Chandler Catanzaro enjoying the “ride” with Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. — Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro continues to knock the ball through the uprights.
Catanzaro only hit one field goal against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, but it was a pretty big one – a 41-yarder which sealed Arizona’s 24-13 win at O.co Coliseum.
With that kick, Catanzaro tied Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein for the most consecutive field goals made by a rookie kicker to start a season .
Catanzaro is hoping to get a chance to break the record on Sunday, when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Catanzaro said. “It’s been a whirlwind the past couple months. It’s pretty amazing what God’s doing through me right now.”
“It makes it easy when [long snapper] Mike Leach, [punter] Drew Butler and the guys up front blocking for me are doing their job. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Catanzaro knew success and favor was with him when he was kicking at Clemson.
“I told [head] coach [Dabo] Swinney, ‘If you give me a shot, I’m gonna break records. I’m not coming to be just another kicker, I’m gonna break records,’” Catanzaro said. “I’ve kind of had the same mentality here, ‘Why not? Why not me?’ Give me a shot, put me out there and let me do my thing.”
“I’m really excited about where I am, and hopefully [I’ll] break this record this weekend and keep breaking more,” Catanzaro said.
Catanzaro’s start at Clemson was pretty inauspicious. In his freshman year, he missed eight out of his 22 field goal attempts. He’d miss seven total in his final three years there, so to say he made a complete 180 would be an understatement.
Catanzaro’s grateful for the struggles he went through that year.
“It’s paying huge dividends, I’m very thankful for that year believe it or not,” Catanzaro said. “I wouldn’t take that back for the world, because it’s made me stronger as a man more importantly as a kicker.”
“It’s made me stronger as a kicker as well, because I’ve learned resiliency, persistence [and] perseverance,” Catanzaro said. “I know I can’t get too high or too low, as a kicker that can kill you.”
“I’m just staying away from that and staying grounded and just continuing to work hard and do my thing,” Catanzaro said.
Head coach Bruce Arians couldn’t be happier for Catanzaro and what’s he’s been able to accomplish in six short games.
“You never expect somebody to come out and kick 15 in a row,” Arians said. “This was a big one for him. He hadn’t gotten much action.”
“It gives him, again, confidence that just seems to be natural for him,” Arians said. “He kicked off extremely well into the wind, and knock on wood, he keeps it up.”
The relationship between Arians and Catanzaro is pretty unusual. Catanzaro hasn’t went to Arians – like he did with Swinney – to give him his “I’m gonna break records” speech. Catanzaro says he rarely gets a chance to speak to Arians.
“I’ve love Coach Arians though, he’s funny,” Catanzaro said. “He’ll just walk by me and say a little joke.”
Catanzaro’s 23-years old and a kicker for an NFL team. He’s experiencing things most 23-year olds will never experience in their entire lifetime.
So how does a youngster like Catanzaro line up each and every time, block everything out and focus on his work?
“I think the key for me is just having a couple [of] swing thoughts, so that my mind’s taken out of it, and I’ll let my body take over,” Catanzaro said. “In practice, I kick over and over again and think of situations in my head that might come up in games.”
“Come game time I’m just thinking, ‘Eyes back on the ball, maybe stay tall,’” Catanzaro said. “I’m grooving it right now, so all I’m thinking is, ‘Trust it,’ and that’s all I say and basically my body takes over and it does what it knows how to do.”
Catanzaro says he’s not a superstitious guy. He just keeps his focus on the “little things.”
“Little things lead to big things, I’ve learned that in my life,” Catanzaro said. “I’m just sticking to that mindset right now.”
“I’ve got to ride this as long as I can. I’d love to keep the streak going,” Catanzaro said.
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