Seahawks wary of Mathieu and Peterson

RENTON, Wash. -- Two talented defensive backs from LSU could cause problems for the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals.

One is 2011 first-round draft choice Patrick Peterson. The other is rookie Tyrann Mathieu, who probably would have been a first-round pick if not for off-the-field problems during his college career.

It’s a short week, but Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has watched a lot of film on Peterson and Mathieu.

“Those two guys are really athletic, flying around-type of guys,” Wilson said Tuesday. “They’re ball hawks. They have a knack for getting to the football. You have to always know where they are, but at the same time, not be afraid to attack them.”

Some people thought Arizona took a big risk in using a third-round pick on Mathieu, the former Heisman Trophy finalist who was dismissed from the team at LSU over substance-abuse issues.

But Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said one person convinced him Mathieu was worth the risk -- Peterson.

“Patrick knocked on the door and walked in my office,” Arians said. “He said, ‘I’ll stand on the table for this guy. He’s a good kid and he deserves a chance.’’’

Arians, who spoke to Seahawks reporters on a conference call Tuesday, said he agreed with Peterson after meeting Mathieu.

“I thought he was a wonderful young man,” Arians said. “He knew his mistakes, owned up to his mistakes and was just looking for an opportunity. The football part spoke for itself, but he’s been nothing a dream to coach.”

Mathieu’s 40 tackles are second-best on the team. He also has an interception, a sack and a forced fumble. Arians was asked whether anything about Mathieu has surprised him.

“What has surprised me is how good of a tackler he is,” Arians said. “Just a straight-up tackler. I was a little concerned with his size [5-foot-9, 185], but he plays bigger and he plays faster because his instincts are so good.”

Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer was concerned at first about what Mathieu might bring to the team, but was pleasantly surprised.

“The one thing that surprised me is his maturity,” Palmer said of Mathieu. “You don’t know what to expect when you hear so many negative things about somebody, to have his name rubbed through the mud like it was for a long time.

“But he’s been an absolute professional from the first day. He listens and watches extra film. You see him work his butt off every day and try to learn everything he can from Patrick, not to feel like he’s already got it.”

Peterson is a bigger guy at 6-1, 220. He was Arizona’s first-round pick in 2011. Arians was asked how Peterson compares to Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

“They’re very similar,” Arians said. “They’re both big guys, big corners who love to play press man-to-man. I think they’re two of the best in the business.”

Sherman believes he is the best corner in the NFL, and has said so on several occasions. But he said Tuesday that Peterson has him beat in one respect.

“He’s a way better athlete than I am,” Sherman said. “He moves better and he’s faster. He has so much speed that it allows him to play a little differently than I do. I have to play straight technical football. He gets to play a little looser because he can recover in a flash and get back in a play.”