At LSU, Tyrann Mathieu was one of the best defensive playmakers in college football. The early word on Mathieu as a rookie in Cardinals training camp suggested that he was striving to do the same in the NFL. Which isn’t always what coach Bruce Arians wants.
Mathieu had a team-high seven tackles in Saturday’s preseason game, but Arians said afterward that he had to correct Mathieu after a play he didn’t make: Mathieu tried to get an interception, but the ball got past him, and Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris turned the short pass into a 16-yard gain.
“I said, ‘Hey, if you’re going to go for the pick, you better just make the tackle,’” Arians told the team’s website after the game.
Most of the criticism Mathieu faced heading into this year’s NFL draft was about his off-field activities, but if there was an on-field critique we heard a lot, it was that for every big play Mathieu made, there was another play he missed. The Cardinals’ coaching staff will stay on Mathieu about playing well consistently, and not alternating big plays with blown plays.