Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: Justin Bethel ‘answered the bell well’

Aug 16, 2015, 12:21 AM | Updated: 12:46 am
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wi...

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cornerback Justin Bethel spent all of this past week working with the first-team defense as Jerraud Powers has been sidelined with an oblique injury.

With Powers sitting out Saturday’s preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bethel was tabbed to start opposite Patrick Peterson. The fourth-year pro stepped up and played well, tallying three tackles — one of which was for a loss — along with one pass defensed in a game Arizona lost by a score of 34-19. In one early-game play, he also ran stride-for-stride with star Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin, getting his head turned around at the last second to help prevent a long completion without incurring a pass interference penalty.

“I thought he answered the bell well,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “There was a good throw, he was going to intercept the one, but it was a really high throw and he couldn’t get it. But I thought he had great coverage on a couple plays.”

True, it’s not as if Bethel blanketed receivers to the point where completions were not happening on his side of the field. But he was not really beaten on any play, and when a catch was made in front of him, he tackled well.

In a lot of ways, that’s all a cornerback can do.

“Definitely felt good to be out there and go out there and try to make some plays,” Bethel said. “I was there for a lot of balls; I feel like there’s a couple of them I probably could have played a little better and knocked out, but definitely was glad to be able to get that chance.”

For Bethel, it was important to show that he can be more than a special teams ace. Thus far into his career he has yet to prove capable of being a consistent cornerback, though this past week in practice has allowed him to go toe-to-toe with receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown. Saturday he matched up with an elite receiver in Maclin, and did not at all appear to be out of his league.

You would think it would help his confidence, but Bethel said he’s always believed he could handle the role.

“For me, I kind of always felt like I had the physical abilities to go out there and play with everybody,” he said. “It’s been more, for me, working on technique and mentally knowing the game and knowing what I’m supposed to do. I’ve really been working on that and I’ve got a chance to go out there and kind of put it to the test today.

“So definitely glad that I got that chance and I’m just going to keep working.”

That means going back and watching the film, which now includes him facing off against some elite receiver talent.

“You build off of it, see what you’ve got to fix and just fine-tune little things and just keep working to get better,” he said.

 

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel (10) throws a touchdown pass as Arizona Cardinals' Josh Mauro (73) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) smiles as he celebrates his touchdown catch from quarterback Chase Daniel (10) against the against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) makes a touchdown catch in front of Arizona Cardinals' Gabe Martin, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Cariel Brooks (35) tips the ball away on a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs' Da'Ron Brown (4) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Logan Thomas, left, twists out of the grasp of Kansas City Chiefs' Dee Ford, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians watches play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond, right, celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals with teammate Jason Avant, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond (85) makes a touchdown catch as Arizona Cardinals' Jimmy Legree (46) falls down while trying to cover Hammond on the play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) lies on the turf as Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Ramik Wilson (53) runs back an interception during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws under pressure from the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown is tackled by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Gabe Martin during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws under pressure from Arizona Cardinals linebacker LaMarr Woodley (52) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry lines up against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas gestures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas waits for play to resume during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin makes a catch as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) carries as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) looks to throw against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kenny Demens (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) hits Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) as Steven Nelson (20) and Eric Berry (29) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) runs the football against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks with line judge Sarah Thomas during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands off to running back Knile Davis (34) against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32), celebrates his interception with teammates Calais Campbell (93) and Rashad Johnson (26) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) is tripped up by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after intercepting a pass by Smith during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, right, and Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians chat before an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up for the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals training camp assistant linebackers coach Jen Welter, middle, talks with line judge Sarah Thomas, right, as Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill, left, listens prior to an NFL preseason football game between the Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) lunges into the end zone for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) celebrate his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) kisses his mother, Carol Berry, prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) is greeted by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) prior to an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith warms up for the Chiefs' NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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