During his introductory press conference Friday, new Arizona Cardinals special teams coordinator Amos Jones gushed over the opportunity to work with punt returner Patrick Peterson.
And why wouldn’t he be excited?
As a rookie, Peterson took the NFL by storm tying a league-record for most punt return touchdowns (4) in a season. Not to mention, all four went for 80 yards or longer.
Yet while Peterson dazzled fans in 2011 with his unique approach in the return game, which among other things included catching punts inside the five-yard line, 2012 wasn’t so kind to the former LSU standout.
In his sophomore campaign, Peterson fumbled/muffed seven kicks and lost possession on three separate occasions. To add insult to injury, he also failed to reach the end zone and finished with a disappointing 8.4 yards per return average.
Although Jones didn’t imply that Peterson’s role would change because of the coaching change, he did say the former No. 5 overall pick will have to adhere to a new set of guidelines.
“He’s an offensive guy on defense, but I’m just glad coach (Bruce Arians) told me I can use him,” Jones said. “He’s going to have parameters, they all will have parameters. Absolutely. You put your toes on the yard line that we decide and you make decisions.”
When pressed by Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Friday as to what those parameters will be, Jones didn’t go into great detail.
“Well I think goes back to not just Patrick, I don’t want to pick on a guy that’s a great player,” said Jones. “Because I’m excited to working with him. I think the biggest thing is learning the situational stuff coach Arians is going to teach this whole entire football team.
“One, it’s a team game. Two, even if you have a lot of great talent, you have to know and play the situations.”
Jones did say the onus lies with him and the rest of the staff to coach Peterson up in that department.
“I think you have to play situational football and put him in that in practice,” said Jones. “You have to make him understand that every ball can’t be a home run and every ball won’t be a home run.
“So, particularly when you’re playing back there as we were in Pittsburgh with a starter, you have to protect the football.”
Jones previously worked for the Steelers (2007-2012) as the team’s assistant special teams coach. However after he took over as the special teams coordinator in 2012, punt returner Antonio Brown actually saw his numbers go down (tied for 26th in average with 6.8 yards per return).