2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cardinals' Bethel thrives on special teams

    2013-11-13 17:59

(Eds: Updates. )
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - A sixth-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals out of tiny Presbyterian a year ago, Justin Bethel faced an uphill fight to make it in the NFL.

He found his niche on special teams, where he is thriving as one of the league's best.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians has seen a lot of special teams players in his two decades in the NFL.

''I can't think of one that was better,'' Arians said, ''because he can do so many different things - being able to block kicks, especially field goals and extra points, but then to be a gunner, a vice, block on kickoff returns, and all the things that he can do. I've seen individuals do some of those things well, but not the whole package like him.''

Bethel said he knew that if he was to have a chance to play, it would be because of special teams.

''Most definitely,'' he said Wednesday. ''Coming in I knew that that was going to be something I was going to have to excel at while I was still trying to learn another position (cornerback). Obviously, I've been able to do that. It was something I was already comfortable doing.''

In last week's victory over Houston, Bethel blocked Randy Bullock's 40-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. It's a play that turned out to be huge, since Arizona won by three points, 27-24.

It was Bethel's second blocked field goal of the season. He knocked down a 47-yard attempt by David Akers in Arizona's 25-21 victory over Detroit in Week 2.

Bethel comes off the edge and essentially tries to beat the kicker to the ball.

''It's kind of just reaction time,'' he said, ''being able to see the snapper, just reading when he snaps, kind of guessing so you can get off fast, just knowing when to jump for it.''

Bethel's remarkable athletic ability can be seen on YouTube, where a video of him making a 60-inch vertical leap from a flat-footed position has drawn more than a million hits.

Arians marveled at how quickly Bethel can get to a kicker.

''He's got great anticipation and feel when to leave his feet,'' the coach said.

Bethel can be equally devastating, maybe more so, on punts when, even though teams often put two blockers on him, he is in the returner's face virtually as soon as the ball gets there.

He said he enjoys blocking field goals and making big plays on the punt team equally well.

''If you block it, you're automatically taking points off the board and if you block it right you can put points on your board,'' Bethel said, ''and then with a punt, just going out there and making that splash play, making a hit, giving the defense good field position.''

The son of a gospel singer, Bethel was a defensive standout on his Blythewood, S.C., High School team. He went on to Presbyterian (enrollment 1,200) in Clinton, S.C., where he became the school's career leader in tackles and interceptions. He also played drums in the school pep band.

Bethel became the first player from Presbyterian to be drafted in 43 years. His special teams ability was quickly apparent, and he appeared in all 16 games a year ago.

This year, teams are game planning for him.

Some teams attempting a field goal simply tackle him, he said. Regardless of the attention, Bethel still makes his way to the middle of things.

''I'm kind of used to it,'' he said. ''I expect it every game, but I plan on beating it.''

Bethel is continuing to work on playing cornerback. He wants to be a position player and not just a special teams performer, even if he is one of the best.

''He's a Pro Bowl player,'' Arians said. ''If he doesn't get voted in, it's a shame.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Brandon MarshallOct 19 09:08p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall called out QB Jay Cutler in a heated locker room discussion after the team's Week 7 loss against the Miami Dolphins, a source said [ More ]

Peyton ManningOct 19 09:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning has had two offensive drives in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers so far, and both have resulted in touchdown passes. He ties [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 19 07:43p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 27 of 40 pass attempts for 299 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Week 7 game against the New Orleans Saints. [ More ]

Cody LatimerOct 19 07:32p

The Denver Broncos have declared OG Ben Garland, WR Cody Latimer, OT Michael Schofield, DL Mitch Unrein, RB Montee Ball, LB Shaquil Barrett, CB Tony Carter inactive for Week 7.

Chris CulliverOct 19 07:32p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Chris Culliver, DL Cornellius Carradine, SS Jimmie Ward, C Marcus Martin, OG Mike Iupati, LB Patrick Willis, WR Quinton Patton inactive for Week 7.

Calvin JohnsonOct 19 07:22p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) would not give any indication whether he would play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. After the Week 7 game Sunday, Oct. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 19 07:22p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was not benched in the Week 7 game against the New Orleans Saints. Bush only played a handful of snaps in the second [ More ]

Fred JacksonOct 19 07:02p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) will need further tests to determine the severity of the groin injury he suffered in Week 7 against the [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 19 07:02p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) will have surgery Monday, Oct. 20, to repair the broken collarbone he suffered in Week 7 against the Minnesota [ More ]

Bryce BrownOct 19 06:52p

Buffalo Bills RB Bryce Brown was inactive for the seventh time this season in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings. However, with injuries to RBs Fred Jackson (groin) and [ More ]

Anthony DixonOct 19 06:02p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was pressed into duty in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings due to injuries to RBs Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (collarbone). Dixon [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 19 06:02p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins hauled in nine receptions for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jerick McKinnonOct 19 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon carried 19 times for 103 yards in the Week 7 game against the Buffalo Bills, and he had two receptions which resulted in minus-2 yards.

John SullivanOct 19 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings OG Vladimir Ducasse (knee) left the Week 7 game against the Buffalo Bills due to a knee injury, and C John Sullivan (concussion) exited due to a [ More ]

Matt AsiataOct 19 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Matt Asiata carried just six times for 24 yards in Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills, while posting one reception for 13 yards.

Brian OrakpoOct 19 05:13p

Washington Redskins LB Brian Orakpo (pectoral) suffered a right pectoral injury in the Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans. He will have an MRI Monday, Oct. 20.

Brodrick BunkleyOct 19 05:12p

New Orleans Saints NT Brodrick Bunkley (concussion) and DE Glenn Foster (knee) left the Week 7 game due to injury and were unable to return.

Keenan LewisOct 19 05:12p

New Orleans Saints CB Keenan Lewis (hamstring) suffered two cramps and a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of the Week 7 game against the Detroit Lions, head coach [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 19 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) left the Week 7 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a hamstring injury.

Zac StacyOct 19 05:03p

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy did not have any touches in the Week 7 game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams used a combination of RBs Tre Mason, [ More ]

Brandon FlowersOct 19 05:03p

San Diego Chargers CB Brandon Flowers (head) left the Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a head injury, but passed concussion tests and checked back in during the second quarter.

Paul PoslusznyOct 19 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Alan Branch (groin) and LB Paul Posluszny (pectoral) suffered injuries in the team's Week 7 game and will not return.

Philly BrownOct 19 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Philly Brown (concussion) suffered a concussion in Week 7 and will not return to the game.

Brian OrakpoOct 19 03:42p

Washington Redskins LB Brian Orakpo (shoulder) left the game early in Week 7 because of a shoulder injury and is considered questionable to return.

Colt McCoyOct 19 03:32p

Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy entered the team's Week 7 game after QB Kirk Cousins was benched.

C.J. SpillerOct 19 03:02p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) has been initially diagnosed with a broken collarbone.

Tony BergstromOct 19 03:02p

The Oakland Raiders have declared QB Matt McGloin, WR Vincent Brown, OL Khalif Barnes, OG Tony Bergstrom, FB Marcel Reece, CB Keith McGill, DE Justin Tuck inactive for Week 7.

Adam SnyderOct 19 03:02p

The New York Giants have declared WR Corey Washington, OG Adam Snyder, DT Kerry Wynn, OT James Brewer, OT Brandon Mosley, DL Jay Bromley, RB Rashad Jennings inactive for Week 7.

Donnie AveryOct 19 02:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared WR Donnie Avery, SS Eric Berry, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, C Eric Kush, QB Aaron Murray, CB Christopher Owens, DE Damion Square inactive for Week 7.

Manti Te'oOct 19 02:52p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Jeremiah Attaochu, RB Donald Brown, WR Dontrelle Inman, DT Ricardo Mathews, RB Ryan Mathews, LB Manti Te'o, CB Jason Verrett inactive for Week 7.

C.J. SpillerOct 19 02:42p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) is undergoing an X-ray to hopefully rule out a possible broken clavicle.

C.J. SpillerOct 19 02:32p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent shoulder injury in the team's Week 7 game.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group