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Cardinals prepare to begin phasing out CB Patrick Peterson

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 08: Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson will soon begin taking a backseat even though his suspension due to a positive PED test doesn’t begin until the regular season.

It’s not the most ideal way for him to remain sharp before stepping away from the team for six weeks, but it’s necessary to get his replacements, Tramaine Brock and Byron Murphy, ready.

“As we build towards Week 1, we wanted to make sure those guys are getting enough reps to feel comfortable,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. “Now it’s kind of their time to step up and take over while he’s out.”

Peterson said he likely won’t play in the third preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Minnesota Vikings and certainly will sit out the preseason finale on Thursday, Aug. 29, against the Broncos.

That means Arizona’s next game, on Thursday at home facing the Oakland Raiders, might be the cornerback’s last taste of NFL game action until Oct. 20, when the Cardinals visit the New York Giants.

“We already had these discussions, leading up to this point,” Peterson said. “It’s getting to that point now, we have to start getting whoever’s going to be that guy (ready) — I think it’s probably going to be Brock.”

The 30-year-old Brock didn’t play a significant role for Minnesota (2017) or Denver (2018) over the last two seasons but in 2016 recorded a career-high 69 tackles for the San Francisco 49ers, the team he began his NFL career with in 2010.

Murphy, the rookie second-round pick, is still in the running for a starting cornerback role, Kingsbury said, but even if he falls short will be the slot defensive back in nickel packages. That duo will provide the Cardinals will options as Robert Alford slots into the No. 1 cornerback role.

Second-year pro Chris Jones, who had a strong spring and training camp, can also make a preseason push to compete for snaps if injuries hit. So can Brandon Williams, the 2016 third-round pick who just came off the PUP list.

That group will be relied upon more for the final two weeks of the preseason and into the regular season. But when Peterson’s suspension is lifted, he’s going to jump back into the fray immediately, his head coach said.

“We know what Pat is and what he can do,” Kingsbury said. “He’s been great in camp so far, the way he has worked and helped those young guys, so now it’s their time to step up and take over while he’s out.”

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