Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
What can you not do? You’re playing cornerback, returning kicks, catching passes, and even throwing passes. What’re you going to do next?
“I don’t think there’s much I can’t do. We’ll see; only the future knows. It’s going to be something special. We’ve got a lot planned up our sleeve. I guess you guys will find out as soon as the world finds out.”
Coach Arians told us earlier that you’re a pretty good golfer. He said you took some money off of him.
“Yes. I can swing the clubs a little bit.”
Obviously a lot of defensive players would like to play on the other side of the ball. Can you talk about how this came about, especially with a new head coach in Bruce Arians?
“Once we had our first meeting as player to coach, me and him by ourselves, he told me some of the things he was looking for me to do throughout the season which was going out there, shutting down the opponents number one receiver, and obviously giving me a couple of snaps on offense. It was something that he brought up. He saw me play a couple of offensive snaps last year and my rookie year, so he wanted to kind of keep it going. Once he came along, I got a much bigger role on the offensive side, which is a compliment to me. Obviously he understands and knows what kind of athlete he has on the defensive side of the ball that can come on the offensive side and help him out a little bit.”
You said you played a little offense in your rookie year. Was that also at wide receiver?
“No, it was more like the wildcat. I had a couple of receiving snaps, but it was more of the wildcat running back style of offense when coach (Ken) Whisenhunt was here.”
At LSU coach (Les) Miles kind of hinted that he might put you on offense, but never did. Did he ever talk to you about it or come close to happening?
“It came close a couple of times. We practiced it a couple of times, but it never made it to the game. Coach Miles has his way of doing things, but you’ve got to love the ‘Mad Hatter.’”
What goes through your mind when you’re told you are going to throw a pass in a game?
“Honestly, I’ve been playing football since I was six years old. There’s nothing that seems to rattle me or get me shook up. I just have to stay the course of the game (and) continue to take what I did in practice over to Sundays. That’s kind of my motivation and my mindset. Whenever the play is called, I have to go out there and execute the best way I can. We practice it enough to where it will be like second nature on Sundays. Once the play is called, or whatever they need me to do, it’s probably going to be more than done correctly because we’ve practiced it so much. By me being a playmaker and a guy that loves to seize those types of moments, I definitely want to do the best job that I can.”
How has Tyrann Mathieu been doing?
“Tyrann is doing great. As you guys can see, he’s making a bunch of plays for us. He had a game-winning stop for us last week, a big forced fumble in week one against the Rams. We’re playing him in a lot of different spots. Like I said once we drafted him, he was going to be one of the guys that can help us get over the hump by taking the ball away from offenses and getting those key stops when we need to get off the field. He brings energy to this Arizona Cardinals defense. He’s such a little guy, but plays with so much energy and passion, and that’s what we love about him. He seems to always come to play on Sundays. He never seems to amaze us because we know what type of player that we have in our locker room in 32.”
How exciting is that for you considering your personal relationship?
“It was huge. Once Steve Keim gave me the A-OK that we were going to draft him and he was pretty much counting on me to steer him in the right direction, it was huge for us. I think I was almost more excited than he was once we officially found out that he was going to be an Arizona Cardinal. I’m extremely happy for him. He’s taking the right steps. He’s doing everything the right way, which he should be doing. I’m not surprised, it’s just that his past is his past and we are ready to move forward. Hopefully we can win enough ballgames to get in the playoffs.”
Can you talk a little bit about your personal relationship with him and how that has played out with him over these last several months?
“As you guys know, me and Tyrann were close friends at LSU. Once I left, we continued that relationship and that bond with one another. We’re practically brothers. I feel that I’m the big brother role model type for him. I’m definitely not taking that duty lightly. Tyrann looks up to me, and I want to make sure that I’m doing everything right on my part to make sure that he is following the right footsteps and make sure that he does everything the right way. We have a relationship that is hard to explain. While we are on the field, we push each other. When we are off the field, we talk a little bit about life skills and things like that. We are the perfect combination for this Arizona Cardinals defense. We are definitely looking forward together and bring some championships here.”
What do you see in the Saints offense?
“We see that these guys are very explosive there in the (Mercedes-Benz) Superdome. As a defense, we have to seize the moment because they come out so fiery in the first quarter and they like to move the ball and get a lot of plays in and take their shots. As a defense, we have to seize those moments. We know those guys are going to move the ball; we want to do our best job to try and contain that. We want to slow down their big play ability guys. We know that they’re going to take those shots. We can’t give up those big plays, but the whole key to their offense, which everyone knows, is
Can you talk about trading jerseys with Calvin Johnson on Sunday?
“That was my first time ever doing that. To have the opportunity to play against Calvin for the second year in a row is almost like a no-brainer. I have to get this guy’s jersey; he’s one of the best receivers in the game, statistically and going out there on Sundays where he’s put up big numbers each and every year. He’s a hell of an athlete. He’s one of a kind at receiver. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s physical. He’s everything that you want in a receiver. To have the opportunity to go up against him last Sunday was almost like a no brainer that I had to have this guy’s jersey in my ‘P2 Hall of Fame Room.’”
Can he play quarterback and cornerback like you can?
“I don’t think so. I think I’m probably the only one that can play all three at a high level.”
What would you think of Tyrann Mathieu playing a little wide receiver or wildcat?
“I think he would be good as well, too. He did those things at (St. Augustine High School) as well. Catching passes, I believe he was a running back a couple of times, throwing the ball a little bit, running punts back, almost similar to my high school career. I definitely wouldn’t put it past him that he couldn’t go out there and make plays on the offensive side as well. I think as of right now he wants to continue to get better on the defensive side of the ball, continue to get his feet wet, continue to get familiar with the different formations and how teams want to attack us as a defense. Get that down pat, then maybe, who knows what Coach Arians has planned up. He may see a couple of snaps on offense as well.”
Do you, Tyrann, and Kevin Minter get together to watch the LSU games together when you have a chance?
“We do if we have a chance. Once we are home we have a lot of family members in town and LSU is normally playing a night game so we have to be at the hotel. We’re normally watching it at the hotel or watching it on our own. Once we get together, we’re talking about the plays and what we saw and how we feel about the upcoming game. We are always talking trash around here, especially to the Alabama guys.”