Jerraud Powers: “I always feel like we’re overlooked”

GLENDALE, Ariz. – There’s a bunch of superheroes in the Arizona Cardinals’ secondary.

Cornerback Jerraud Powers says he’s Batman. His road dog, safety Rashad Johnson, would actually be the Green Goblin, if you ask Powers’ son.

“We fight, but get along neutrally. It’s alright, it’s all good,” Powers said.

Who’s Superman? The fans would say it’s Patrick Peterson. Tyrann Mathieu would say himself, but Powers believes he’s over them all with the super powers he possesses.

“They’re going out and getting the job done, and I’m in the back just getting credit for it,” Powers said. “It’s a power control going on right now as to who’s who.”

Right now, Arizona’s secondary is as deep as the Justice League’s roster. The Justice League has loads of talent that can go out and defeat the bad guys, and so do the Cardinals in their third level of defense.

“It’s getting there,” Powers said. “I was a little concerned to start it off with the corner(back) (position). When we first started, me, J.B. (Justin Bethel) and Pat(rick) (Peterson) were the only guys on the roster with any experience. Luckily, we got a good corner(back) in (Alfonso) Dennard, and (we’re) still building. Jimmy Legree is having a great camp, I’m in a great offseason, (and) hopefully he (Legree) can step up for us. We’re building depth, and we’ll definitely be ready once (training) camp starts rolling.”

With Antonio Cromartie joining former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in New York with the Jets, a position has opened up at the other cornerback position opposite Peterson. Bethel hasn’t stopped saying he’s ready to be that guy opposite Peterson, and Powers feels he’s the man to take that spot too. The beauty of the offseason training program is that it lets guys like Bethel, Powers, Dennard and Legree fight it out and see who the best man is for the starting job.

Powers feels there’s no pressure to perform, just because a battle’s brewing for one spot.

“Nah, I’ve been starting since Day One in the league. I think a lot of people keep forgetting that,” Powers said. “I don’t feel any more pressure than anybody else on the team.”

“Right now, I think we’re still trying to work it out,” Powers said. “I’m back on the outside, moving into the slot whenever we go nickel. Last year, I was more of the nickel, or utility guy, however you want to use it. The year before, I was outside.”

“We’re gonna have to find some type of way we can get all our playmakers on the field,” Powers said. “Whatever (my) role is, if I’m just gonna stay outside, cool; if I’m gonna move inside and play the nickel, cool. We got a lot of guys that’s anxious to get on the field. (It’s) up to the coaches to decide on how it’s gonna happen, but everybody’s gonna have their role in some type of way when we’re all on the field together.”

What makes the Cardinals secondary so unique is that pretty much everybody is interchangeable. No one person is set in stone at one position.

“We definitely (have) a few guys that can play multiple positions,” Powers said. “I get a lot of credit from people saying I can play safety, corner(back), nickel or whatever. Tyrann (Mathieu), he can do the same. Rashad (Johnson) can play the safety (and) money position; he can do a lot. Tony Jefferson, he can do the same thing. We (have) a lot of guys (that) can play more than just one position. Right now, I think the main thing is just finding a couple young guys in the corner(back) position that’s gonna step up and help us.”

Arizona’s getting ready for their three-day minicamp starting on Tuesday. This is when things really start ramping up, and it gets more intense, because after those three days, the players have well over a month off before training camp starts, so it’s essential they get as much work and reps in as possible.

The team started it all off with OTAs (Organized Team Activities), which wrapped late last week. The biggest thing Powers and the secondary worked on was tackling. Powers said the group gave up about 1,300 yards last year off missed tackles alone. Imagine where the team would’ve been last season if they secured a tackle here and there during a game, instead of them being broken.

“Every day in individual (drills), we’ll switch coaches. We’ll have a tackling circuit setup, and everybody (will) switch to a different coach,” Powers said. “That’s all tackling is, it’s really about a want to in your technique. So right now is a time we can just focus on our technique, and once you put on the pads, that’s when you find out who wants to tackle and who (doesn’t).”

The team has come a long way in the two years they’ve been under head coach Bruce Arians. In 2013, they were oh-so-close to the playoffs. In 2014, they made it across the threshold and into the postseason. Powers has seen the team transform themselves from a bunch of “young guys,” to a bunch of “vets,” which has him excited about what’s to come in Year Three. He feels the team still isn’t getting it’s just due, after winning 11 games – 21 over the past two seasons – and making the playoffs last season.

“I always feel like we’re kind of overlooked a little bit,” Powers said. “I don’t want to say fluke, but they still don’t believe that the (Arizona) Cardinals (are) as good as their record showed, or as good as they’ve been the last two years.”

“As long as we keep winning games, they ain’t gonna have to do nothing but respect us,” Powers said. “We (were) 9-1 last year, and everybody kept talking like, ‘is this the best team in the league?’ When you’re 9-1 in the NFL, yeah, if you got the best record, you’re the best team in the league, that’s just how I look at it.”

“This team has a lot of confidence. We don’t really worry about what the outsiders say. We know what we can do in this room; we know how close we were last year. We’re just looking forward to getting things going,” Powers said.




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