After Patrick Peterson made a pair of interceptions last week in Tampa, coach Bruce Arians called Peterson the best cornerback in the game. That shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It’s certainly a topic that has come up before. Peterson certainly has a lot of confidence in himself. Sometimes, he’s a little more vague about his place in the pecking order than others. Sometimes, he talks about being the best cornerback in the game or wanting to be the best cornerback in the game. It never sounds over-the-top. Most of the time, he sounds matter of fact. He said it on a recent appearance on profootballtalk.com’s daily video show.
“I definitely feel like I am the best corner in the game. I just want to continue getting better every week,” Peterson said. “I believe if I do my job to the best of my ability, which is going out there and not letting the opponent’s number one receiver to get off and have a big game, I believe we have a big opportunity of winning the ball game.”
Peterson added that if can compete going against the opponent’s best receiver every game, “then there’s no question that you are the number one defensive back in the league.”
Of course, that’s debatable. There are plenty of backers of Darrelle Revis in Tampa and Richard Sherman in Seattle. Certainly, Sherman is excellent — although it would be interesting to swap these guys around into the different defenses for which they play and see if that impacts the play. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact Peterson is one of the biggest keys on the defense. Nor the fact he aches to improve so that he can take some of the doubt out of such debates.
“He’s getting better and better, not that he wasn’t any good,” said Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, against whom Peterson will most likely match up Sunday. “He has confidence in himself and his abilities, and why would he not? His play shows it.”
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman
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The last time — the only time — Larry Fitzgerald went to Revis Island, it wasn’t even an island yet. It was still just young, promising cornerback Darrelle Revis, like Fitzgerald a University of Pittsburgh product and No. 1 pick of the New York Jets. Fitz had eight catches for 122 yards that day in New York, but Revis had two interceptions of Kurt Warner — returning one for a touchdown — and two pass deflections. The Jets took a 34-0 lead at halftime and ended up with a 56-35 win. Revis’ first pick was intended for tight end Ben Patrick. His second was on the final play of the game, a pass thrown to Fitz that had little meaning behind it since just a few moments before, Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin had had his jaw shattered.
Fitz and Revis hadn’t had a chance to see each other since. Last year in New York, Revis had long been down with his torn knee ligament, and it’s not like the Jets’ defense needed help on Fitz given the Cards’ bad quarterback situation. The Cards scored just six points that day.
So now Fitzgerald gets a real chance at Revis Island when the Cards visit Tampa Bay, Revis’ new home, Sunday.
“This is the best defense in general we have faced all season,” Fitzgerald said. “Darelle is playing at an elite level as always. I don’t see any difference in his play.”
Revis has played since the opener coming off his knee surgery. He plays a Fitzgerald who is practicing fully this week after suffering his hamstring pull. Fitz had a team-best five catches and 64 yards in New Orleans, but certainly, it wouldn’t hurt if the Cards could use him more and surely, Fitz would like that himself.
“I know Larry very well,” Revis said. “I know him personally and it’s cool, it’s competition, I’ve played him before, a couple years ago. I’m excited he’s healthy and I’m excited he’s back (from injury), so it’s going to be fun. Whoever I line up on — You never know, I might not line up on Larry — but whatever the game plan is and what we’re doing is for us to execute a winning game.”
One interesting coincidence: The last time Fitzgerald and Revis played against each other? It came at the end of the Cardinals spending a week away from Arizona between games on the East coast — just like this week.
Tags: Buccaneers, Darrelle Revis, Jets, Larry Fitzgerald
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Patrick Peterson was blunt when asked about wanting to have an NFL “island” as a cornerback, a la Darrelle Revis. “I don’t want an island,” he said. “I want a universe.” Alrighty then. That’s a pretty big area. You have to assume, in such a universe, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would have to be part of the equation.
Just what will the Cardinals have with the DRC/PP combination – not yet forgetting Greg Toler, who won’t have the draft pedigree of the other two but arguably will be the best tackler? (We have yet to see what Peterson brings to the table in terms of tackling, but for now, keep the DRC comments to yourself.)
Because neither has been around, it’s difficult to get a feel for how the duo – or trio, including Toler – will fit together. Here’s what we know: DRC acknowledged last season he didn’t play as well as he could or should have, and he must improve (note I didn’t say “master”) the art of tackling. Toler can play physically, but he remains raw as a cornerback. Peterson has to learn the NFL game period.
The last time the Cards took a cornerback high in the draft, Antrel Rolle certainly entered a different situation. The starting cornerbacks at the time were David Macklin and Robert Tate, and with all due respect to those guys, DRC and Toler are a better duo. The year the Cards took Rolle, they also took Eric Green in the third round, which shows you how much they needed cornerbacks. Rolle was late arriving to camp but was still going to jump into the lineup sooner rather than later; this was Dennis Green as coach. He had no problem thrusting rookies in the lineup. Peterson has Ken Whisenhunt as coach, and if anything, Whisenhunt has shown he’ll slow it down for rookies and playing time if he has a feasible alternative and Toler qualifies.
(Toler, at the least, should be able to be a solid nickel cornerback in a league where three cornerbacks are often needed.)
One thing is guaranteed, and that’s the confidence both DRC and Peterson own. Perfect for their position, and necessary. As has been noted many times, whomever plays cornerback will need a steady pass rush to achieve high-profile status. But if DRC can take his 2009 season and ratchet it up, and Peterson becomes the player everyone keeps saying he should be, high expectations should be the bar the two are able to reach.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Darrelle Revis, David Macklin, Dennis Green, DRC, Eric Green, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, Patrick Peterson, Robert Tate
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