“It’s almost imperative to be that confident,” Cardinals defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi said about his newest cornerback. “To play great defense, you need that confidence because inevitably, even though it’s unacceptable, a ball is going to go over your head, and you have to be able to come back and make the next play.”
Unquestioningly, Peterson oozes that confidence, from the Perry Ellis suit he sported Friday to his introductory press conference to the way he talked about his upcoming Cardinals career. He mentioned having the best secondary in the NFL, and the ability to learn from four cousins who play in the NFL – defensive backs Bryant and Walter McFadden, and receivers Sinorice and Santana Moss.
The man who doesn’t even turn 21 until later this year carried himself with poise beyond his years, a self-assurance that coach Ken Whisenhunt said was one of the reasons he was so attractive as a No. 1 draft pick. “I believe if you don’t have the confidence and the swagger within yourself, you’ll never be what you want to be.”
Which is to be a star for the Arizona Cardinals.
“Some people can have too much confidence,” Peterson acknowledged. “But my confidence is always on the field. I’m not a guy who will be bragging about myself. It’s something you’ve got to have to help you play better. I think the majority of my confidence goes.”
Clearly, Peterson has perspective. Peterson’s father kept him from playing football his sophomore year of high school because Peterson’s grades weren’t high enough. They were good enough to be eligible, Peterson pointed out, but not good enough “for Daddy.”
Battling older cousins growing up became a survival-of-the-fittest in itself, too. “Someone always wanted to be the best,” Peterson said.
Peterson wants it to be him. Everytime.
Yet Peterson’s solid family life was a draw, Cioffi said. Not only did it create a competitive fire, but Peterson reiterated life lessons he learned from his father.
“My Dad always told me, if you want to be great, you have to be coachable. You don’t want to be the guy who talks back to your coach or curse him out when he ticks you off. That guy is your coach for a reason. I am a good listener. It’s important.”
Peterson talked about having
“Anytime you’ve got a guy like that, athletic and God-gifted, everything you are looking for in a corner, it makes all your other corners better,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.
Cioffi liked Peterson’s intangibles, but the speed – a sub-4.4 40 – and strength – a powerful 6-foot-1 and 219-pounds – are the reason he was chosen when he was. With those attributes, it’s hard not to be confident.
“I’m more than ready to be an Arizona Cardinal,” were Peterson’s first words to his new team.
There’s no doubt he believes it.