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Friday, June 27, 2014
Patrick Peterson has room to grow

By Josh Weinfuss

He's a Pro Bowler.

Patrick Peterson
Cornerback Patrick Peterson could spend more time studying the game so he doesn't have to rely on his athletic ability so much, says coach Bruce Arians.
He's an All-Pro.

He plays offense, defense and special teams.

Seemingly, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson can do it all.

So, what -- if anything -- can Peterson do better? Apparently, more than you think.

Coach Bruce Arians was posed with the question during Cardinals' minicamp last month.

"Play off-coverage a little bit better, some of those things where [he] leans on athleticism; study the game, which he does a pretty good job of -- when you're as good as him, sometimes it's easy to rely on your athletic ability; and get your hands on more balls," Arians said.

That was that. Arians answered a question many who watch Peterson from the gray and red seats of University of Phoenix Stadium never thought there was a sufficient answer to. But there's always something a player can improve on, especially when a coach is asked.

One of the few criticisms of Peterson is that he relies on his athleticism more than his fundamentals, something Arians has obviously taken note. Peterson is quick, fast and strong, and can make up for mistakes in fundamentals with all of the above. Even when Arians mentioned Peterson can always get better at studying the game -- an area Peterson has improved in throughout his career -- Arians still refers to Peterson's reliance on his athleticism. And the final improvement Arians would like to see is a result of that athleticism, getting his hands on more footballs. Peterson had three interceptions and no fumble recoveries last season.

The question was a product of the discussion about what Peterson can -- and can't -- do on the field compared to other cornerbacks. So-called experts and pundits have judged Peterson and Arians doesn't agree with them.

"Those people [don't] know a damn thing about our defense and what we're asking him to do," Arians said. "I have to laugh when I see all these comparisons. Guys in defenses [are] doing different things and they have no clue what the coach is asking, whether he's doing the right thing or wrong thing and all of a sudden I see a grade. I don't know what that plus-three or plus-four s--- means."

Regardless of his stature and his resume, Peterson has room to grow and Arians won't let him forget about it.