When NFL Network analyst Albert Breer looks at this year’s Arizona Cardinals, there’s no doubt he sees a solid, healthy team.
“I don’t think there’s any question, the roster is in great shape,” Breer told Bertrand Berry on the show, Off the Edge with B-Train Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. They’ve got a lot of good, young rising players. They’ve been able to get a lot out of older veterans, Carson Palmer is the most obvious example of that.”
While MVP-candidate Palmer gets a lot of credit for this team’s 9-2 record and NFL-leading offense, Breer thinks what Arians and Co. are doing with their talent is what makes this team so special.
“The team is built with rhyme and reason,” he said. “I think the best part — you see this with Arians and his staff — they really find the right way to use guys. You’ve got Larry Fitzgerald, how are you going to use Michael Floyd and John Brown around him? You’ve got pieces on the offensive line, how do those fit together?”
Breer says this is exemplified in the evolution of Tyrann Mathieu, who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month on Thursday after 27 tackles and two interceptions in November. The third-year versatile player has four interceptions, one pick-six, 63 tackles and one sack on the season.
“Coming out of LSU, he was almost exclusively a corner there,” Breer said. “[The Cardinals] use him as a corner-safety hybrid – they have the past two years.
“He’s got incredible football instincts, he just looks like one of those guys who was born to play the game, but he’s got a unique and different skillset, he’s a little limited as size goes. How do you use a guy like that? As much as anything else, it’s about the staff finding ways to use different guys and finding ways to get the best out of guys.”