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Cardinals getting great play in punt coverage

The Arizona Cardinals' punting unit has become a strength in 2012, ranking ninth in net yards per kick and edging close to the league record for kicks downed inside the 20-yard-line.


The struggles of the Arizona Cardinals offense has made winning the field position battle even more important. Arizona has seen the punting unit become one of the strongest in the league, keeping the stout defense in advantageous positions even when the offense isn't firing.

In a piece for team's website, Darren Urban credits the play of outside punt coverage gunners Michael Adams and Justin Bethel as well as formerly-injured punter Dave Zastudil.

"It's to the point, we don't have to talk. We know he's going to give us a good kick," Bethel said in the piece. "And even if he doesn't kick it as good as he wants, regardless of what happens, we will get down there and make a play and it will all work out."

For the season, Zastudil and the Cardinals have been one of the most effective punting units in the league, ranking ninth in the NFL at 41.2 net yards per kick. Thirty eight of Zastudil's kicks have been downed inside the 20, just four shy of the NFL single-season record.

In Week 15 against Detroit, six of Zastudil's punts ended up inside the 20-yard-line and one muff was recovered to set up a Cardinals touchdown.

The Cardinals host the Chicago Bears on Sunday at 2:25 p.m. MT.