TEMPE, Ariz. — On Nov. 13, the Arizona Cardinals signed Josh Mauro off of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad and placed him on their 53-man roster.
On Nov. 23, he was starting at defensive tackle in a key road game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The undrafted rookie out of Stanford was on the field for 22 snaps, finishing with two total tackles, one of which was for a loss.
“Josh Mauro would have got a game ball if we won the game,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday. “He played his tail off. Was stout at the point of attack. Really, really nice surprise.”
Mauro, who had a solid-if-unspectacular collegiate career at Stanford, said he had no idea he was going to start the game. Instead, he knew he would have a specific role in certain packages, and the team happened to come out in one of them to begin the game.
He felt good about his overall performance, which was his first in the NFL. Mauro said he had to balance his emotions, but was focused on doing his job at a high level.
“Guys like Calais (Campbell) and Tommy (Kelly) and Dan (Williams), they set the bar really high up front,” he said. “So coming in, there can’t be a let off; there’s no time for a learning curve or getting comfortable, so I just wanted to come in and just play up to their level, which is the highest level in the NFL right now.”
What kind of role Mauro will have going forward is uncertain, though his performance Sunday likely did nothing to make anyone think it should be reduced.
And Mauro, who originally chose the Steelers over the Cardinals after going undrafted, is happy to finally land in Arizona.
“I’ll tell you all what I told them,” he said. “You get advice from people, and it goes one of two ways, so now you all know. Again, I’m just so happy to be here and just blessed.
“I just want to make the most of every opportunity.”