preseason or not," Catanzaro said. "It's good that it came in the preseason and it's not affecting our regular season, but either way I want to go out there and produce."

Catanzaro bounced back with the 52-yard hit, which would have been a career-high if it came in a regular season game. He has traditionally been good from inside the 50 throughout his career, but was 0-for-2 last season from over 50. He hopes the make will help boost his chances at long-distance tries in the regular season.

"I'd like to have some shots," Catanzaro said. "I just think I can help the team out more and score some more points from beyond 50. I've been working on my distance kicks. I've got to make everything inside 50 though."

Coach Bruce Arians agreed. He wasn't happy with the halfway success.

"Fifty percent ain't good enough," he said.


Outside linebacker Alex Okafor tore his biceps tendon in practice on Tuesday, Arians said. It's a serious injury and one he's familiar with. Okafor missed the final 13 games of his rookie season in 2013 after having surgery for the same injury.

Okafor – a pending free agent – must decide whether to have surgery once again.

"It's going to be one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made in my life," Okafor said. "Going to take my time with it."

Okafor is third in the outside linebacker rotation but was expected to see regular playing time as the main backup to Chandler Jones and Markus Golden. He led the team in sacks with eight two years ago, but only had two in 2015.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a slight knee sprain and missed the game, but Arians said it isn't anything serious.


Running back Andre Ellington fielded a punt for the first time in his NFL career against the Chargers, returning it for eight yards.

He has a little history with it, returning punts early in his career at Clemson, and it's another option as Arians attempts to maximize Ellington's touches despite a deep backfield. Not surprisingly, Ellington endorsed the move.

"Any time I'm able to get the ball in my hands, I'm at my best," Ellington said. "Whenever there's a play designed for that, I can be me."

Ellington said he's unsure how realistic it is for him to be the punt returner during the regular season. Wide receivers J.J. Nelson and John Brown and cornerback Patrick Peterson are among the other options. Ellington also returned two kickoffs for 45 yards against San Diego.

Images from the Cardinals' second preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego

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