The opening game of the 2014 regular season will likely mark a first for Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers.
The 5-foot-10 defender has started all of the 58 games he’s played in the NFL since he entered the league in 2009. That streak was threatened as soon as the Cardinals signed three-time Pro Bowl corner Antonio Cromartie in March.
The 30-year-old Cromartie figures to start on the opposite end of the field from Patrick Peterson in 2014. Despite what that means for Powers, the former Indianapolis Colt understands the move and is still confident in his role with the Cardinals going forward.
“It is what it is — the business side of the coin,” Powers said Monday about the Cardinals’ additions in the defensive backfield. “But it adds depth to our secondary. It makes us that much more dangerous — that much more complete as a secondary. I know I’m still going to be on the field regardless. But it’s just one of those situations where you’ve got to take it as what’s best for the team, and we’re out here trying to win the NFC West. And if that’s what (Steve) Keim and B.A. [Bruce Arians] and whoever else thought that’s we needed to do, (then) that’s just what we needed to do.”
Powers — who tallied 65 tackles, one interception and 17 passes defensed last year, his first with the Cardinals — said he also agrees with the notion that a team can never have too many high-quality players at his position.
“You can never have enough corners, especially good corners,” the sixth-year pro said. “I mean, you see the league is becoming a passing league. You know, there’s guys throwing the ball 50-60 times a game. So you can never have too many good corners. And the more you have — the more guys that can play, that can step up and show they can play — it’s just going to add value to your team, because you can use them in so many different ways and different packages.”
On top of the team’s acquisition of Cromartie, Arizona also bolstered its secondary by taking a safety, Deone Bucannon of Washington State, in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Despite the high-profile additions, one player, cornerback Justin Bethel, actually has moved up on the team’s first draft of a depth chart for 2014. Bethel, who made the Pro Bowl last year for his special teams work, benefits from the departure of backup cornerback Javier Arenas to Atlanta.
Powers may be pushed back on the depth chart, but due to the fluidity of the Cardinals’ defensive backfield, he’s doesn’t sound too worried about his playing time this season.
“I don’t really see (my role) changing too much,” the 27-year-old Auburn product said. “I’m going to be on the field. I’m going to do what they ask me to do. I’ll play more inside in a slot. I’ll be on the outside as well, depending on what the package is; you might see me at safety some. I think my role is expanded more than it was last year: I’m involved in a lot more different packages — rather than last year just being on the outside and not being able to play the inside.
“I think my role is expanded more, which makes it a lot more fun — a lot more opportunities to make more plays.”