ProFootballFocus: Four Cardinals make All-Pro Team through Week 4
We’re now through Week 4 of the NFL season, and with that comes a lot of too-early but highly enjoyable speculation about how the season will end up. As the Cardinals sit atop the NFC West standings with a record of 3-1, ProFootballFocus took notice and included four Cardinals on their All-Pro Team through Week 4.
Leading the way for the group of Cardinals honored is none other than quarterback Carson Palmer.
Quarterback: Carson Palmer (Cardinals)
It was close, and it’s arguable that if Big Ben didn’t get hurt, he was in pole position. But he did, and it opened the door for Palmer to squeeze through in front of Rodgers. He’s worked wonders behind a line that isn’t always the most helpful.
Through four games, Palmer has thrown for 10 touchdowns, second to only 2014 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Palmer also joins Andy Dalton as the only quarterbacks with 20 completions of 20 yards or more so far and ranks fourth in total yards with 1,155.
Next on the list of Cardinals is Larry Fitzgerald.
Slot receiver: Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)
Redemption, thy name is Fitzgerald. He looked like his best years may be behind him after last season, but nothing has been further from the case in 2015. It’s telling that Carson Palmer has a 154.9 rating when throwing the ball his way.
The veteran wide receiver is having one of his best seasons yet. He ranks third in receiving yards and yards per game with 432 yards on the season and an average of 108 yards per game. Fitzgerald leads the league with five touchdown receptions and ten receptions of more than 20 yards — three more than any other player.
The next Cardinal to make PFF’s list plays on the other side of the ball, Tyrann Mathieu.
Slot cornerback: Tyrann Mathieu (Cardinals)
We do like our versatile defensive backs, and Mathieu is just that. There may not be another defensive back who contributes in as many facets of the game as the Cardinal, who has positive grades for his work in coverage, run defense, and rushing the passer.
Through four games, Mathieu has a forced fumble and two interceptions, not to mention a defensive touchdown. The 33-yard touchdown, coming off of an interception against the 49ers, marked the first pick-six of Mathieu’s collegiate or professional career.
Last but not least, PFF selected Justin Bethel as the special teams player and the final Cardinal on their All-Pro Team through Week 4.
Special teamer: Justin Bethel (Cardinals)
Bethel remains the gold standard on special teams, particularly on punts.
So far this season, Bethel has an interception, a forced fumble and a touchdown. Like Mathieu, Bethel’s touchdown came after picking off Colin Kaepernick in the Cardinals’ 47-7 victory over the 49ers in Week 3.