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‘I hear the chatter’: P2 says Browns game was more than OBJ matchup

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) celebrates his interception in the end zone against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. — There’s no doubt that Patrick Peterson wanted to show out Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Odell Beckham Jr. stood across from him, a fellow LSU product and one of the best receivers in the NFL, yet one who the Arizona Cardinals cornerback had never matched up against. But Peterson’s seven-tackle, one-interception performance that earned him an NFC Defensive Player of the Week nod was about more than that.

In an up-and-down year, it was about showing up the doubters.

“I hear the chatter,” he said.

As in, the significance of an individual performance in a game that Arizona won 38-24 was about more than besting Beckham Jr.?

“No doubt about it,” Peterson said. “Like I said, I hear the chatter.”

The chatter goes something like this: After a six-game PED suspension, Peterson didn’t look like his old self.

Sometimes it was about not hustling. Other times he looks indecisive about a coverage. And then there were times he just looked slow.

There’s truth in that. But Peterson apparently didn’t take kindly to the chatter that he was no longer capable of being an elite cover corner.

Those red flags didn’t appear against the Browns. Peterson stopped Cleveland’s opening drive in the end zone with his pick and got close to two more interceptions.

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield went 5-of-11 when throwing Peterson’s way, according to Pro Football Focus. That amounted to 38 yards.

Mic’d up during the game, the Cardinals cornerback was caught reciting some of that chatter that he heard, be it from fans or media members.

“They said, ‘you ain’t got it no more,'” he screamed on the sideline. “That’s the word on the street. They said I lost a step. That’s the word around town: I lost a step.”

On Thursday, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph spoke about how Peterson “never denied that he wasn’t playing his best” and owned his bad plays and bad games. That showed when the microphones were on mid-game as well.

“I will not (expletive) let you down again,” Peterson told Joseph, hugging his first-year DC.

After the Cleveland game, Peterson said his legs were “finally coming back,” citing reassurance from strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris that it would take time.

But on Thursday, Peterson also said he’s catching up when it comes to Joseph’s scheme. Multiple times, he complimented his defensive coordinator for making the adjustments and doing more to practice the specific coverages that would be used for that week’s game.

Not only is Joseph’s defense in the first year of implementation, but Peterson’s PED suspension for six games kept him completely off the grid and away from any changes made to the scheme, both the DC and cornerback pointed out.

“It wasn’t necessarily my legs for the most part. My legs are feeling great now,” Peterson said Thursday. “It’s just really getting the terminology, how they want me to play certain techniques, understanding different leverages they wanted us to play in this scheme.”

Regardless of the reason, Arizona certainly would like to get such a driven and productive Peterson as it got for the Browns game for the final two games of 2019 and beyond.

“I’m happy for Pat because he kept pushing,” Joseph said.

Phillips Law Group

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