Darren Urban of the Cardinals website reports that free safety Rashad Johnson sprained his MCL and ankle while breaking up a pass in Monday’s practice and isn’t likely to be in the lineup against Dallas as a result. That would mean Mathieu moves from the second team to the first team as the starting free safety.
“It just gives me an opportunity to go help my team,” Mathieu said. “Of course I wish Rashad a speedy recovery because he was one of those guys who showed me the ropes from a safety standpoint. But it gives me the opportunity to go out there and be there for my teammates.”
One good preseason outing doesn’t win you a starting job, especially when Johnson signed a three-year extension with Arizona this offseason. Mathieu flashed the kind of talent in college that makes it impossible to rule out a longer lasting move up the depth chart at some point this season, however, and Saturday will be the team’s first chance to see how Mathieu handles life in the starting lineup.