Mathieu done for season — but it happens

Posted by Darren Urban on December 21, 2015 – 3:17 pm

It is unquestionably a harsh reality the Cardinals and Tyrann Mathieu were officially handed Monday, with the news Mathieu had torn his ACL and was done for the year. Mathieu has had a fantastic season. They will miss him on the field. But what struck me is how personal this is, for Bruce Arians and players. This cuts them, because Mathieu is such a great person. This is ground that has been covered many times, but it makes sense why people want to root for this guy. He has a charisma that few have. He is genuine. Add in the fact he can play football, and it resonates. I’m not afraid to say he’s one of my favorite guys to cover in my 16 years around this team.

This is why the news is extra painful.

“Luckily we have the next couple of days off to let this emotionally sink in,” safety Rashad Johnson said. “Not so much not having our guy to play in the playoffs, but our hearts go out to him because of everything he’s been through and how hard he has worked to get back to this point and having the season he’s having.”

As for on the field, the Cardinals have to find a way to make due defensively without Mathieu. You can’t replace the playmaking ability. That’s innate. You do have — assuming no more serious injuries — depth, however. Johnson should be back from his ankle injury. Jerraud Powers plays more slot. Justin Bethel gets on the field. And new safety D.J. Swearinger plays more with Tony Jefferson.

Also part of the equation: This happens. Take a look around the top teams. Almost all have lost at least one significant player, if not for the season, for an extended period of time.

— Seahawks: TE Jimmy Graham, RB Marshawn Lynch, RB Thomas Rawls

— Panthers: WR Kelvin Benjamin

— Steelers: RB Le’Veon Bell

— Packers: WR Jordy Nelson

— Bengals: QB Andy Dalton

— Patriots: WR Julian Edelman, every decent running back they had

— Broncos: LT Ryan Clady, QB Peyton Manning (yes, I understand you can quibble with the Peyton pick.)

The point is it’s the living example of that well-worn quote coaches and some players have been saying for years: “The other team isn’t going to feel sorry for us.” The other teams have their own personnel losses. It’s the business.

Tyrann Mathieu, Nelson Agholor

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Posted in Blog | 37 Comments »

37 Responses to “Mathieu done for season — but it happens”

  1. By Brandon on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Just to add on to your point… The patriots for example have lost Edelman, all their running backs. Two defensive starters: Trey Flowers and Dominque Easlay and Two OL starters in Ryan Wendell and LT Nate soldier.
    They have had it about as bad as the Cards did last year and they are still winning. The Cardinals season is nowhere near done.

  2. By joe holst on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Could have been worse, Carson could have broke his hand, I love Tyrann but it could have been much worse. Arizona 37 GB 30

  3. By Rock on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    50 for 32!

  4. By Steve on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    This unfortunately will impact Tyrann next season as he could very well have to wear the knee brace again and we know how that affected his play in the past, plus he probably wont be at full strength. Football is a cruel business and you just hope he will recover completely from another round of this. Darren whats your two cents on how this could affect Mathieu next season when his contract comes up? Even if he is not 100% next year, I still hope Bidwill rewards him handsomely for his stellar play so far.

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Mathieu

    Every injury is different. Palmer certainly hasn’t been affected this year. Gurley either. I think you wait and see how Ty is. I still think he’s a Cardinal long-term, but to think two ACL tears in three years won’t at least be a thought in talks is probably naive.

  6. By Irv on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren, tough one to swallow, great point about other teams’ losses. What are your thoughts on trying a few snaps with Weatherspoon at ILB and Deone playing Safety?

  7. By Darren Urban on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Irv —

    RE: Deone safety

    I don’t see Buc being moved to safety anytime soon.

  8. By Dr. G. on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Cards Fans – – We know that Tyrann had an OK season in 2014. Whether he had some psychological timidity is not known, but he came in on fire this year. Fact:: he totally trashed his knee in that incident…much more to repair ((double ligaments)) , much more to time to recoup…physically & mentally. In a perfect world, second year is normal for all things to come together. Who was better this year?? I spell Matthieu “”H-E-A-R-T””

    If the report of “”one tear” is accurate, Tyrann can be totally ready for week 1 in 2016. Consider these:: When compared to Palmer ((returned in 8 1/2 months)), he is a better athlete, younger, a bit smaller, similar injury, and serious work ethic for both these men. The doctors will tell him he can have similar or even better results than Palmer, perhaps upgrading the body as Palmer claims. Keep the faith, Cards Fans…. Palmer will be in his corner.

    Darren – – Please up date us if you hear exacting facts regarding this injury and when the surgery will occur….And, for you, posting both around 2:AM and then 8:AM did not give you much time for sleep either…GOOD ON YA!! You need to catch up on your rest this week….later… and Merry Christmas again…

  9. By jimmip on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    I feel so bad for Tyrann. I have been rooting for him since I read an article about him working out here locally with Patrick Peterson before the draft.

    His story was compelling and I hoped someone would give him a chance. I was elated when the Cardinals picked him and like so many in Arizona and elsewhere I shared in the joy of his draft day celebration with his family and friends. He seemed so genuinely grateful and humbled, I was touched by his emotion.

    Knowing he had demons to face, we all held our breath and hoped he wouldn’t let us down.

    Tyrann never did.

    When he was injured against St Louis it was like a collective punch to the gut. It was easy to feel sorry for him because we all knew how much effort he put into every play. I remember waiting impatiently for each installment of “Tenacious.” I was so impressed with this young man’s dedication and resilience. How could anyone not cheer for him, not just as a football player but as a person?

    This year he was reaping the rewards of the work he has put in. Last night when he went down he was making a big play like we all have come to expect. I felt the same feeling of dread and disappointment for him as I would if it happened to one of my own sons.

    When the news came out today it was devastating. The thing that stands out to me is that he walked off that field like a man.

    I can’t help but to feel bad for him but I know he has been tested and steeled and he will overcome this obstacle as he has showed us he can.

    Best wishes Tyrann.

  10. By georgiebird on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Great article. HB is a special player and his football story is an inspiration to all of us. HB will be missed both as a playmaker and a person.
    That aside, the Cardinals’ defense (especially pass defense) has been weak this year. There have been wide open receivers and miscommunication even with HB playing.
    In our final two games of the season, we will face the two best QBs this season in Aaron Rodgers and a revitalized Russell Wilson (much improved from the 1st game).
    All the completed passes in the next two games will be blamed on HB’s absence and that would be a crutch and mostly false. David Johnson is playing because of injuries. We now need another guy to step up much like Golden and Swearinger have.
    We lost a great player but the Cards are still about the healthiest team in the NFL.

  11. By Havasu Tom on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren, Thanks for another fun and sometimes sad year. our families hearts go out to Tyrann. We’re all in pain for what we watched, but we know the tenacity that will help him follow his journey of recovery. We’re able to watch it on AZCARDINALS.COM last time and he knows he can win this newest battle.

    I would like to discuss playoff positioning. If I’ve done my research, the winner of the 4 and 5 seed game plays the #1 seed. The winner of 3 and 6 seed game plays the #2 seed. Assuming were the #2 seed, would it be to our advantage to help Seattle be the #5 and maybe they either soften up Carolina or beat them giving us the NFC title game in Arizona, assume we win our game.
    Just a thought, I would love your opinion. Thanks again Darren.

  12. By Darren Urban on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Havasu —

    RE: Playoffs

    If the Panthers are No. 1 and the Cards are No. 2, then the Panthers will play the lowest remaining after the first round.

    So if the it goes 3. Packers, 4. Redskins, 5. Seahawks and 6. Vikings, then the Panthers plays anyone but Packers, depending on results. If the Vikes upset the Packers in that scenario, then the Cards would host the winner of Seahawks/Redskins.

  13. By Dr. G. on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Just looking at 2016 – – If it is correct, we have New England at home and Carolina away…we’ll see. You know…they don’t want any part of the Cards…later

  14. By CoryM on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    I’m a huge huge fan of the guy. Is it at this point he just makes a career change? I haven’t heard anyone say whether it was the same ACL as last time, but at what point do you get to where you can’t play at the level you play at because it will just keep happening over and over? He will have to rehab for a whole year again then slowly come back then have it happen over and over?

  15. By Darren Urban on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    CoryM —

    RE: Same ACL

    Most of the answers are here:

  16. By Richard S on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    RANK TEAM* RATING Win margin on neutral field Homefield 3 point advantage Won by
    1 SEATTLE(2) 100.63 14.52 17.52
    2 CAROLINA(17) 100.28 13.88 10.88
    3 ARIZ.(13) 99.79 3.29 6.29
    4 KC(10) 99.3 17.1 20.1
    5 NE(5) 99.17 6.92 3.92
    6 PITT(9) 98.79 12.93 9.93
    7 CINCY(14) 97.57 2.6 -0.4
    8 GBAY(1) 96.5 -3.29 -6.29
    9 DENVER(4) 94.97 -2.6 0.4
    10 JETS(24) 92.25 -6.92 -3.92
    11 BUFF(15) 91.59 3.17 6.17
    12 GIANTS(19) 91.54 0.45 -2.55
    13 MINN(23) 91.09 -0.45 2.55
    14 HOUSTON(16) 89.2 7.59 4.59
    15 WASH(28) 89.15 1.09 -1.91
    16 DETROIT(18) 88.55 4.92 7.92
    17 DALLAS(6) 88.42 -3.17 -6.17
    18 PHIL(7) 88.06 -1.09 1.91
    19 OAK(32) 86.74 0.17 3.17
    20 SD(20) 86.57 -0.17 -3.17
    21 ATL(21) 86.4 -13.88 -10.88
    22 RAMS(22) 86.11 -14.52 -17.52
    23 CHICAGO(26) 85.98 0.27 -2.73
    24 JAX(30) 85.91 0.21 -2.79
    25 BALT(8) 85.86 -12.93 -9.93
    26 TAMPA(29) 85.71 -0.27 2.73
    27 NO(12) 85.7 -0.21 2.79
    28 INDY(3) 85.56 0.41 -2.59
    29 MIA(11) 85.15 -0.41 2.59
    30 SANFRAN(25) 83.63 -4.92 -7.92
    31 CLEVELAND(27) 82.2 -17.1 -20.1
    32 TENNESEE(31) 81.61 -7.59 -4.59
    12/16 correct in week 15
    After week 15, 146/224 65.18%
    Initial ESPN power rank in parenthesis after team name.
    Inside the NFL correct picks after wk 14 B. Esiason 128/208,
    Phil Sims 129/208; wk 15 wrong picks Indy,Buff, Jax, NO
    The system above was 134/208 after week 14
    Cards move back to the #3 spot in ratings
    Cardinals wkly. rating 13/12/7/5/5/3/3/3/3/4/2/3/4/3/6/3
    AZ favored to beat G Bay by 6 points

  17. By Steve Santelli on Dec 21, 2015 | Reply

    Darren thanks for pointing out these other teams losses. Some times you feel like why the Cards? We can’t catch a break, but it takes someone to point out other teams misfortunes and you say I guess it could be worse.
    The Badger will be back and ready to go next year. He is in my prayers

  18. By Eazy E on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    I prayed like many for Tyrann and I really feel for the brotha! We had 2 elite safeties this year and the Honey Badger was a legit candidate for Defensive Player of The Year! Ugh this sucks and the thing is you can’t replace him! I’ve like Tony since he went undrafted and came to us and Swearinger I liked in Houston because he will pop you and he can cover fairly well to me also. Enormous loss though…

  19. By Eazy E on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Other teams unfortunately go through it also…

  20. By Corgon on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Actually we’re lucky to not have this caliber of injury until this week. (there is CJ, but still, not the same)
    Of course it’s terrible news and I hope BA and the staff has a plan for it, because the secondary was the base for the whole D strategy and without Ty this isn’t the same pulsing group as it was.
    And which is most important I wish him fast, full recover and health!
    It’s a damn shame.

  21. By Eazy E on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    This isn’t the interception where he got hurt, but man what a last play of the year!!!

  22. By Don Short on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    We (the team) can replace him on the field, but it’s like a family who has lost their little brother, it just seems to hurt more. I’m sure that the other players and coaches know that they can’t let him down, and will step up their game. Don Short

  23. By clssylssy on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Excellent points made by Dr. Gee.

  24. By Marlin on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Is Swearinger a free agent after the season? Do we have any restrictive rights on him? I was very surprised when we picked him up. He is a heck of a player.

  25. By Darren Urban on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Marlin —

    RE: Swearinger

    He will be a restricted free agent.

  26. By Scott H on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Yeah, given how hard we know this kid works / plays and how hard he worked to come back from the last injury…..I am very sad for him. Regardless of what the Cardinals do from here, I know it will be killing him to have to watch from the sidelines.

    Geez, the news of him being done for the season very quickly took the wind out of my sails, even after a big win and taking the West. I know the team has a focus and a goal and they will stay the course. With BA at the helm, they will not stop to lament. I love that about this team. And for whatever motivation they choose to take from losing Matthieu and wanting to keep winning for him…all the better.

    But come Sunday, it has to translate onto the field and they have to get it done for 60 minutes against a very good and very balanced Packers team. Our defense has not exactly been a shut-down defense even WITH Matthieu on the field. Against better teams like Seattle and Cincy, many points were scored against us and our offense countered with as many punches as they needed to get it done. Our offense is capable of doing that as many times as it needs to and if we have to win our games that way, then so be it. That is what we’re built for.

    Remains to be seen how the defense will adjust without Matthieu. I think they will manage. They aren’t going to fall off the map due to the loss of one player. But I believe the best “defense” for Matthieu’s loss will be our offense. And if that is the case, we couldn’t be in better hands than we are with Palmer and his supporting cast.

    Back to work. We achieved a playoff berth. We have taken the West. As BA himself would probably say, that ain’t $#*&. Need to take the next step and clinch the first round bye. Still got a long way to go.

  27. By Cardinal's Chick on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    So unfortunate…with the season the Cardinal’s are having I know all of his heart is/was with closing out the season on the field with his team. To me, he is the heart of the defense because of the tenacity that he plays with. Not to say everyone else doesn’t…but his personality brings it to another level. I believe he recovered from the last injury so well because, in part, he is committed to play with a certain…fearlessness (not sure if that is the right word). I’m going to miss watching him on the field, or better put, all over the field. Perhaps, as much as he is going to miss being there. You can see the dedication the whole team has to one another. I hope that translates to an extra level of effort/drive enough for Tyrann…there is still a lot of football left to play!

  28. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    I’m wondering, do the Cardinals or any other NFL teams have an MRI machine at their facilities? I’m amazed at how a player can be hurt one day and then have an MRI in less than 24 hours. It doesn’t happen that way for the average citizen like you and me.

    I’m guessing that if the Cards don’t have their own MRI, that they must have a special agreement with a local health center to get their guys evaluated ASAP, and that they pay a premium for that kind of service.

    I hope Ty can be with the team on the sidelines during the playoffs or up in a luxury box. I think it would be inspirational for the team provided doing so doesn’t put his recovery in jeopardy.


  29. By Darren Urban on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Ottis —

    RE: MRI

    You are correct, they have a working relationship with a facility.

  30. By Fernando G. on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Tyrann can come back and play just as good or even better than he had this year providing he can get over the psychological hurdle .
    Adrian Peterson who if I’m not mistaken did it 3 times and won an MVP after his 3rd . ( Now tell me that’s not mind over matter ! )
    If people would just realize that sweat is not just salt and waste but is also vitamins and minerals that can’t all be replace with commercial sport drinks and that given all the essential raw materials that your body needs through good supplementation tissues can regain flexibility and elasticity which might help reduce the the severity of some of these injuries .

  31. By krehbieo14 on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    The good news is that our secondary has excellent depth. Adding Swearinger couldn’t have been more timely. Powers resumes in the slot and Rashad comes back from injury to orchestrate the defense. Bethel is now gaining experience as an outside corner. Configurations for blitz schemes will be adjusted. I think the secondary room is in good shape with the leadership of Peterson and Johnson. The loss of the Badger will be used as motivation as the team rallies around Tyrann. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, TM!

  32. By Scott H on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Don Short –

    RE: We can replace him on the field

    Um…depends what you mean by replace. Will they have another player on the field? Yes. Will that person be doing what Matthieu does? NO. Because he is such a unique player, there is no one who CAN do what he does. And that is not a knock against the Cardinals. Fact is, I don’t know that ANYONE has a player who can do what Matthieu does.

    They can’t suddenly change their whole defensive philosophy because of his loss, nor should they, nor will they. But when you lose such a unique player – and there is no straight up replacement for that player – you can only make adjustments that now play to the strengths of the guys who WILL be on the field. That is Bettcher’s job and I am confident he will handle that.

    Our offense can also help by just continuing to do what they do, putting a lot of points on the board. With the way DJ is running recently, we should also be able to slow the game down a bit, pound the ball down the field with more running, and keeping the pressure on the opponent’s defense.

    BTW, is Ellington going to be re-joining us again any time soon??? I like the kid, but….his made-of-glass nature is starting to wear on me. It would be nice to be getting a contribution from him going into the playoffs. I have concerns about DJ being over-used, especially since he has left both of the last 2 games ( albeit temporarily ) with some kind of issue.

    C’mon, Andre….need ya, man.

  33. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Ever notice that popular players who get hurt get all kinds of fan love and support, while less popular players who get hurt are referred to as “injury prone”?

  34. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    @Dr.G…..14 of our 16 2016 opponents have been known since at least July. The “yet to be determined” victims are either Green Bay or Minnesota (winner of NFC North) on the road and probably Washington but could be Philly or NY Giants (winner of NFC East) at home. Next year’s team should be much like this year’s…..built to win. Keep going.

  35. By Dr. G. on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    JBluenose – – Yes, I am aware of the majority of the 2016 schedule: I was just pointing to a couple games that will have a real big * next to them. And, just trying to ease the downer posts for the HB. He’ll be good to go and prove his tenacity.

    Can you believe this team after only a few years worth cheering since they arrived in Tempe? My keys to this current success is Mikey assuming the reins to provide the $$$$, Keim to provide the tools, and BA assembling the staff to use those tools effectively. ((ALL AT THE SAME TIME))

    Having the new stadium in 2006 was really essential moving forward…lots more cash and a new Face for the franchise. And of course Darren to keep the words flowing!!! Really enjoying these days…be well

  36. By Infitzwetrust on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply


    Long time since I’ve last posted so I hope all is well.

    Knowing the length of time you’ve been with the team, do u have an easier job when the cardinals are doing great like the last two seasons, or would you say you have it easier when were bottom dwellers, in your opinion?

    Was always curious about that since it seems as if there’s an equal amount of content you can cover on both sides.

  37. By Darren Urban on Dec 22, 2015 | Reply

    Infitz —

    RE: Coverage

    It’s always easier when they are winning.

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