Arizona Cardinals star free safety Tyrann Mathieu is in a race to get healthy before Week 1, but his status is still up-in-the-air despite some optimism that he won’t miss any games after tearing his ACL in Week 14 last season. Mathieu is a great slot defender or safety due to his coverage and playmaking ability, and he is extremely quick, active, and instinctive. With Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, and Deone Bucannon around him, the Cardinals secondary has the upside to be one of the best in the league. Cro is inconsistent and Buc is a wild card due to his inexperience, but both have impressive tools; Cromartie has shown that he can dominate when he’s “on”, though he was clearly “off” last season.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Josh Weinfuss, Mathieu’s status for the Week 1 Monday Night Football game against the San Diego Chargers lies in his ability to play in this week’s final preseason game. And guess who they are playing? Yup, the Chargers. If Mathieu doesn’t play on Thursday, then he won’t be out there for the opener.
Mathieu gave some clarity by stating, “That first play I get back out there, it’ll tell everything. So, I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to that moment I get tested. I’m looking forward to that time I get in a sticky situation where I have to use my brain. Hopefully, everything goes well with practice. If not, I know coach said he’s not going to play me. Hopefully, everything goes well this week.”
The Cardinals final preseason game will be a critical barometer for Mathieu, who will be able to properly assess how much he has recovered from his major knee injury.