Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson: I have to continue playing my game within the rules
TEMPE, Ariz. — According to Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, the referees called “a heck of a game” Sunday in New York.
He may be in the minority in thinking that, at least among fans and particularly those who make a living playing defense against wide receivers.
The new NFL, if you will, is geared toward more offense and more scoring, meaning less grabbing and less holding by defensive backs.
It was a point of emphasis in the preseason, and the edict has shown no signs of slowing down through the first two weeks of the regular season. Take the game Sunday, where the Cardinals and Giants combined for five illegal contact penalties, five defensive holding calls and two pass interference penalties.
No one appeared more frustrated by the yellow laundry on the field than Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who found himself on the wrong end of the whistle a couple of times.
“The refs are calling the game correctly for the most part,” he said Wednesday. “But as DBs, we’ve just got to make sure we play within the rules. Keep our hands off them, play within the guidelines and practice that habit.”
On the Giants go-ahead scoring drive in the third quarter, Peterson and Jerraud Powers were both penalized for defensive holding, though Powers’ call was declined. While pleading his case, Peterson pumped field judge Jon Lucivansky. There was no flag and subsequently no fine, according to Peterson, who three plays later received his second pass interference penalty after he intentionally grabbed Victor Cruz in the end zone to prevent a touchdown pass.
The Giants scored on the very next play to take a 14-10 lead.
“I thought it was probably his poorest game since I’ve been here. He got frustrated and let the referees get to him,” Arians said.
Peterson did not disagree.
“I let the refs get to me. I didn’t compose myself throughout the game,” he said. “But after that series, that bonehead series on my behalf — me being selfish, not thinking of the team — that’s probably the poorest he’s seen me.
“[However] I felt my technique in the game was solid. I gave up that one play (in the second quarter). I was looking for the back-shoulder and he threw it over (the top). Eli (Manning) made a nice throw and it was a great catch (by Rueben Randle). I’m still hurting over that. But I’ve got to move forward.”
A new challenge awaits Peterson and the Cardinals secondary this week against the San Francisco 49ers, a team that lines up Michael Crabtree on one side, Anquan Boldin on the other, and features new additions Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd. And don’t forget about tight end Vernon Davis.
“These guys have weapons everywhere,” Peterson said, “so as a secondary we just have to make sure we’re going in fundamentally sound and making sure that we understand the assignment and what we have to do to slow these guys down.”
Playing at home should help.
Peterson said “everything is against you” on the road, where “games are going to be called a little tighter” against the visiting team.
“I have to continue playing my game within those rules,” he added. “If they call it, they call it sometimes. I’m playing football. At the end of the day, I just have to — for the most part, I have to make sure I keep my hands off these receivers, make sure I play within the five-yard rules (and) we’ll see what happens.”