The head coach of the Arizona Cardinals must learn to pull his starting players out of games where the outcome has been decided
It was late in last Sunday’s game and the Arizona Cardinals had already demolished the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bruce Arians’ squad had the ball with nothing left to do but run the clock out.
After what seemed to be a relatively benign play, starting right guard Evan Mathis limped to the sideline. Because he had been playing with an injured foot, the initial thought was that he aggravated it.
A good question for Arians would’ve been why was Mathis still in a game that Arizona had in the bag? There was no way the Bucs were coming back at that point. Besides, the veteran was already playing with an injured foot, why risk aggravating It?
A price is being paid for not yanking Mathis from the game. The 34-year old will miss this Sunday’s game due to turf toe suffered against the Bucs. He will be replaced by Earl Watford.
It appears that Arians buys into the Bill Belichick theory. Keep your starters in no matter how many points your club is ahead by. In other words, run the score up.
At least Arians had enough sense to pull quarterback Carson Palmer from the game. But it appeared most of the other starters played til the end. You would think that the coach would’ve learned a lesson from last December.
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It was Christmas week, late in the fourth quarter of a thrashing of the Philadelphia Eagles, when a disaster occurred. Safety Tyrann Mathieu was inexplicably still playing in a game that his team was leading by three touchdowns. The “Honey Badger “went up and came down awkwardly with a meaningless interception of a Sam Bradford pass. In the process he once again tore his ACL, ending the Pro Bowler’s season.
The Cards defense wasn’t the same for the rest of the season. They had lost one of their leaders, possibly the heart and soul of the defense. The disgusted look on Palmer’s face after Mathieu limped off spoke a thousand words. Why was he still in a game that was basically over?
There’s no doubt that Arians is a great coach. But it’s just plain silly not to get starting players off the field when games have been decided. Hopefully the Mathis injury doesn’t linger and he can return next week.
And hopefully Arians will learn the lesson before another season is ruined by injury.