Cornerback Jerraud Powers returns his interception last weekend against the Jaguars.
Jerraud Powers snared the pass in Jacksonville, and all the cornerback could think was "Finally."
"I was overdue," the cornerback said. "I've been in too good of coverage in so many games not to get it. A couple times I've been breaking on routes and the quarterback puts it just past my fingertips."
The first interception of the season came at a good time, leading into the Cardinals' game against Powers' old team – the Indianapolis Colts – Sunday. Powers left the Colts this past offseason to sign a three-year free-agent deal with Arizona and start opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Powers has not been flashy. But defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said he's been exactly what the Cardinals need.
"He's quiet and doesn't get a lot of credit, but he does a heck of a job over there," Bowles said. "He is one of our more
unsung heroes. He's the ultimate professional. He's one of the intangible pieces we really like."
Powers had been a starter in Indianapolis but various injuries tended to cut short his seasons. This year he has stayed healthy, totaling 41 tackles (fifth on the team) and being credited by coaches with 19 passes defensed, second on the team to Peterson's 22.
"I think I have done my job," Powers said. "I am just trying to make this team better anyway possible. It will really satisfy me if we can get to the playoffs."
Powers shrugged off the game against the Colts on a personal level, saying there would be plenty of time to reminisce with former teammates afterward. Instead, he is proud of the transformation the Cardinals have made knowing the franchise struggled so much last year – it's Powers' second straight year to be on such a team after the Colts turned it around from their miserable 2011 season a year ago.
This week, Powers emphasized, is about the Cardinals making their record 7-4. And maybe he can get another interception in the process.
"(My teammates) joke with me in practice because sometimes I drop a few because of my jammed thumbs," Powers said. "They're like, 'Wow, we didn't even know you could snatch a ball like that.' I'm saying, 'There's a reason I got recruited in high school to play both ways.' "
BETHEL A GAME-DAY DECISION FOR CARDS
Special-teams ace Justin Bethel, who had sat out Thursday's practice because of his concussion, returned on a limited basis Friday and will be questionable for Sunday.
"Justin is much, much better," coach Bruce Arians said. "He'll be a game-day decision."
Arians said the Cardinals have "multiple" people who can cover if Bethel cannot play, including new signee Bryan McCann who Arians said "it's like he hasn't missed a beat" since being cut by the Cards at the end of training camp. But if Bethel can't go, it will hurt, Arians acknowledged, "because he's special."
Jacksonville's Will Blackmon, who delivered the illegal blindside block that gave Bethel the concussion, was fined $21,000 by the NFL for the play.
Wide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring) is also questionable. Everyone else for the Cardinals – who were missing linebacker Karlos Dansby Friday for a personal reason – is probable to play.
For the Colts, former Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler will miss the game with his lingering groin injury, while fullback Stanley Havilli (concussion) and linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle) are both out as well. Running back Trent Richardson (calf), safety Laron Landry (toe) and cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) are all questionable.
COLTS INSIST RICHARDSON IS VALUABLE
The Colts traded away their first-round pick for 2014 to get running back Trent Richardson from the Browns earlier this season, and not only is he banged up with the calf problem, Richardson has not performed well.
Richardson is averaging just 2.8 yards a carry (272 yards on 96 attempts) while backup Donald Brown is gaining 5.9 yards a play (323 yards on 55 attempts). It's reminiscent of the Cardinals, where starter Rashard Mendenhall is averaging 2.9 yards a carry and Andre Ellington is at 6.2 yards an attempt.
But like Arians with Mendenhall, both Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano were steadfast in their defense of Richardson.
"I think some of the criticism is unfair of his stat line," Luck said. "I don't think that folks are seeing the bigger picture."
Luck said that included Richardson churning out difficult inside yards and making receptions out of the backfield. He also said he expects Richardson's numbers to improve.
"He hasn't been here that long," Pagano said. "It's just a matter of time before he hits his stride and has that breakout game."