When the Arizona Cardinals signed free agent guard Evan Mathis, they set out to accomplish two things. One is the obvious one -- upgrade the play at right guard, which has needed upgrading for a few years. Between Paul Fanaika, Jonathan Cooper and Ted Larsen, most would say the play has been bearable at best.
Mathis is a two-time Pro Bowler and was also an All-Pro in 2013. He grades out very highly in run blocking.
But the on-field performance is not the only thing. The Cardinals also signed him to help with the development of 2015 first round pick D.J. Humphries, who is slated to start at right tackle.
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin spoke to the media on Tuesday and explained Mathis' role in the development of the young tackle.
"One of the thing I told Evan what I wanted him to do was help D.J. grow up," he said about a dinner the team had with Mathis before signing him. "The first meeting (when the team reported), Evan walked into the room and mandated that D.J. sit next to him."
Since then, the two of them have worked out with team strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris.
Goodwin said "it's huge having someone who can talk to him, calm him down, and then, from a D.J. standpoint, you get to see a Pro Bowl player work every day."
One of the biggest things that was Humphries' issue last year was his maturity. Goodwin said Humphries "has matured a whole bunch," although he did note he doesn't think "he is quite there" in terms of total maturity in the league.
However, with Mathis by his side in practice, in the locker room, in the meeting room and on the field, "D.J. has no choice but to grow up."