Cornerback Patrick Peterson’s week seven debut should provide a tremendous lift for the Arizona Cardinals defensive group
Vance Joseph‘s first campaign as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals is not going well. The assistant coach was dealt an unfortunate blow early on when it was announced that Patrick Peterson would miss the first six games of 2019. The stud cornerback tested positive for PEDs, prompting the NFL to suspend the Cards top defender.
Thankfully, the punishment is almost over. Peterson will make his season debut next weekend, when Arizona travels to New Jersey to meet the New York Giants. Joseph, who has presided over a struggling Cardinals defense, is set to benefit the most from Peterson’s return to the squad.
The eight-time Pro Bowler has been a standout member of the Cards secondary since 2011. Former general manager Rod Graves selected Peterson with the fifth-overall pick of the draft, an acquisition that will go down as one of the best in the organization’s history. The extremely durable player had recorded 128 straight professional starts for Arizona until this season.
Peterson’s main responsibility over the past eight years has been to shadow the opponents’ best wide receiver on a weekly basis. That’s an incredibly tough task, but one that the 6’1, 203 pounder has taken on with both confidence and enthusiasm.
The Cardinals pass defense has been manhandled at times without the outstanding Peterson. Arizona’s defensive backfield has also been affected by the absence of Robert Alford, a free agent cornerback who broke his tibia back in August. Tramaine Brock and Byron Murphy have done their best to pick up the slack, but obviously cannot provide the stellar play that an individual like Peterson can.
Arizona’s defense should improve substantially when Peterson returns to the playing field. Difference-makers like the former LSU Tiger certainly don’t grow on trees. In a matter of days, Joseph will get to see how special the extraordinary Peterson really is.