Arians tells Mathieu: We don’t need a big play every play


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.

36 responses to “Arians tells Mathieu: We don’t need a big play every play

  1. Why does everyone love to hate on this guy?

    He was so freaking good at LSU that it was nearly ridiculous. He’s now having those same flashes in the pros and writers still love to take little shots at him. The ball he missed was about 3 inches from being a pick-six, and it was an awesome break and near perfect play recognition.

    I’m pretty sure that even though Arians had to chew him out a bit, he was secretly saying to himself “we have something special here”.

  2. I don’t know what all of you are talking about, no one said he wasn’t going to be an amazing player. Literally every team thought he was going to be a beast, the reason they didn’t draft him was because he was a huge off the field risk.

    Stop acting like he’s defying doubters about being a playmaker.

  3. He was about to make an interception, but then he got high

    He was about to make a tackle, but then he got high

    His paychecks are half as much, and i know why

    cuz he got high cuz he got high cuz he got high

  4. I will admit this much. I was wrong in my criticism of Mathieu when he was kicked out of LSU. This kid may turn out to be solid.

    Having said that, a big “thank you” may be due to Patrick Peterson for turning Mathieu around. Peterson appears to have done what no one at LSU seemed capable or willing to do: keep Mathieu out of trouble.

  5. Im nt a Cards fan in the least (theres only about 50 nationwide)…….but I hope the honey badger plays well and keeps his life on a positive upswing.

  6. The play in question was a finger tip(or had he been 5’9″) away from being a pick six. It was that close. Versus making the tackle & being a 3-4 yard gain. Instead it was a catch & run for 16 yards.

    Arians is correct in trying to get through to Mathieu that the simple plays are often the correct ones.

  7. Troy Polamalu has made a career (and wrongly won a DPOY award) making 1 big play then blowing 5 plays. If he only blows 1 for every big play, the Cards should be happy.

  8. and he replied with ” puff puff pass coach, u are messing up the rotation man!!! if u wouldve done that at LSU, it wouldve gotten u jumped!!! yr lucky we’re boys”!!!

  9. The “Honey Badger” will be just fine as long as he listens to his team mates and coaches.

    He needs to be careful to NOT listen to those rebellious voices in his head.

  10. Mathieu is not a big talent. He is an undersized S that is a huge liability in coverage. He is a STs player on most teams, but the lack of depth in AZ is going to allow him to start.

  11. Don’t tell a defensive playmaker NOT to play the ball. This is why you drafted him. You won’t force many turnovers coaching your personnel like that.

    Maybe you should ask the quarterback to check down more.

    Don’t tell me Mathieu was drafted to simply play the receiver.

  12. Anyone with half a brain and an ounce of football acumen, who really wants to be honest with themselves about this guy, knew after looking at his tape at LSU, that he may just as many mistakes as he made big plays. Just as many bonehead moves and assignment blows. as interceptions or big-time returns. It’s not called “hating” on a guy. It’s called understanding Reality, and thinking non-emotionally. Huge upside, but huge bust potential as well. Thus, why he didn’t go on the first day. Not to mention the moronic decisions he made off the field. Here’s to hoping he can put it all together, and become a superstar for the Cardinals.

  13. I disagree with Arians and think that’s the right way to send the wrong message. I mean as his coach it is his job to point those things out. It’s not his job to tell the world as we watched it and telling us how you scolded him shows no respect for Mathieu in my opinion.

  14. “Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called NFC. Little Brucie Paper loved that rascal Puff and taught him things ’bout birds and other teams, and other football stuff…oh”

  15. Have you seen the teams that win Super Bowls and NC’s? Mistake free football and solid play from every position. Matheiu will be picked on with Peterson on the field. I understand what Arians is trying to teach, fundamentals first will create big plays but AZ can’t afford taking chances on what should be a 3 and out turning into 1st downs.

  16. Having a chance to watch him yesterday, I’m impressed with the kid. He has kinks to workout, but I agree he might be a huge steal for the Cards.

  17. roboticambition says:Aug 18, 2013 2:27 PM

    Have you seen the teams that win Super Bowls and NC’s? Mistake free football and solid play from every position.
    Partially correct. I would add in being healthy come playoff time and getting “hot” at the right time. A little luck and a borderline call or two going your way never hurts either.

  18. cinvis:
    I’d be interested in knowing what qualifies you to evaluate Troy Polamalu? What? Evaluating the powerhouse Cardinals doesn’t keep you busy enough?
    I’d say Polamalu’s 6 Pro Bowl appearances, his Defensive Player of the Year award, and his 2 Super Bowl rings while playing on a perennial No. 1-ranked defense speak for themselves and require no help from you.

  19. It would appear that BA is trying to deflect fan attention away from the terrible job done by the quarterback play. This was an ugly win by the Cards and thanks to the defense and special teams it wasn’t total humiliation. I HATE the way BA is so devaluing of his players, making snarky remarks in the media. While there is such a thing as constructive criticism and teaching, it seems totally unprofessional to make examples of these young players who are new and just learning by taking cheap shots and being disrespectful, seemingly to save face. The Cards have a lot of potential but we should be mindful that this is, afterall, preseason, the time for making mistakes along the way and finding their solutions!

  20. Of course he doesn’t have to make every single play but when regular season comes and he makes 2 or so a game AZ will take it. Tyrann will get his and the rest of the Cardinals defense will get there’s. gonna be a good defense watch and see.

  21. Don’t over coach the kid. He plays with instincts and that will provide big plays. Occasionally he will be wrong but if you tell him to play cautious, you may lose the play making ability.

    I saw the play and Harris made a great catch. Mathieu almost had a pick 6.

  22. Well, maybe, but I like it when a guy goes for the big play. He’s a game changer: let him be himself.

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