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No Tom Brady, But Cardinals Defensive With Patriots

Notes: Backup Garoppolo gets first career start; Mathieu ready; Brandon Williams to start at CB

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Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (right) will make his first career start with Tom Brady suspended.


Tom Brady has left the building in New England.

The Patriots' star quarterback began serving his four-game suspension for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal on Saturday, and the reins have been turned over to backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

The former second-round pick will get his first career start on Sunday Night Football against the Cardinals, but Brady didn't give any sage advice before departing.

"It wasn't anything crazy," Garoppolo told the New England media. "It was just goodbye and good luck, really."

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians isn't feeling conflicted about not seeing Brady. Arians has played plenty of games without his starting quarterback, most recently when Carson Palmer tore his ACL midway through 2014.

Arians faced a situation similar to the Patriots in 2010, when he was the offensive coordinator of a Steelers team which needed to replace a suspended Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games. The Steelers went 3-1 with a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch under center.

"I've been in situations the same way that they're in," Arians said. "You play who you've got and you go out and formulate a game plan and expect to win. I don't think they are coming here expecting to lose."

The tape on Garoppolo is not extensive, so the Cardinals have dissected every snap of his career. Arians compared Garoppolo to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

"Not a really powerful deep throwing arm, but very accurate and gets it out of his hand fast," Arians said. "Tony was the same way coming out and had a lot of success early. Athletic with their legs. It got Tony broken up a bit, but Jimmy's not there yet."

Linebacker Chandler Jones played in New England a season ago and has shared with the team his insight on Garoppolo, although Arians said it's not a huge advantage. Jones said he's seen Garoppolo enough to know the Cardinals must take him seriously.

"He's not Tom Brady," Jones said. "He's a different quarterback. But I have seen him make some great throws this preseason and even in my years in New England. He made some great throws in practice that I can recall. He's not a slouch. He's definitely not a slouch."

BIG THINGS EXPECTED FROM MATHIEU IN OPENER

It took about half a season for safety Tyrann Mathieu to get back to full speed coming off his first ACL tear in 2014, but Arians has high expectations beginning with Sunday's opener this time around.

Arians expects Mathieu – who wasn't on the first injury report of 2016 on Wednesday -- to play every defensive snap against New England. When asked what he's seen to justify that confidence, Arians said "about two interceptions every day. He flies around and makes every check, has the energy and passion that he always has."

It's been an easier recovery for Mathieu, who tore several ligaments in his knee in his original injury and had never gone through such intensive rehabilitation.

"He knew what to expect this time," Arians said. "Last time was the first time he was ever hurt. This time it was a lot easier. He's played in a brace before and it's a better brace this time. Better technology. So it's easier for him."

WILLIAMS GETS STARTING CORNERBACK NOD

Justin Bethel was the projected starter at the second cornerback spot heading into training camp, but a foot injury has limited his practice time.

Bethel is expected to play against the Patriots but it is rookie Brandon Williams who will get the start, Arians said. Williams was the team's third-round draft choice and has only one season of experience at the position.

Arians said he's fully aware Williams will get picked on a lot and was asked if he is ready for it.

"He's the best we've got, so he better be," Arians said.

INJURY UPDATE

Linebacker Kareem Martin won't play against the Patriots and is about two or three weeks away from a return from his sprained knee, Arians said.

Running back Stepfan Taylor (knee) and linebacker Lamar Louis (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday. Defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (neck) and Bethel (foot) were limited participants.

For the Patriots, guard Jonathan Cooper, who was acquired from the Cardinals in the Jones trade, was limited with a foot injury. Others listed as limited participants were tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), defensive lineman Trey Flowers (shoulder), guard Shaq Mason (hand), linebacker Shea McClellin (shoulder), wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) and tackle Nate Solder (hamstring).

The ten players who were signed to the Cardinals' practice squad after final cuts



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