The Arizona Cardinals have avoided the worst possible scenario with safety Tyrann Mathieu’s latest injury as he doesn’t need surgery, but head coach Bruce Arians did say that the star defender will need at least the next three-to-six weeks to recover.
That is certainly not ideal for a team on the outside looking in at the playoff picture as the 2016-2017 NFL regular season hits the midway point this week. Mathieu is an extremely important piece to the Arizona defense, which currently allows the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL.
Mathieu recorded 89 total tackles, 17 pass defenses, one sack and five interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, in 14 games last season as he was named to the NFL All-Pro team. Unfortunately, his great season came to a screeching halt when he tore his ACL against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16.
He had most of his success playing the nickel cornerback position, where he was able to freelance and make big plays, but due to his recovery, Mathieu was slow to returning to that spot. Just as he was looking more like himself and beginning to return to his form role, he suffers this shoulder injury. Mathieu intercepted his only pass of the season two Monday nights ago against the New York Jets. He has nine total tackles and the pick in the last three games combined.
If there is any good news to his injury happening now, the Cardinals are on bye in Week 9 and then have a home game against the seemingly helpless San Francisco 49ers. Hopefully they find a viable replacement for Mathieu by then because the next three games are against potential playoff teams in the NFC in the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.