It’s hard to say, at this point of the preseason, how many time we’ll see Patrick Peterson taking offensive snaps, but it seems everyone involved with the Arizona Cardinals seems to think that the player who has made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner and a cornerback is good enough to do it as a wide receiver as well.
Bruce Arians saw he had someone too good to pass on. An athlete that is one of the best in the NFL, who has turned into one of the best cornerbacks in the league during his second NFL season. A shut down corner is great, but when there’s just too much speed, athleticism and natural talent to overlook, having him watching from the sidelines while the Cardinals play offense is simply a luxury Arians couldn’t afford.
So Peterson has been lining up as a wide receiver or in the backfield, catching passes all over the place, even over the middle. With Larry Fitzgerlad and Michael Floyd the Cardinals have a pass-offense that should be respected. Carson Palmer is also probably a better quarterback than what the team had in the previous season. Now with Peterson? There won’t be any wildcat planned for him like we saw a few times from Ken Whisenhunt, but Arians has plenty of plays drawn up for Peterson.
Now he’s actually being compared to Percy Harvin by his quarterback, while Peterson himself is pretty confident he can do any skill position on the field. Arians? He said he has about 15 plays designed for Peterson, but we won’t see too many of them each week. It probably depends on how successful he’ll be once real competition will be facing him on the opposing side.
The Cards’ increased depth at secondary, with the additions of Antoine Cason and Jerraud Powers to the team, should allow Peterson some more rest and maybe more time on the offensive side of the ball. He’s still a shut down corner, first and foremost, but it seems like his talents are too good to pass after a season in which the Cardinals struggled putting points on the board, partially due to a terrible job by the offensive line.
Is Peterson the difference between being bottom feeders in the NFC West once more and competing with the Rams and even the 49ers or the Seahawks next season? There’s a lot more the Cardinals need, including a running game, but Peterson might be able to contribute there as well, and there’s no doubt Arians is planning on giving everyone a chance to see just how much a cornerback can help a team’s offense.
Peterson himself thinks this gives him the opportunity to become better as a cornerback as well.
Now I get a chance to see what the receiver’s point of view is in trying to attack defensive backs, and having that head start on defensive backs. For those wanting to see some more creativity in NFL coaching, Peterson becoming a hit as a wide receiver as well might be the best thing they can hope for to happen next season.