A lot was expected of rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson this season. Frankly, had Greg Toler not gotten hurt, Peterson would not have played as much as he did early (and for all those screaming for him to start right away, the growing pains through which he has played is exactly why the Cardinals’ coaches are hesitant in throwing rookies out there).
Did he turn a corner — pun intended — against the Steelers? His job was to cover speedy Mike Wallace and he did pretty well. The big play by Wallace, the 95-yard bomb, it was Richard Marshall and not Peterson on Wallace (and, after watching the replay, it looks like Marshall got caught cheating up and thinking about jumping an underneath route — the intended play to the Steelers fullback Ben Roethlisberger talked about afterward — which was too deadly of a start for Marshall to keep up with Wallace).
The rest of the day, Wallace didn’t make much of an impact.
“Patrick was very effective in the scheme,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He’s rough around the edges and he still has a lot of things to learn, but he’ll get better.”
Few teams have a pure deep guy like Wallace. Peterson obviously will have to work into other parts of his game, and he still needs to show more flashes of physical play that the Cards count on in this defense. But it’s the right direction. There is a long way to go with both he and A.J. Jefferson — Jefferson played pretty well in Minnesota, but he struggled against the Steelers — although both are going to get plenty of work the rest of this season to learn. (A better pass rush wouldn’t hurt either.) Bottom line, Peterson was the No. 5 overall pick — the Cards need him to turn into a star.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Patrick Peterson, Richard Marshall
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