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Mathieu tackles, MNF return in doubt

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Following safety Tyrann Mathieu's first day tackling since December, neither he nor his head coach seemed optimistic about Mathieu playing Monday night.

“We’ll just continue where we’re at,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

The numbers weren’t clear, but what can be devised from Arizona's closed practice Thursday was that Mathieu didn’t make many tackles. Arians said Mathieu missed three and made three or four. Mathieu said he made two, missed one and didn’t completely bring down another.

Whatever the final tally, Mathieu said he just needs more practice. But with the CBA rules allowing just one padded practice per week, Mathieu will be limited in how often he can tackle.

As Arians said, tackling is new to Mathieu, who was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 19. He hasn’t done it since before he was injured Week 14 against the St. Louis.

“I think it’s just doing it, just repping it and doing it every day, getting comfortable with it,” Mathieu said. “I think the angles and all that kind of stuff, it’ll come to me but for right now I have to rep it, have to get my steps down and just get eyes in the right spot.”

Mathieu said his mental game didn’t wane as much as his physical one while he recovered from the injury. Now it’s just a matter of getting both on the same page.

“More reps I get, the more comfortable I get,” Mathieu said. “Obviously I see things. I see things before it happens but it’s just all about getting back comfortable.”

Throughout his recovery, Mathieu’s goal was to play on “Monday Night Football” in Week 1 against San Diego, but Thursday he said he stopped looking at Sept. 8 as the end-all, be-all of his return and started approaching his return to game action a day at a time.

It’s a change of heart from the last nine months, but Mathieu said he’s leaving his return date up to his coaches and trainers.

“It’s kinda what to handle today,” Mathieu said. “Get through the day and then focus on the next day.”