Justin Bethel “has to decide”

Posted by Darren Urban on September 13, 2016 – 7:58 am

Justin Bethel had said this summer he played with a small stress fracture in his foot. He was fine. He rested up on it, and then got back to working out early in the offseason. That’s when it gave out, when Bethel had to have surgery, and left him where he is now. The veteran cornerback and Pro Bowl special teamer was supposed to earn the cornerback job opposite Patrick Peterson. The foot derailed that plan.

Now, Bethel is trying to play with his sore foot, and after 22 special teams snaps against the Patriots (none on defense), coach Bruce Arians didn’t think that went all that well either.

“Justin has to decide that he’s going to play with that foot,” Arians said. “He was just an average spectator on special teams (Sunday night). He missed two tackles. If he’s going to play, he needs to play better. Or he shouldn’t play.”

The Cards need Bethel. Even if he can’t go at cornerback — meaning rookie Brandon Williams will stay in and take his lumps, unless newcomer Marcus Cooper gets in the mix — Bethel is a decorated special teamer on a special teams unit that did not play well in the opener. When Bethel is right, he can change the game in transition. It’s a situation to watch as the season plays out, since, as Arians has noted, Bethel likely will have to play with the foot issue all year.


Posted in Blog | 47 Comments »

47 Responses to “Justin Bethel “has to decide””

  1. By texascard on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Arians needs to decide if he is going to manage the clock properly.

  2. By aliens on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    special teams is meehh.

  3. By TLT fka DTL on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    We lost mostly b/c Belichick out prepared us. He exploited our weakness at DB. Bethel hurt, Mathieu not ready, B Williams not ready, Cooper not ready, Marquis inactive, Branch new, So we played more zone and blow some coverages, play off, allow the 5 yard passes, miss tackles; they 3 step and exploit it all night. Strategic error as coach noted. They’ll get it fixed, or we’ll get smoked a lot on D. Disappointed they didn’t adjust at half. So, lets see after “one more week”. Noticed Hartfield signing. But NE exposed we may need some quick, little CBs who can cover scatbacks?

    Belichick shot at our guys for talking SB well deserved, he may have done us a favor by pointing out the lack of humility. Rubbed our nose in it.

  4. By Eric G on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Arians and Keim need to decide which of the following they are going to bring in and sign:

    Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Brandon Browner, Josh Gordy or Josh Wilson.

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Marcus Cooper has to be a better option than Williams.
    If not, how is he on the team?

    Heard Arians blast the receivers saying only Larry and Jaron Brown came to play. The others didn’t help out Palmer at all. Jaron has earned time on the field.

    Not a ringing endorcement on John Brown , Michael Floyd and JJ Nelson.

    I’ll say it again,like all offseason, give the bills a call about Stephon Gilmore, who is a FA in 2017 and stopped contract talks with Bills. Maybe Tyrod Taylor could use a Michael Floyd. Maybe the Chargers, after losing Keenen Allen might part with a CB, I’m sure someone out there might part ways with a CB for Floyd. The giants have stock piled CBs, they dont need a receiver, but maybe a draft pick? Maybe a 3 way trade with chargers, giants cards. Try something.

    I want to see those two CBs lock down outside and HB on the slot and then get up on the line and go get the QB.
    That zone as BA put it, was to protect Williams and HB, just isn’t what cardinal football has been about the last 5 years. The players are built for man coverage and because 1 guy cant do his job, the whole defense is changed to protect him. Uhg.

    And if HB isn’t ready, sit him too. No one wants to see the Badger at 75%. This guy is too good to be out there before he is ready. Badger looked like an average Joe. Badger and average should never be in the same sentence.

  6. By Marlin on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    signed Bethel to the big extension….. end of this year he’ll either be traded or cut. can’t pay a guy $5M to be a special teamer only.

  7. By Tradersbrain on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Sounds like Arians is pushing Bethel to be something more than mediocre. While he is at it, please call out the entire defense. Why can’t I remember the last time this team under this def coordinator has had a good game.

  8. By Darren Urban on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Tradersbrain —

    RE: Defense

    It really wasn’t that long ago. Dominated the Packers in the next-to-last game of the regular season last year. And save for the Hail Mary, played very well against Packers in playoffs.

    But hyperbole tends to rule about now.

  9. By Dominik on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    I really love Tony. Please extend him!

  10. By TLT on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Not down on Cards. But can’t sugar coat a bad loss with failures in every phase. I don’t doubt Cards will climb this mountain.

  11. By joe holst on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    The Bucs are in trouble this weekend as a sleeping giant has been awaken

  12. By smack28 on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    There will be no Super Bowl this year if Keim and Arians continue to think that Special Teams are not important to the success of the team. Every aspect of Special Teams is questionable – Kicker, Punter, Long Snapper, Kick Off Returner, and Punt Returner. Spend a little more money and secure these positions now if the goal is the win the Super Bowl. If they continue to choose to ignore it, it will be a long season ending in disappointment like this past Sunday night.

  13. By Tradersbrain on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    I think we can agree that the Cardinals “dominated” a Packer’s team that was missing 3 of its 5 starting offensive linemen. In the playoffs GB was very successful against our defense. Carolina and now NE with a first-time starting QB were also successful, especially at pivotal moments of the game, and against a Cardinal defense with so much talent.

  14. By John the Draft guy on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    Come on now. This isn’t the same defense. Arians said it himself. They were playing zone with a safety on top to protect Williams.
    Badger isn’t 100%. We don’t have a true CB on the slot because Badger played a lot of centerfield and Branch isn’t a true CB.
    That is not the same defense. It just isn’t. Thus the complaints.

  15. By Darren Urban on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Complaints

    I never said you couldn’t complain. There are a ton of posts on here complaining, and I haven’t said a word.

    What he said was, “I can’t remember the last time this defense had a good game.”

    Now, you can argue the defense is different this year. But in his context, given they have played all of one game this season, I’ll say “come on now” to you. It’s hyperbole.

  16. By mitchaz on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    I am with you 100%. BA said that they have been preparing for the Patriots “since May.” Which is quite curious because you CANNOT zone the Patriots’ passing game. The Seahawks’ zone, arguably the best in the NFL, could not stop the Pats’ short to intermediate passing game at U of P in Super Bowl 49.

    The second we saw Julian Edelman running free and wide open routes versus the Cardinals, anyone who knows and understands the Patriots knows that the Cardinals just made it simple and easy for a QB in his first start.

    The blown zone assignment by Brandon Williams told us that even on the Pats’ first drive they were rolling into zones. That TD was a gift and it set the tone for the night.

    Then, with the game on the line later, on 3rd and 15, JG shuffles to his left and finds a wide-open Danny Amendola in the middle of 3 Cardinals who clearly did not understand zone concepts. The underneath defender, D.J. Swearinger has to hedge to the deepest receiver in his zone and he just stood there frozen. Then the FS and CB hadn’t communicated as Amendola ran through the hash mark, thus leaving him wide open. the FS has to cover him until the CB can help.

    What’s even more upsetting is how burned the Cardinals were in their zones versus the Panthers—something they either forgot or did not diligently bother to correct.

    BA is calling out players—but, he even admitted it was his call to switch to zone—and that in itself deserves the greatest amount of scrutiny.

    Plus, why were the coaches loath to put Patrick Peterson on Edelman? Still cannot believe they made it so easy for Edelman, Garoppolo and the rest of the Pats’ offense.

    In conclusion—-as bad as it was—there were no half-time adjustments. Once again Bettcher’s (with BA telling him what to do) defense gives up a length of the field TD drive to start the second half. At least with Todd Bowles, the defense made adjustment and came out swinging in the 2nd half.

  17. By Scott H on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Well, if a player is limited, he’s limited. Period. In the case of Bethel, how is he not going to be able to contribute as a CB but he’ll be fine on ST’s?? I hear the “When Bethel is right, he can change the game” part but if I’m reading this correctly, it doesn’t sound like he is going to be “right” this season, so….what are we really expecting here??

  18. By Eazy E on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Bethel is maybe the best special teamer in the league that isn’t a kicker, but he should have had Brandon Williams beat out before the foot surgery and other injuries! You can’t overreact though to one week and especially week 1! Jimmy Garoppalo is the best QB and New England should decide on Brady in the next year, The Cardinals are disappointments, The Panthers couldn’t beat Denver, etc. Simply a bunch of nonsense!!!

  19. By John The draft guy on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say the defense had to play a lot of zone because (as Arians says), we had to protect Williams and Badger. That is truth.

    I don’t think it is an exaggeration to conclude that the zone defense was not effective in the game. All you have to do is look at the stats on 3rd down.

    I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say Williams is clearly over his head at this point.

    I don’t think it is an exaggeration to conclude that, if the cards do not fix this issue, they may still win games, but are not beating the very good teams, which you have to do to win a Super Bowl.

    I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say I have been saying this for the last 4 weeks. I’ve said to trade Floyd back in July, so it is not a knee jerk reaction. Btw, the cards signed two CBs to the practice squad. Keim knows CB is an issue. But he should have known 2-3 months ago. Now short of a trade, what can you do? Wait for Keenen Lewis’ hip to get better.

    This team is not doomed. There is too much talent to say they won’t contend for the NFC West. I can’t see, even though the bucs are an up and coming team, how the cards will lose two games in a row at home. They will win and everyone will say , “see, nothing to worry about”. But to win it all, special teams and CB has to be fixed and the fans on this board know that.

  20. By Darren Urban on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Exaggeration

    Again, I have no idea what you think I am arguing about.

    Tradersbrain said he couldn’t remember the last time the defense played well, implying that it had been forever. I answered, including that his answer was hyperbole. You took issue with that, and I don’t understand why. I wasn’t wrong.

    That has zero to do with all these other things you are saying. Zero.

  21. By Joe on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Both Bethel and Okafor are good players when healthy.But if they are not,then they need to go to IR and it shouldn’t be up to the players.Okafor decided to keep playing with a torn tendon and now Bethel has to decide? Shouldn’t be up to the medical staff?

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Joe —

    RE: Bethel deciding

    I don’t think it’s one of those decisions.

  23. By aschatte on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    When a team team loses 2 Experienced CB’s like Powers and Johnson, this was bound to happen. Now we are trying to play catch up at the CB position. Bethel seems completely out of touch (injuries,form) but the overall defense was atrocious. What worries me is we lost against a half baked Patriots side, it isnt time to panic yet but we keep on playing like this, we dont stand a chance against any team. The team just feels out of place since the Seahawks game from last year. We need to get that mojo back!

  24. By dkerry5242 on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Let’s be realistic. At this point Williams is not a first team cornerback. Bethel was weak as a starting cornerback even when he was healthy . If we can’t shore up that position soon this will be a very long season and the natives will be restless.

  25. By Pitt on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    In my opinion, this falls on the general manager and the coaching staff. I’ve been saying this since last year, BA is too stubborn to make any adjustments which leads to exactly what happened on Sunday night.
    Instead of calling out players BA needs to call himself and that horrible defensive coordinator we have and figure what they need to change to help out the players be better.

  26. By Mikey C on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Everyone needs to C-H-I-L-L! One game and everyone is freaking out and complaining about BA and SK. These two built this team into a perennial contender! Stuff like this happens every year during week one in the NFL. I remember the Cards upsetting the Pats in NE in week 2, some years back. Cards finished 5-11 and Pats rolled to another division title! Last year Week 1 Niners whip the Vikings on MNF. Niners finished 5-11 and Vikes won the NFC North. Sunday night was an ugly game no doubt, I am just as disappointed as many of you are. Just remember, there is a lot of football left so C-H-I-L-L. I have total faith in BA and SK to get things right!

  27. By georgiebird on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Belichick is a surgeon and he had ample time to dissect the Cards defense-and he did a great job. Now the Cards go 180 degrees in facing Tampa. Offensively, the Bucs probably have more talent than the Pats at every position- but the Bucs don’t have the Surgeon.
    It will be interesting to see how a more talented but less disciplined team does against our defense.
    And it will be very interesting to see how a middle of the road team like Miami does at the Pats.
    I feel that by this Sunday night, we will have a good idea how far this Cardinals’ team will go.

  28. By georgiebird on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t see a lot of “new” talent on our defense and their is a lot of blame to go around. But before we move on to the Tampa game. Isn’t it true :
    WE SHOULD WIN EVERY HOME GAME WHERE THE DEFENSE GIVES UP 23 POINTS. C’mon Offense, it’s time to start taking over the game.

  29. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply


    Sorry, I saw this line you wrote ” But hyperbole tends to rule about now.”. I figured you were talking about all the fans comments.

  30. By Darren Urban on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Comments

    I was not.

    Although I do want to point out, you do not see all the comments that I see on all my platforms. I think if you were in my shoes, you’d have a different perspective.

  31. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 13, 2016 | Reply

    Mikey C,

    Every team will have bad games. Winning all the games is next to impossible. The cowboys lost the first two games of the season a while back and then went on to win the Super Bowl.

    The loss isn’t the issue. It isn’t about them playing a bad game. It’s about the fact that they made a huge mistake by relying on a 3rd round rookie CB who only has played CB for 1 year ever. By doing this, they have a huge hole that is not getting fixed.

    So, according to Arians, they had to change their defense to protect Williams from getting toasted. By changing their defense, they allowed a QB in his first start behind a makeshift oline complete 72% of his passes and convert 10 of 16 3rd downs.

    So, the worry isn’t over one game. That happens. It is over the fact that they have a hole that will be exploited. When you think of the #2 receivers that will line up against Williams, starting with Vincent Jackson, a 6’5″ receiver who can stretch the field, there might be reason to start worrying.

  32. By Austen on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    Regarding the Williams experiment, obviously he has a short leash. We still have the rest of the season to go but this was Jimmy G that we were talking about. If he did that to BW, imagine what a veteran QB is going to do (Rodgers, Wilson, Newton, Brees). This game will determine a lot about how they will continue to use Brandon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got beat badly again, they will quickly insert Marcus Cooper. We will see.

  33. By B.J. Rassam on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    Sunday showed once again that special teams are significant to wins and losses – Bethel is just one piece of that overarching fact. Clearly having him at full strength and playing as many snaps as possible would be ideal, but at some point the coaching staff has to make the best decision for the team.

  34. By Marcelof on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    Mikey C –

    you’ve said it all. The point is everyone is concerned once it was a must-win game taking into account Pats were supposedly limited on offense and that’s where they stood out the most.

    I’m with you, we’ll get there, not in a 14-2 campaign.. but we’ll get there.

  35. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    For fans out of town,

    Arians was asked “How did Nkemdichi do in the game?”

    Arians answered , “Poor” he then added, “he jumped off sides when the offense wasn’t even set on a third down, other than that, he was a non factor.

    He ended with no tackles, no QB pressures, only an off sides penalty.

    Arians blasted the receivers other than Fitz and Jaron, and blasted Bethel as Darren addressed. He gave Palmer an “A” and said receivers didn’t help him. Not running correct routes. He also said he gave the ball too much to DJ and wants to give the ball to him a little less.

  36. By TucsonTim on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    Mikey –

    All do respect, but this isn’t about just one game.

    As I said before, this was about how you respond to an embarrassing NFC championship loss.

    It’s about how you open the season at home. That’s part of building a loyal fan base. Did you notice how many NE jerseys there were. Better than the old Sun Devil stadium days, but still sad.

    We had a pathetic pass rush last year, but got away with it because of the “No Fly Zone” Well, that is gone and we now have a wide open air space.

    This is actually 4 bad performances in a row. Not including the pre-season which showed everyone how vulnerable we are at CB and our starting offense never got in sync.

    And lastly, our “All or Nothing” movie stars, esp BA, set expectations at a super bowl ring…not just a super bowl appearance.

    For being so totally unprepared and embarrassed by the second team NE offense, the Cardinals deserve every bit of ire they are receiving from the fans and the media.

  37. By clssylssy on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y…Fans have been fed the hype that this is our SB year, bought into it, and now find the product to be defective and not as advertised.
    Two trips to the playoffs does not a “perennial contender” make! Green Bay, New England, Seattle, Pittsburg, are Perennial Contenders with the rings to prove it. We are greatly improved and growing in the past decade but haven’t made it yet.
    Believe it or not, all the “hyperbole” is a positive thing because it shows we have fans who are passionate about this team and actually expect to win, which is a far cry from when I first came to Arizona and couldn’t even get anyone to go to a game if I paid for everything!
    These problems aren’t new; Steve Keim says his job is to put a quality product on the field that will give us the best opportunity for winning and our fans have believed in him to do just that. The handwriting was on the wall and we are past GO. Now, FIX IT!

  38. By Scott H on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    I applaud Darren and anyone else for rightly pointing out that this isn’t about one loss ( although the one loss WAS a very bad loss ) just as it wasn’t about people having concerns during the pre-season when the games didn’t even count. It is / was about HOW THE TEAM IS PLAYING. And right now, this team seems to have a virus that has been sticking around since the end of last season.

    Now, if this doesn’t turn around quickly and losses start to accumulate, then the losses absolutely WILL be a problem. We all know that.

    I am nervous as hell about Sunday against Tampa Bay. I think one of these two outcomes seem lost likely – we will continue to be affected by the virus and lose another game ( at home ) that we shouldn’t have…..OR, the offense will explode, the defense will bounce back and we will open a can of major league whup-ass on the Buccs.

    And right now, I give either outcome a 50-50 shot. I shouldn’t be feeling that way about a home game against the Buccs. The confidence level should be much higher. The reason it isn’t is because of how the team is playing. They now have to earn that confidence back from me.

  39. By richard s on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    I only got 9 of 16 winners correctly predicted last week. I have to watch Inside the NFL on NFL Network today to see how the pro’s did with their picks. Cards drop to 4th in rating system. This weeks projected winners with the 3 point home field advantage: (1) Seattle by 12 over Rams. (2) Pitt by 6 over Cincy (3) Carolina by 16 over San Fran (4) Az by 16 over Tampa (5) NE by 12 over Mia (6) Kc by 0.28 over Hou (7) Denver by 12 over Indy (8) Minn by 5 over G Bay (9) Buff by 2 over Jets (10) Det by 13 over Tenn (11) Wash by 6 over Dallas (12) Balt by 3 over Clev (13) Giants by 4 over NO (14) Oak by 5 over Atl (15) SD by 7 over Jax (16) Chicago by 1 over Phil

  40. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply


    All your platforms;

    Yes, you are right. I would have lost me cool with many topics years ago. You do a great job holding it together.

    How many more DWash questions?
    Or The constant John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall, (insert name) is the future QB of this team. Why doesn’t Whiz/Graves see it?
    And especially this jerk who is always questioning Keim’s drafts. Yeah, he is usually right, I mean scary right, Like 90% right !! but man he is annoying. 🙂

  41. By Scott H on Sep 14, 2016 | Reply

    Just saw the story about the ex-Seahawk CB we picked up. OK. Given his remarkable history of injuries, let’s hope he can get on the field long enough to see if he can play. Heck, he can’t be any worse. I think it says something that Richard Sherman himself spoke so highly of him when he was with Seattle. And it says something that Seattle drafted this kid as a CB to join what they already have up there. Seems like the injuries never let him get out of the gate. Maybe he can get that 2nd chance here. Sure can’t hurt to try.

  42. By clssylssy on Sep 15, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t know how anyone with serious foot issues/recent surgery/etc. would ever be realistically expected to play at a high level in this league so to expect Bethel to do so, to me, was just really poor planning…kinda like expecting Williams to do the job of another Cromartie or Powers. I’ve had numerous broken feet, and foot surgeries and know they only get worse which makes me somewhat skeptical about our new Corner, who apparently showed great promise but was hobbled to the point of losing out a position on the Seahawk roster. I hope it was just a numbers thing and they needed the roster spot somewhere else.
    If he is as good as it would seem he was at LSU, he could turn out to be a gift and
    might be an answer to part of our problem but still leaves Special Teams. Does Simon play Special Teams too ?
    I feel like BASK are throwing Williams under the bus now and ruining what could be
    a future talent because they didn’t provide the needed veteran depth at a very key position. Nonetheless, I do appreciate the effort to, at last, find a replacement. Now, please get some advisory help for JB!

  43. By Darren Urban on Sep 15, 2016 | Reply

    Clssy (and all) —

    RE: veteran CB help

    This team brought in Chris Culliver and Keenan Lewis to see if they were options to sign. Both were not healthy at this point. They signed Mike Jenkins, who got hurt not once but twice and signed Alan Ball in the interim. They had vets Shaun Prater and Asa Jackson in camp. They traded for Marcus Peters Cooper. They have now claimed Simon.

    This has all happened since Bethel had his setback in the couple weeks before camp.

    I’m not sure why there is this feeling that Keim has ignored the issue.

  44. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 15, 2016 | Reply

    Wait Darren, They traded for first rounder Marcus Peters??? Wow. We now have the best CB tandem in the NFL. 🙂 🙂

  45. By Darren Urban on Sep 15, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Peters

    I keep making that mistake.

  46. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 15, 2016 | Reply


    Too bad the Chiefs didn’t make that mistake.

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