Patrick Peterson: Sound situational football vital to Cardinals’ success
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson addressed Larry Fitzgerald’s positive COVID-19 test and the team’s need to play fundamental football to make the postseason.
Peterson, appearing on Tuesday’s episode of his podcast All Things Covered, said that losing Fitzgerald on Thanksgiving impacted everything from the team’s passing and running schemes to the overall mood in the team’s locker room on Sunday.
“I think it definitely impacted our game plan on some of the things that we wanted to do. Because we know how valuable Larry is in that slot position as far as catching the ball and he’s also involved in the run game,” Peterson said.
“So I think missing him was very, very vital to our loss on Sunday. But at the end of the day we’re not the only team going through that. We’ve got to find a way to roll with the punches.”
Peterson added that the team’s message leading up to their game against the Patriots was to go out there and win for Fitzgerald, who missed the seventh game of his 17-year NFL career on Sunday.
“We know the preparation that he puts in, how much he cares about us and we know that he’s going to be watching,” he said.
“So whoever’s in his position, don’t let him down. That was my message to the guys going in. But at the end of the day, we have to make sure that we’re prepared for that because at the same time you don’t know when [positive COVID-19 cases are] going to happen.”
Playing fundamental football
Peterson said the Cardinals must play sound situational football in order to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2015.
The former LSU Tiger cited the team’s failed 4th-and-goal attempt at the Patriots’ 1-yard-line before halftime as a key example of how the little elements of the game can be the difference between winning and making the playoffs, versus losing and ending the year on a sour note.
“You have to be a very sound situational football team because at the end of the day when you don’t execute in those situational periods of the game, 9 times out of 10 it comes back to bite you,” Peterson said.
“And we didn’t get the points at the inch yard line before halftime and I loved the aggressive call by coach. Obviously we got all the way down there and as a defensive player I can respect that, going for it there, but for the most part I just think as a team, if we want to take that next step, we have to get better at situational football.”
Peterson’s message to the rest of the team is simple: Playoff football starts long before the Wild Card round in January.
“It’s playoff football every single game, I don’t care who you’re playing, AFC, NFC, it’s literally any given Sunday,” Peterson said. “And I think and I know that we’ll get better this week because we got better this previous game at situational football.
“We just weren’t able to execute as far as getting the points or making the field goal or things like that. And all of that, to a man, we have to do a better job as a team as a whole of making sure that we hit our pitch when it comes.”