ACLs, rehab, Mathieu and Ta’amu

Posted by Darren Urban on July 22, 2014 – 3:19 pm

As  camp approaches, some of the Cardinals have begun to leak back into the building, getting in a morning workout. Most of the weight room has been cleared out, with the equipment moved to University of Phoenix Stadium for use at camp, but that didn’t stop guys like Lyle Sendlein, Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker, Sam Acho and Marcus Benard (among others) today.

Also here were the two key rehabbers: safety Tyrann Mathieu and nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu. Both are expected to be on the physically unable to perform list when camp opens. It doesn’t mean their rehab has gone poorly or slow. But the reality is both ripped up their ACLs late in the season and coming back at the beginning of camp not only doesn’t make a lot of sense it’s probably not fair to ask.

The rehab from a torn ACL carries with it a lot of uncertainty. Uncertainty of a timeline, uncertainty of what you can do even when you’re out there doing it on the field. Playing in a game is one thing. But will you be Adrian Peterson, or Robert Griffin III? One-time Cardinals tight end Stephen Spach ripped up his ACL in the Carolina playoff game during the Super Bowl run. He was back on the field six months later, although he said “there is a difference between being able to play and compete and getting to where you feel like it never happened.” It took tight end Jake Ballard a couple years to feel right, although in Ballard’s case, he had other damage besides the ACL.

Ta’amu was hurt almost a month after Mathieu but his injury was only the ACL. Mathieu had other injuries, but his rehab has gone well and he has worried less about what he can do when he plays again and more how quickly he can actually play. Both guys are key pieces to the defense. The one guarantee: The Cardinals will be better when they get back on the field.

— In other news, Mathieu has decided to change agents. It’s not altogether a surprise, since Patrick Peterson — who also had Pat Lawlor as an agent when he came into the league — dropped Lawlor in favor of Joel Segal. What will be interesting to see is if Mathieu, who looks up to Peterson, decides he too will use Segal. Unlike Peterson, Mathieu is going into only his second year of a four-year contract and any new contract is much further down the road. Peterson, of course, is already in (early) talks for a contract extension.

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9 Responses to “ACLs, rehab, Mathieu and Ta’amu”

  1. By jwoodaz on Jul 22, 2014 | Reply

    Best of luck with everyone’s rehab, Ta’amu was a quiet steady force in front line pressure last season and a pleasure to watch in the trenches, his return to play will be awesome! Looking forward to every game this year and the potential this team has going into camp is higher than most previous years. Go Cards!

  2. By Andy Kw on Jul 22, 2014 | Reply

    I wish Ta’amu and Mathieu the best in their returns. Obviously we want them back as soon as they’re available but we cannot rush them. There is a big difference between the returns from injury stars Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III. Adrian Peterson was not rushed to get back. RG3 started 2013 with an brace and he clearly was not himself. I want Tyrann Mathieu and Alameda Ta’amu to take their time rehabilitating and not rush to get back on the field like RG3. Rashad Johnson will do fine in Tyrann’s place so there really is no rush needed. Ta’amu is much harder to replace but Ed Stinson can definitely live up to expectations.

    -I can’t wait until the roster cut down. I look at the roster and I am just dizzy with all of the players.

  3. By clssylssy on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    What a terrible loss for the Cards having these two young men injured at such a critical juncture last season however, we were still able to win some big games which speaks to the completeness of this team. The biggest things they have going for them is their youth, excellent physical shape and the mental toughness to persevere and remain disciplined in their rehab, not always as easy as it sounds. You have provided the fans with periodic updates on the rehab process which has been great and it certainly seems that even Tyrann’s rehab from the ACL and LCL injuries is cause for fans to be hopeful of his return sooner rather than later; while common place these are some really tough surgeries to come back from and I am glad the Cards are taking a cautious approach and would rather be pleasantly surprised by a “good as new” player than disappointed by the lack luster performance of a premature return.
    I get the sense that Tyrann has become very focused on future security for his family (from an interview he did on TV)so don’t really know why his changing agents would be cause for concern with the fans; Patrick Peterson has certainly proved to be a very good role model and friend and some agents are just better than others in representing the interest of the clients and in standing with the NFL.
    Good job to both of these young men for putting in the work of the often frustratingly slow rehab process! It will be great to have you back when you are ready and kudos to the Cardinal coaches and trainers for their encouragement and patience.
    Darren, do you know if Tyrann is going to be doing a segment of American Muscle? I thought I saw that he was, and he appear in some of the promos before the series started. If so, when?

  4. By Darren Urban on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Mathieu/American Muscle

    I don’t know specifics.

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    The Great CB Debate is always interesting. Factors like what defense you have, do you have a great pass rush, and are you willing to go all over the field.

    The guys in the video touched on it perfectly. But the most relevant comment was, Can we have a shut down CB in today’s NFL?

    I think this is where fans get on PP. Some of the great CBs of the past could harass a guy down the field. PP has to follow today’s rules that favor the offense.

    Bottom line, he is going to get beat from time to time in today’s NFL. It is too tough to shut down guys when you can’t touch them after 5 yards and the rules regarding the ball in the air favoring the offense.

    So, is it Revis, Peterson, Haden, or Sherman?
    Heck they all are good. Haden plays for Cleveland and no one sees him. He doesn’t get the respect others get but he is in the conversation. Revis was the best, but hasn’t been the best since the injury and the cover two defense Tampa played didn’t help. Sherman stays outside on one side of the field. Teams usually put a #3 wr out there and work the slot or other side. But Peterson, he covers the Calvin Johnson’s of the world no matter where they go. Slot, left right, short, long. He takes them. Sometimes he gets beat and that angers the fans who think he should never get beat. But for what is asked of him, PP is the top CB in the league.

    I will go a step further and say, since PP is the best, the best #2 CB is Cromartie. That gives us the best tandem in football. We know we can stop the run. So, It really comes down to that #3 guy, like Stevie Johnson in SF and the TE like Vernon Davis. Can we cover them? To be a superbowl type defense, this will be the question this year.

  6. By Brad on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    It’s crazy how far doctors have come to fixing these ACL’s. It used to be that a player would be out almost a year and a half with the possibility of them never playing again. I tip my hat the doctors!!

  7. By br in nc on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    Have to agree with jwoodaz, and im sure many other fanatic Cardinal fans on here, Ta’amu was a pleasant surprise last year, and it turns out a great addition to our D-Line, giving Williams a breather now and then, as well I think he filled in quite admirably when DW tragically lost his father. Ta’amu could very well be “the man” next season if memory serves me this is a contract year for Williams (someone please correct me if I’am wrong on that, I could be thinking of someone else). As far as Tyrann & Ta’amu both being on the PUP to start the year, that is exactly where they need to be, makes no sense to rush them back to early and take the chance on re-injury and losing one or both for this season as well. Im sure when they are ready BA & Company will ease them back in very sparingly (may only see them for a series or two per game, increasing each game as they progress, and return to “football shape”).
    On another note, I will be taking bets that we wont see Tyrann back returning punts or kickoffs EVER again!! I think there are better odds on BA himself returning the punts/kickoffs¡!!!!!!!! Anyone care to place a wager? LOL!

  8. By cardsbaby on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    I hope they all get on the field as soon as possible, but it is unrealistic to think they are going to be the same athlete they were before they went down. Especially Johnathan Cooper. I think he is going to have a lot more recovery time then the others. Tyrann is much lighter and will probably have the most impact out of all the IR personel. Still he is going to take time and won’t be his same old terror till the end of the season. I hope they don’t rush any of them back. Then you are just wasting everyone’s time-AGAIN.

  9. By Cactus jeff on Jul 23, 2014 | Reply

    Early in his rehab it appeared to me his knee was swollen/hot affecting range of motion. Some people will scar down excessively after surgery, I hope Tyrann wasn’t one those patients. If so it really slows down the process and increases the risk for followup procedure. I hope I am wrong but as Darren knows, I hardly ever am (I’M KIDDING).
    The otherCardinal I am worried about is Fitz. The way he does his”jump-ball catches” i constantly see him getting whiplash like landings where the back of his head smacks against the turf. I say this after reading about Sidney Rice retiring at age 27.

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