CB Justin Bethel
Jul 26, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) makes a catch during training camp at University of Phoenix. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Stats: 25 total tackles| zero passes defensed| zero interceptions
Bethel, who has twice been a special team Pro Bowler, quietly had another good season in that area for Arizona. He’s another player who is good at his role but doesn’t get a lot of glamour or notice for his exploits. He saw more snaps in 2014 as a defensive back, but didn’t add to his statistical totals in that area.
Bruce Arians and team members speak highly of him, though. After the season, Antonio Cromartie had this to say about him
"“I really think the sky’s the limit for him. And honestly, the only person that can stop Bethel from being the player that he wants to be is himself. And I think at the end of the day he wants to be a great player. He’s always willing to learn, and that’s what you look for in a defensive back. He’s a quiet guy that’s always willing to learn, always trying to take his game to another level. And that’s what he has to do coming into this offseason and going into the season.”"
Now that Cro is gone, it is likely that he will see his role grow. If he works hard, he can turn the physical skills he has into results that make him more than just a special teams asset. The Cardinals will have a high degree of need for a good slot corner in 2015.
Whether Bethel has that in him or not remains to be seen, but the best thing you can say about him is that he is still good at doing the things he was good at doing before.
This group may have slightly under-performed based on talent, mostly due to Peterson’s struggles. The loss of Cromartie will hurt, but the Cardinals didn’t and shouldn’t freak out trying to get a replacement. Another young, athletic corner to supplement this group may be a smart investment, but the group was at worst decent in 2014, and should get better in the future.
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