Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is blunt when it comes to the performance of premier safety Tyrann Mathieu this season.
“No, he’s not himself yet. He’s probably 85, 90 percent, maybe,” Arians said on a conference call on Wednesday morning.
Mathieu tore his ACL last December and spent training camp on the PUP list while rehabbing. Before being injured last year he had five interceptions, 17 passes defensed, a forced fumble, a defensive touchdown, 80 tackles and a sack through 14 games.
This season, he has been slow to return to full form with one interception, three passes defensed and 25 tackles through seven games.
“He’s getting better,” said Arians. “He’ll feel better whenever he can take that brace off and feel like himself.”
Arians said Mathieu’s presence back on the field has brought a spark, however.
“Yeah, he (is) a playmaker that just brings a ton of energy and passion,” he said.
The Cardinals will be without receiver Jaron Brown after he tore his ACL last week. Reciever John Brown missed the team’s last game because of leg pain from his sickle-cell trait, but according to Cardinals in-house reporter Darren Urban he is expected to return to practice on Wednesday. Urban also noted that linebacker Alex Okafor is not active this week with a strained calf.