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Bruce Arians: CB Justin Bethel a 'failure in progress'

Justin Bethel's stock is tumbling in Arizona.

Asked Monday if the Cardinals special-teamer's transition to cornerback remains a work-in-progress, coach Bruce Arians pulled no punches.

"It's a failure in progress," Arians said of Bethel.

Yes, Arians remains nestled safely atop our Power Ranking of Coaches Willing to be Perfectly Blunt. It's a Bill Parcells-level dose of honesty from a coach overtly frustrated with a team fading fast at 5-7-1 after Sunday's last-minute loss to the Dolphins.

Bethel has served as an outstanding special-teamer for the Cardinals during his five-year career in Arizona. The 2012 sixth-rounder made three Pro Bowls from 2013 to 2015 for his special-teams play before signing a three-year, $15 million deal with $9 million in guarantees last December.

This season, though, Bethel has graded out poorly at the cornerback position and seen his playing time swing up and down during a disappointing season. Arizona's special teams have also had their issues throughout the year.

It's a far cry from Arians, who two summers ago announced that Bethel "might have had the best spring of anybody."

Fellow defensive back Tyrann Mathieu went on to gush about his teammate last winter, saying: "I told you a number of times how I feel about (Bethel). Athletically, I feel like he's just as gifted as Pat (Peterson)."

It's a conceit that Arians, today, doesn't agree with.

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