The Cardinals knows Patrick Peterson is a shutdown corner. This season, the team wants him to be a big time playmaker as well.
The Arizona Cardinals hired Steve Wilks away from the Carolina Panthers because they liked the way he ran his defense. This season, they’re hoping his new defensive philosophies can get the best out of star cornerback Patrick Peterson.
The seven-time Pro Bowler seems very excited about his new role. Previously, his job was to cover the opponent’s number one receiver and take them out of the game. Peterson knows he was “pretty damn good at it.” This season, look for Peterson to try to add a lot more to his game.
Chiefly, Wilks and the Cardinals’ coaching staff want to put Peterson in situations where he can be more aggressive. Despite being such a talented defensive back, Peterson hasn’t had more than three interceptions in a season since 2012. He does a great job of taking the opponents’ best receiver out of the game, but that also serves to take him out of the equation on most plays.
The obvious question is how the Cardinals can deploy Peterson in a more productive manner. The first thing Wilks will try to do is line him up at different places in the secondary.
Offenses frequently move receivers around in the formation. Defenses can do the same sort of thing. Look for Peterson to line up more in the slot and at safety in 2018. That’s going to make it much more difficult for opposing offenses to keep the ball away from him.
The other thing Peterson can do is adjust his game to take more chances on the field. That might require the Cardinals to give him a little more help over the top than they have in years past.
Mentally, Peterson can’t be expected to jump routes with no one supporting him. If Wilks wants to see Peterson be super aggressive, he needs to shade the safeties towards his side of the field a little more often.
The bottom line is you’re going to see some more exotic defensive formations from the Cardinals this season.
Some of it will just be noise designed to confuse the opposing quarterback, but some of those formations will be designed to unleash Patrick Peterson on unsuspecting offenses.