Chat with Josh Weinfuss
Weinfuss arrived at ESPN.com in 2013 after covering the Cardinals for azcardinals.com. He received both his Master's of Sports Journalism and Bachelor's degrees from Indiana University.
Send your questions now and join Weinfuss Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Colorado Cards (Denver, CO)
Great article today on Tyrann Mathieu Given what Arians' is doing with Patrick Peterson, any rumors about using the Honey Badger on offense?
Josh (1:01 PM)
There have not been any rumors about using him on offense, and I don't expect any. I think the Cardinals will just stick with using Patrick Peterson on offense.
Do you think we may see Arians give Honey Badger the chance to return more punts the 2nd half of the year?
Josh (1:04 PM)
Steve: I think it may happen, but Arians will most likely stick with Peterson as long as he can. Teams are definitely game planning for Patrick more, making it tougher to break returns and the Cardinals are having a hard time blocking the gunners. We might see some a gimmick return here or there where they send out Peterson and Mathieu.
Tim (Phx, AZ)
Was there any talk of what his off-season plans are? Stay our here or will he be going back to Florida with the Petersons at all?
Josh (1:07 PM)
Tim: He'll spend some time here in Arizona and he'll go to Florida to work out with Patrick and his father. I'm sure he'll go home to New Orleans to see his family.
Can one night in jail really turn someone around? Do you believe that the old. irresponsible Honey Badger is 100% gone?
Josh (1:09 PM)
Jeff: I do. I'm sure there'll be questionable decisions made along the way, but I don't think we can expect anyone to be perfect. However, I do think the night in jail made Mathieu think about his future a little bit more. He's more self aware than people think and he wants to be good -- and that's half the battle.
Your article mentions that Mathieu is (a little) disappointed his contract is so back-end-loaded. Any thoughts on whether this will become a pain point as he continues to establish his value, and/or if the Cards would ever consider restructuring contract?
Josh (1:14 PM)
I can only see it becoming an issue if Mathieu has two or three stellar seasons, where he wins Rookie of the Year, makes the Pro Bowl, etc., then the Cardinals might restructure his contract. But they want him to prove himself first, and not necessarily on the field. The way the contract was structured was to protect the Cards if Mathieu does slip up. If Arizona feels comfortable enough with how he's doing two or three years from now, I'd bet they rip up his rookie deal and give him a big contract to keep him in the desert.
With Seattle and SF in the division, how hard will it to evaluate if Arizona has a successful season this year?
Josh (1:17 PM)
Will: If you look at the whole body of work, it won't be hard to evaluate whether the Cards had a successful season. Obviously, a winning record would be a good indicator, but if the Cardinals can avoid major losing streaks and improve as the season progresses, I think those are all signs of a good year especially under a new coach.
Travis Ziegler (Oil City, P.A)
Do you think Tyrann Mathieu is going back to jail??
Josh (1:18 PM)
Travis: No, I don't. Obviously, we can't predict the future, but I don't see him slipping up to the point where he goes back to jail.
Bob McMeans (Viking Plastics)
How did sitting out the last year at LSU impact on how you act now
Josh (1:20 PM)
It showed him how much he really loved football. Not having it for a year really hit him hard and he missed the game, to be frank. He also realized how quickly it could be taken away, which he hadn't experienced before. I think it also humbled him. It showed Mathieu that just because he's an All-American doesn't mean he's going to get a hall pass.
Bob McMeans (Viking Plastics)
Do you think Mathieu is a pro bowler?
Josh (1:22 PM)
Yes. I think he is, maybe not a starter but I think he deserves to be there. As of now, he has the third most tackles for a free safety on the Pro Bowl ballot. I think that's Pro Bowl worthy.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Josh, props to Tyrann Mathieu for the positive changes he has made in his life! The NFL needs more positive stories like this one!
Josh (1:22 PM)
I agree. I think what makes it more impressive is he realized what was at stake and made the change. That says a lot for a 21-year-old.
Tony Kubis (Compton)
Is mathieu a key part of the Cardinals D?
Josh (1:24 PM)
Yes. He has been all season, starting out in the nickel package but now that he's a starter at free safety, he's even more important. He can play safety or come to the line and play cornerback.
Garrett Yager (Ellington, NY)
Is Mathieu a future hall of famer?
Josh (1:26 PM)
It's too early to tell. It's on his radar though, I know that. I think if he keeps his nose clean and continues to play at the level he is, it's a possibility, but it's way to early to predict that.
If Patrick Peterson wasn't a Cardinal, do you believe they still would have drafted Mathieu? I know it's a unique situation, but it seems odd one player would have such an impact on a personnel decision.
Josh (1:27 PM)
I think the Cardinals would've given Mathieu as in-depth of a look as they did, but Peterson was definitely the key, I believe. He made sure the Cardinals' brain trust knew how much Mathieu had changed and what kind of person Mathieu was.
Jerry Smith (Alaska)
Do u think he will become one of the best defensive backs in the NFL?
Josh (1:29 PM)
Short answer, yes. Like a lot of guys he has the athleticism and talent, but what separates Mathieu from much of the league is his football IQ. He sees things earlier than most guys and he's very smart on the field.
Which NFL team would be the best fit for Mathieu
Josh (1:30 PM)
I think he's on it. At this stage in his career, I don't know if there was a better fit for Mathieu because he came into a situation where he basically had family a few lockers down in Patrick Peterson.
Mitchell Carter (Da Boonies)
Would the cardinals ever consider signing mathieu to a long term deal?
Josh (1:31 PM)
Yes, but not just yet. The Cards will wait a couple of years or maybe all four years of his rookie contract to see if Mathieu can stay out of trouble and to make sure he's not just a one-year wonder. But then, yes, they'll sign him to a long-term deal.
In what areas do you think Mathieu can improve as a defender?
Josh (1:32 PM)
There aren't many, but I've noticed the last few games he can get better on his man coverage off the line. It could just be the package or the scheme, but he's been letting receivers get in front of him and sometimes the WRs are too big for him, but that's rare. He's impressed all around, though.
Do you see Mathieu reaching similar INT and sacks numbers as Adrian Wilson had during his time with the Cardinals?
Josh (1:34 PM)
I think he'll come close for a few reasons. He's playing as a rookie, so he'll actually have the opportunity to hit those numbers if he's in the league long enough. He plays smart which in the long run will keep him healthy and on the field. He's built up his body to withstand the beating he takes on the field.
Dan Smith (BYU)
Who do you think should be getting more praise for his game, Patrick Peterson or Tyrann Mathieu?
Josh (1:35 PM)
I think right now it's Mathieu, only because everyone knows what Patrick Peterson can do. Peterson's an established star and Mathieu just splashed on the scene.
riley (south dakota)
would you consider matheiu the steal of the draft ?
Josh (1:36 PM)
Yes because had he played last season at LSU and remained healthy, he could've been a Top 5, Top 3 or maybe the top pick in the draft. Instead the Cardinals got a first-round pick in the third round.
Larry F (AZ)
after the cardinals clinch a playoff birth would you consider Mathieu to be a lock for defensive rookie of the year?
Josh (1:37 PM)
I think it'll be a tough decision, especially if Mathieu keeps contributing as he has. If he makes a few big plays - INTs, FFs, sacks - I can see him winning ROY.
willis beaverson (toothy new york )
how much do you think Mathieu will contribute over the years
Josh (1:38 PM)
I think Mathieu will be an integral part of the defense as long as he's in Arizona. He's young and very good, and I can see the Cardinals starting to build around him in the next couple of years.
mathieu shows signs of huge potential, do you think this is the best team to reach that potential
Josh (1:39 PM)
Yes, but mainly from the perspective that he's in the best situation to succeed. Sure, trouble can be found everywhere, but with Patrick Peterson here an consummate pros like Larry Fitzgerald and Karlos Dansby, Mathieu is learning from some of the best.
Better draft day steal for the Cardinals: Mathieu in the 3rd or Ellington in the 6th?
Josh (1:40 PM)
Tough, but Mathieu. They got a Top 5 pick in the third round. Doesn't get much better than that. Ellington wasn't projected to go very high so he wasn't a steal, more like a pleasant surprise.
James schwab (new york)
does Mathieu have good hands
Josh (1:41 PM)
Yes. He's very quick with his hands and can read receivers and offenses well enough to get his hands in position before most players.
Jake Stover (Falconer)
Is Mathieu your rookie of the year?
Josh (1:42 PM)
As of now, he's one or two, for sure. He's playing as well as any rookie is now, but there's still seven games left.
Richard Hair (Denmark, NH)
Do you think the Cardnials will ever trade or release Mathieu in the near future?
Josh (1:43 PM)
It's impossible to predict, but the Cardinals aren't afraid of making a move if Mathieu gets into trouble again. But if he stays out of trouble, I don't see them moving him anytime soon.
Just based on where he is now and what his potential is, where do you see Mathieu in 15 years?
Josh (1:44 PM)
Most likely retired, but potentially en route to the Hall of Fame. If he stays on this pace, he can have a very high ceiling in the NFL.
Will Mathieu be an elite player in some point in his career?
Josh (1:46 PM)
I think it'll happen sooner than you think. Already through nine games of his rookie season, he's catching the eyes of players and coaches around the league and they're talking about him unsolicited, that's the sign people are thinking about him.
Nick Friend (east providence ri)
how long do you see him lasting in the NFL
Josh (1:47 PM)
If he can stay out of trouble and healthy, I think he'll have a solid career. How long? Maybe eight or more years. While I think he'll stay out of trouble, injuries will be the determining factor into what kind of career he'll have.
Is Mathieu a better player than Peterson
Josh (1:49 PM)
They're different, but I'd say Peterson is more athletic than Mathieu. Then again, Peterson is more athletic than everyone in the league. Mathieu may have a better knack for the ball, though.
James schwab (clemson)
how fast is he
Josh (1:50 PM)
I think we saw how fast he is in the St. Louis game, when he tracked down TE Jared Cook. But he's quicker than he is fast, which in the NFL is just as good.
YODER STIMSON (AMISH COUNTRY)
Would mathiue ever be good a troy polamalalallalau?
Josh (1:52 PM)
During offseason workouts, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said he's as quick as Polamalu.
What do you see the cards recording being at the end of the season?
Josh (1:52 PM)
I think 10-6.
How good do you think Tyrann Mathieu actually is?
Josh (1:56 PM)
I think that's yet to be seen, but his ball-hawking skills were not blown out of proportion when teams evaluated him, that's for sure.
Do you think 10-6 is good enough to make the playoffs?
Josh (1:57 PM)
Yes, at least in the Wild Card.
Drew (Stevens Point Wisconsin)
Do you see Mathieu ever leaving arizona?
Josh (1:59 PM)
Not unless he's released or traded. I think the Cardinals want to keep him in Arizona as long as possible.
Josh (1:59 PM)
Alright everyone, thanks for joining me today. Great questions and thanks for reading. Have a good day.