Tyrann Mathieu on Jimmy Graham: Our division’s physical, he has to block

Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu isn’t worried about the departure of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles this offseason.

Bowles and cornerback Antonio Cromartie are now with the Jets, but Mathieu said during an appearance on NFL Total Access that the team’s “core players” are still around on defense. That gives him confidence that the team will be able to remain strong on defense in 2015 as they try to replace the Seahawks as NFC West champions.

One difference in that task this season will be the presence of tight end Jimmy Graham in Seattle. When asked about facing the former Saint, Mathieu jumped on a maligned part of Graham’s game that’s been mentioned frequently since March’s trade sent him to Seattle.

“I think Seattle as a team, it’s tough to beat those guys. You still have to beat No. 3 [Russell Wilson] and No. 24 [Marshawn Lynch],” Mathieu said. “That’s a full task in itself. But I’m looking forward to Jimmy Graham, obviously. It’s kind of exciting that he came to our division. It’s physical. He’s gonna have to block.”

Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable said this month that Graham is committed to learning what the Seahawks want him to do as a blocker and wide receiver Doug Baldwin pointed out that Graham’s presence alone can help in the running game, but there’s little doubt that Graham’s progression as a blocker in Seattle will be closely watched as the NFC West race unfolds later this year.

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