Thursday, December 1, 2011
Five-star: McBriar, gunners hold Patrick Peterson
By Calvin Watkins
Five-star question: Will Patrick Peterson, averaging 19.2 per punt return the past four games with three touchdowns, hit his average or return a punt for a touchdown Sunday against the Cowboys?
Patrick Peterson is an outstanding punt returner. He's got vision, speed and the ability to break tackles on most returns. But he's had some issues. He's fumbled, been stopped for negative yards and in the last five games has five fair catches.
Mat McBriar should contain Peterson on Sunday at Arizona with high kicks, forcing him to fair catch and with punts to the sidelines which forces him against the sidelines making it easier for the gunners to tackle him.
McBriar has faced dangerous punt returners in the past most notably, Chicago's Devin Hester, considered one of the best in the league, who has a better punts-per-return average than Peterson this season.
In the last two meetings vs. McBriar, Hester has three returns for a total of negative four yards, a fair catch and a muffed punt.
It's not like these returners are unstoppable and the Cowboys special teams unit has played well at times, it's just that long returns has hurt their average in 2011. McBriar has a good group in front of him that should contain Peterson Sunday.
If not, expect a long, long, long day.