Bethel (foot) is penciled in as one of the Cardinals' starting cornerbacks in advance of training camp, the team's official site reports. "Obviously Justin is the current starter, but it's always going to be an open competition," general manager Steve Keim said Tuesday. "Knowing [coach] Bruce Arians and his staff, we'll play the best 11 out there, so whoever gives us a chance to succeed. But we have expectations for Justin."
Keim commented in the wake of the Cardinals making one of their classic veteran signings -- cornerback Mike Jenkins inked a deal Tuesday -- at least under his reign over the past three and a half years. Jenkins provides experience to a group of CBs lacking in that department outside of Patrick Peterson (ankle), but the vote of confidence in Bethel certainly bodes well for his prospects. Although Bethel enters camp in the latter stages of his recovery from a fractured foot, he put together a decent sample size as a starting corner late last season, racking up 25 tackles, four passes defended, and one interception in four games (including playoffs).
After inking a three-year extension in early December, Bethel was pressed into starting duty within weeks due to Tyrann Mathieu's torn ACL in Week 15. Bethel subsequently tallied 25 tackles, four passes defended, and one interception in four games, including two postseason tilts. As the offseason proceeded, the team allowed veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers to leave via free agency, which placed Bethel at the top of the depth chart at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. However, Bethel's offseason has so far centered about rehab from surgery to repair a "slight" fracture in his foot. With no activity in the offseason program, he may have hindered his chances in pursuit of the gig, but the prudent approach is expected to ensure that he's 100 percent once training camp begins in late July.
Bethel reportedly played through a "slight" fracture in the foot last season, yet he was forced into a starting role following Tyrann Mathieu's torn ACL in Week 15. In the following four contests (including playoffs), Bethel totaled 25 tackles (24 solo), four passes defended, and one interception. With Jerraud Powers exploring free agency, Bethel is currently penciled in as the starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson (ankle), but the upcoming NFL Draft and his recovery may impact his current standing.
Bethel stepped in a larger role in the Cardinals' secondary after Tyrann Mathieu (ACL tear) was lost for the season in Week 15, picking up a combined 15 tackles and one interception over the season's final two games. With Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers manning cornerback and nickel corner, respectively, expect Bethel to sustain his recent usage, or 79 percent of the defensive snaps, but tackle chances should still abound.
Head coach Bruce Arians said Monday that he expects Justin Bethel to earn more snaps at cornerback following Tyrann Mathieu's season-ending knee injury, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
Arians preceded that statement by pointing out that Jerraud Powers will take over Mathieu's gig at nickel corner, which makes Bethel the logical candidate to take over the starting cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson. When Powers sat out Weeks 13 and 14 as a result of a calf strain, Bethel performed admirably in the high-profile role, totaling 11 tackles (10 solo) and two passes defended. Such production will likely become the norm if Bethel is tabbed for the job.
|P2||8/19/16||@ SD||9:00 pm|
|P3||8/28/16||@ HOU||4:00 pm|
|3||9/25/16||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|5||10/6/16||@ SF||8:25 pm|
|8||10/30/16||@ CAR||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|11||11/20/16||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|12||11/27/16||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|14||12/11/16||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|16||12/24/16||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|17||1/1/17||@ LAR||4:25 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
Men's Majestic Black Arizona Cardinals Hot Phrase Pullover Hoodie Shop Now!