Miles: “I’d bet on” Mathieu

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2013 – 8:27 pm

The Cardinals have a couple of players now that know very well who Tyrann Mathieu is — former and new teammates Patrick Peterson and Kevin Minter. But another man who knows Mathieu pretty well talked Tuesday about how much he believes in the kid: LSU coach Les Miles.

During an interview with Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620, Miles was plain in his Honey Badger backing: “He’s a guy who is really meant to play football,” Miles said, adding, “the key is to make sure he keeps his focus on the things important to him. As long as he doesn’t allow a social life to draw him into things, he’ll be a tremendous player for Arizona for years.”

Miles said that Mathieu actually was very good following team rules and coaching direction. His issues, the coach said, came off the field and away from the team. Miles called Mathieu a “pleaser,” which gets him into trouble when he can’t say no to the wrong people. Now he’s got Peterson and Minter to help him along.

“I think he’ll fall right into those two guys and the opportunity to make great decisions can be made routinely there,” Miles said. “Now it’s time for him to realize his dream.”

Miles also said Peterson wouldn’t have wanted to bring Mathieu in if he was a bad teammate. This much is true, the Cardinals got intel from Peterson while vetting Mathieu and there would have been plenty of chances for Peterson to steer the team away from such a possibility. Miles isn’t naive, of course. “You need to surround him with the right structure and the right style of guys, but like I said, I’d bet on him.”

“They got a guy who sees himself as the biggest, baddest dude on the field,” Miles said. “He anticipates big plays. He’s a team guy. He’ll accept the coaches culture and fit in. He will be a tremendous contributor.”

Now, would I expect Miles to say differently? Perhaps not, although we are talking about a coach who had to be disappointed Mathieu got himself into the bad position and was forced to kick the guy off his team. But he could’ve declined the interview in the first place. He’s clearly a believer. The Cardinals clearly are too.

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