Playing in a secondary that boasts a pair of All-Pro players comes with a great deal of pressure, but cornerback Damarri Mathis has embraced the chance to team up with and learn from some of the league's best defensive backs.
Last season, Mathis started 11 games as a rookie fourth-rounder and saw plenty of action opposite first-team All-Pro selection Pat Surtain II and alongside second-team All-Pro safety Justin Simmons. In an interview with 9News, Mathis explained why working alongside Surtain has been so beneficial to his own development.
"Pat's an all-around corner, he can do it all," Mathis said. "He can shut out your top receiver, he can tackle. He's smart. I learned a lot from him last year because he played a lot of ball. I feel like we complement each other well. We're both technical, smart players, physical and we can run. I feel like we have some of the same abilities but I'm still trying to work to get to his level."
Surtain's standout sophomore campaign caught the attention of the league, and Mathis anticipates seeing more passes come his own way as a result. He's taking a confident approach to what is sure to be a pivotal role.
"I know I'm going to get a lot of action," Mathis said. "It comes with the territory, the position. Cornerback, you've got to have a lot of swag, a lot of confidence. I have that. I'm ready for whatever. I'm going to continue with the task at hand and do my job against whoever's in front of me."
Now in his second training camp, Mathis said that his own practice style has aligned well with the intensity Head Coach Sean Payton has instilled each day.
"It's a lot more intense," Mathis said. "You can just feel it when [Payton] got here. He's about business, that's the best way I can sum it up. He's straight to the point and I feel like I'm the same type of player so it's good for me, personally."
Read more about Mathis’ perspective on his second year here.