Kicker Neil Rackers is five field goals from tying the NFL record of 39 in a season, but he continues to insist it isn’t weighing on his mind.
"If I get all PATs (point after touchdowns) the rest of the season, I’ll be happy with that," Rackers said. "Whatever happens, happens. If it doesn’t happen, we have something to shoot for in future years."
Cardinals coach Dennis Green noted that Rackers could already be closer to the mark had the Cards not practiced good sportsmanship. In one case, Rackers almost certainly would have kicked a seventh field goal in the game in Mexico City, but Arizona had a big lead at the end of the game.
"I have said all along it’d be something nice to have somewhere down the road, but right now, we’re here to win football games," Rackers said.
Someone mentioned to Rackers the three field goals replacement Nick Novak kicked in San Francisco — the game Rackers missed with his calf injury, which would have put Rackers on the precipice of the record.
"Those," Rackers said, "I have thought about."
Houston Texans rookie Jerome Mathis was the fastest player ever timed at the NFL scouting combine (a 4.26 40-yard dash), averages 30.8 yards a kickoff return and already has two touchdown returns this season.
Now Mathis gets a chance to go against a struggling Cardinals special-teams unit that has allowed three touchdown returns this season, including two in the past three weeks.
Some of the problems stem directly from the Cards’ myriad injuries, which have caused a constant churning of the roster — and a constant change in the special-teams lineups.
"Special teams is a part of the game that can be overlooked until you start making a lot of mistakes," fullback and veteran special-teamer Obafemi Ayanbadejo said. "There are a lot of guys who never played special teams before. You get yourself in a bind, you have to learn on the run, and that can be a painful lesson at times."
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (ankle) was upgraded to questionable Thursday, but, Green said, "I don’t know if he is any more closer to playing." Linebacker Karlos Dansby (toe) remains doubtful, while cornerback Eric Green (groin) was downgraded to doubtful and will not play Sunday. . . . Cornerback Antrel Rolle said he agreed with the decision to limit his plays last week after missing more than two months with a knee injury, but "now it’s time for me to go full go."
Rolle should start Sunday opposite David Macklin.
"I feel it’s my duty to prove myself like I did before," Rolle said.