Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show on Tuesday to discuss a myriad of topics, including his team’s 42-17 demolition of the Lions this past weekend.
“Every time we take the field, as a defense – and especially as a secondary – we want to catch interceptions. We want to create turnovers,” Mathieu said. “And (on) Sunday, we did a good job doing that.”
Indeed, the Cardinals dominated Detroit throughout and recorded three picks against Matthew Stafford. Arizona also got great performance from Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald once again. Palmer, 35, is sixth in the league in passing yards (1,316) and first in touchdown passes (13), while Fitzgerald, 32, is fifth in the league in receiving yards (490) and first in receiving touchdowns (six).
Not bad for two players once considered over-the-hill.
“Well, I just think it’s personal for those guys,” Mathieu said. “They’ve been counted out the last couple years as not being elite and not being upper-echelon. I think it’s really just motivating those guys. I’m happy to play with them. They’re some great leaders and they’re definitely some great football players.”
Another 30-something, Chris Johnson, is also playing well for the Cardinals. In fact, he is second in the league in rushing yards (405).
“I’ll tell you, man. He’s probably one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet,” Mathieu said. “He’s definitely putting on a show for us and definitely helping us out a bunch on offense and as a team.”
Arizona leads the league in scoring offense (38.0 points per game) and is fifth in scoring defense (18.0 points per game). Up next? A tough road matchup against the Steelers, who are coming off a last-play Monday Night Football win in San Diego.
“Well, we’re going to try to go out there and just play our type of football game,” Mathieu said. “Obviously as a defense, we want to create turnovers, but just watching those guys last night, they still have tremendous playmakers all around their offense. Michael Vick, I thought he did a good job managing the game for those guys. Obviously we’re going to have a tough tasks stopping No. 84 (Antonio Brown) and No. 26 (Le’Veon Bell).
Mathieu will let his play do the talking Sunday, especially after calling the 49ers’ passing attack “simplified” following a 47-7 win in Week 3. Mathieu was asked if head coach Bruce Arians was upset that he provided future bulletin-board material for a division rival.
“For the most part, I think coach understands we’re all professionals,” Mathieu said. “I think he trusts us to say the right things and do the right things off the field. He actually didn’t tell me anything about the comments I made. Had I been playing bad, I think he definitely would have pointed it out.”
Mathieu, a former Heisman Trophy finalist at LSU, was also asked what advice he was give true sophomore Leonard Fournette, who has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.
“I’d just tell him to keep doing the things that he’s doing and stay humble,” Mathieu said. “Stay within the process. I think a lot of times when you get good like that and you do it so often, a lot of people start praising you and it’s easy to skip the process. You want to just get to the NFL. But I think if he can just stay within the process, I think he’ll be all right. I’m rooting for him.”