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No gimmick here: Patrick Peterson will be key cog in Arizona Cardinals’ offense

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Playing on offense is nothing new to Patrick Peterson.

Though a defensive back by trade, the former LSU star got some time there in college as well as his first two years in the NFL.

That’s what happens when you have his kind of size, speed and abilities with the ball in his hands.

Anyway, Peterson’s time on offense in the NFL has been rather nondescript, as he’s tallied just three rushing attempts for 13 yards and four receptions for 10 yards.

You can probably expect those numbers to rise this season, as new Cardinals coach not only plans to use Peterson on offense, but use him a lot. If the number of snaps he’s received as a receiver during training camp isn’t an indication, the volume of plays he’s having to learn certainly is.

“He told me he was going to give me a share of plays on the offensive side,” Peterson said Thursday about what Arians told him early on. “I didn’t know it was going to be this many. I think now we’re up to 60 plays.”

That’s a far cry from what it seemed like Peterson would run in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense, which was mostly bubble screens and swing passes, with the occasional deep route.

“The thing that’s intriguing to me about the plays that I’m in there,” Peterson said, “I’m not going in there just to get the ball. I can be in there as a decoy, I can be in there to open up more plays and open up the field for other guys and take the top of the coverages.”

Sounds like Peterson will be a real receiver, not a gimmick.

Of course, Peterson was drafted for his coverage skills, and the last thing anyone wants is for the Pro Bowler to slip on defense for the sake of his offense. That is not a concern the 23-year-old shares, though, as he believes he’s in good enough shape to handle the workload.

In fact, he believes learning how to play offense will help him be better on defense.

“It’s definitely an advantage, learning the route combinations, the stems, the alignment, where guys want to line up to plant to run certain routes,” he said. “It’s definitely huge for me to be learning that as well as going out there trying to defend it.”

Peterson, who intercepted seven passes last season while emerging as one of the best young defensive backs in football, may not need the help. Yet, he’s getting it, though the main idea is that he’s able to help the team score points, rather than prevent them.

As for as his progress there, Peterson said he has plenty to learn but is very comfortable with his role on that side of the ball. Given the number of practice reps he’s received as a wideout during training camp, that makes sense.

“I’m definitely getting my workload and getting my share of plays on offense,” Peterson said. “I’m more than happy to get a shot on the offensive side of the ball.”