NFL PLAYER NEWS

Mathieu among many Cards to sit out opener

The Sports Xchange

August 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm.

Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) intercepts a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) intercepts a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coach Bruce Arians said the following players will not play in Friday night’s preseason opener because of injuries: safety Tyrann Mathieu, wide receivers John Brown and Brittan Golden, cornerbacks Asa Jackson, Mike Jenkins and Justin Bethel, linebacker Zack Wagenmann, offensive lineman Earl Watford, center Taylor Boggs, defensive tackle Corey Peters, linebacker Alani Fua and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.

Arians said cornerback Cariel Brooks, wide receiver Jaxon Shipley and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre will be questionable.

With so many corners and receivers ailing, Arians said it’s a good chance for the healthy ones to shine and make an impression.

“Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for the ones that are out there,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for guys to get a lot of reps against a quality opponent.”

— Arians typically does all of the offensive play calling during games, but he’s letting offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin call the shots in three of Arizona’s four preseason contests – including Friday’s opener at home against Oakland.

“Harold will handle it all. The gameplan, the whole way. I’ll do Game 3,” Arians said.

Asked if he enjoys passing off the play-call duties, Arians said, “Not a bit. Not a bit. That’s the fun in coaching for me. I’m just trying to continue to help guys grow.”

So what will Arians be doing if Goodwin is running the show?

“Deciding if we go for it on fourth (down) or if we go for two,” Arians said. “Tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.”

— QB Jake Coker, an undrafted rookie free agent from Alabama, is scheduled to play the entire fourth quarter against the Raiders on Friday. Coker’s mechanics need some work, Arians acknowledged, but he’s coming along.

“You can quicken feet; it’s hard to change deliveries,” Arians said. “You can tweak things and he’s gotten better at getting the ball out of his hand faster. And when he does get it out faster, he’s pretty accurate.”

— Arians has talked about finding some consistency from second- and third-string members of the offensive line, but other than do-everything Earl Watford, he said he hasn’t found what he’s been hoping to see.

“Not really,” the coach said. “(Guard) Antoine (McClain) has flashed a number of days and as he gets tired, his technique goes down a little bit. (Tackle) John (Wetzel) is the same way. They’re both extremely heavy sweaters and they’ll lose eight pounds in a practice and as they fatigue, their technique goes to (expletive). They’re effort is still there, though.”

–The Cardinals will spend next week practicing in San Diego against the Chargers before playing them there in the second preseason game of the year. Arians said he hopes the Cardinals can invite an NFL team to University of Phoenix Stadium next year so the Arizona can have another team to practice against. He’s all for practicing with the Chargers in San Diego again in 2017, too.

“You get into a routine and you fall into a routine,” Arians said. “Once you start changing routines, I think that’s very good for our football team. See how they handle change of routine. Usually if you play every Sunday at 1 o’clock, you ain’t very good. If you play Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, you’re changing schedule and you’re a pretty good football team. You learn to adapt. Getting flexed, all those things you face toward the end of the season? We’ll go through some of that next week.”

NOTES: Former Cardinals standout Pat Tillman will be spotlighted on Oct. 28 on the NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’ series. Tillman died in 2004 in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan. He walked away from football and enlisted in the military in 2002 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. … WR Larry Fitzgerald will move into sole possession of third place on the NFL’s all-time list for receptions in consecutive games with a catch against the Patriots in the season opener on Sept. 11. Fitzgerald is presently tied with Tim Brown, as each have caught at least one pass in 179 consecutive games. Jerry Rice is the all-time record holder with a reception in 274 straight games, followed by Art Monk (183).