Before Patrick Peterson got hurt Sunday night, he was once again playing excellent cornerback, making life very hard for Bengals start wide receiver A.J. Green. Then he hurt his ankle, and General Manager Steve Keim said Monday morning on his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports that he had no new news and that Peterson was getting an MRI. But just listening to Keim, it drives home the critical nature of having Peterson — or potentially not having him — in the lineup.
“Last year, some of the concerns with Patrick … (were) issues with consistency,” Keim said. “A lot of it had to do with playing weight. He came back in phenomenal shape. Now his level of consistency, he’s taken to a whole different level.” And that’s even putting Peterson in “some really tough positions” on an island so the defense can do things elsewhere on the field.
If Peterson can’t go, the most likely scenario is Justin Bethel stepping in to the lineup and the Cardinals using former Arizona State corner Robert Nelson Jr., who has been on the roster but inactive the last two games. Nelson played for the Browns a little last season.
Other Keim thoughts from the win over the Bengals:
— The storyline that excited Keim the most (perhaps not all that surprisingly) was the big game from the rookie class. Led by J.J. Nelson and Markus Golden, the draftees were good, and that’s with No. 1 pick D.J. Humphries still inactive.
— The turnaround in the game started with Carson Palmer, Keim said, but he also said the Cardinals’ offensive line finally starting matching the intensity and physicality of the Bengals’ defensive line in the second half.
— Keim noted that defensive coordinator James Bettcher did a nice job dialing up some pressure on Bengals QB Andy Dalton, but it also left the Cards susceptible to mismatches — notably linebacker Kevin Minter trying to cover quick running back Gio Bernard. (That didn’t go so well most of the night.)
The Cardinals are talented, and Keim has noticed all the national analysts suggesting the Cardinals might have the most talented roster in the league. But “all I see is holes,” he said. “Areas where we need to improve, where we need to get better.” Not shockingly, those start up front — a better pass rush, and more consistency in pass protection.
— As for the national attention that’s beginning to build, “you have to embrace it when you consider where we’ve come from,” he said.
— The record of 8-2 is nice, Keim said, but it’s nothing right now.
“We haven’t arrived,” Keim said. “We haven’t won any championships yet. Last year was a great lesson for us, starting 9-1 and having things crumble away.”
Tags: Carson Palmer, J.J. Nelson, James Bettcher, Markus Golden, Patrick Peterson, Steve Keim
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