It's easy to see why Arians is so thrilled with Mathieu, who has been the NFL's best all-around defensive back this season.
"He's all over the field. We ask him to do so much," Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "People don't realize how good a blitzer he is. He's a powerful little guy. He's got a little bull-rush to him. And he's slippery. He gets his hands on balls. I just love the passion he plays with."
After playing "with one arm and one leg" last season -- as Arians explained in May -- Mathieu has emerged as a litmus test for football analysts over the past two months. Those who have watched him play week-in and week-out understand he impacts the game as much as any defensive back, showcasing rare instincts, a high football IQ, toughness, top-notch ball skills, excellent range and natural ballhawking tendencies.
A versatile playmaker who free lances near the line of scrimmage, Mathieu currently holds the top spot among cornerbacks in coverage, run defense and pass rush, per Pro Football Focus' grades. We have never seen one defensive back with a clean sweep in all three of those categories.