Patrick Peterson: Cardinals in press coverage more on Day 1 than all of 2018

Jul 26, 2019, 4:55 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm

Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, right, and Deatrick Nichols, left, share a laugh as...

Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, right, and Deatrick Nichols, left, share a laugh as the Cardinals NFL football team players and coaches meet on the field at State Farm Stadium Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Patrick Peterson already made it clear he will enjoy playing under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

In January during the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he shared the anecdote of an opposing receiver wondering why Peterson and the Cardinals weren’t playing press coverage. Sitting back in the zone-heavy defense under head coach Steve Wilks made opponents’ jobs a bit easier, the Arizona cornerback was told.

Peterson reiterated his distaste for that scheme again on Friday during the second day of training camp, invoking the names of two of the Cardinals’ three previous defensive coordinators. In doing so, he didn’t mention last year’s defensive figureheads, head coach Steve Wilks and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb.

“(Joseph is) going to put me on the best guy, we’re going to press a ton,” Peterson said, comparing this year’s scheme to former DC’s Todd Bowles and James Bettcher. “I told (a teammate) … I said, ‘Man, we pressed yesterday more in this practice than we did all last season.’

“We’re getting back to Cardinal football, especially on defense.”

Of course, Peterson won’t be with Arizona through the first six weeks of the season as he serves his PED suspension.

Through two days of camp, he has earned a heavy dose of reps as the starter, but undrafted second-year pro Chris Jones has most notably filled in with the first team. Jones and second-round pick Byron Murphy, who is still being overloaded by learning multiple positions, are likely the candidates to play in place of Peterson.

Peterson said he expects to play during the preseason, but he and head coach Kliff Kingsbury haven’t mapped out specific snap-counts for practices or the preseason games. That could come closer to the regular season, when the Cardinals must get their regular season starters prepared.

The challenge for the eight-time Pro Bowler down the road is remaining engaged. Through two practices without pads, he’s done just that.

Peterson picked off a Kyler Murray deep ball during 7-on-7 drills Friday.

“I have to make the young fella pay every once in a while,” Peterson said. “Get in a good rhythm. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t want to get all bored like it was over the years past. If I’m able to stay focused and hone in on the little things, I can be the best player I can be.”

When the regular season nears and Peterson’s suspension begins, it will be “painful to watch” his teammates play.

All the while, he’ll be challenged with staying mentally sharp without access to the team’s iPad playbooks, the practice facility and weight room.

“I take pride in being in shape. My conditioning will always be tip-top shape,” he said. “I have to find ways to make sure that I’m well-engaged with the game, my movements. I’m (going to) practice just as these guys are practicing.”

He just will have to use his personal hot tub and find a football field to work out on up to two hours a day.

For what it’s worth, Peterson says his trade request last season and brief voluntary camp absence this spring that coincided with the news of his suspension are in the past. He’s committed to the Cardinals, in good relations with the team’s leadership and excited to prep his younger teammates to take his spot on a temporary basis as he serves his punishment.

“Obviously I can’t take that back. The thing that I’m looking forward to is just moving forward,” he said.

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Western Governors University

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Western Governors University

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Patrick Peterson: Cardinals in press coverage more on Day 1 than all of 2018