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Patrick Peterson Takes Turn As Coach

Posted May 13, 2016

While all-pro cornerback is sidelined with foot injury, he helps inexperienced teammates

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) gives rookie cornerback Brandon Williams some coaching at a recent workout.

Patrick Peterson was on the field bootless, his injured foot doing well enough that he could join teammates during their Phase 2 work.

The all-pro cornerback couldn’t run any drills – he’s not to that point in his rehab yet – but as secondary coaches Nick Rapone and Kevin Ross ran their mostly inexperienced players through some defensive concepts, Peterson too was coaching.

In particular, he gave advice to third-round pick Brandon Williams, who has been playing cornerback for less than a year. Peterson’s injury may keep him from working on his own game, but he’s determined to help others’ game in the meantime.

“It’s definitely something I would be doing anyway because as you can see we have a very, very young group, especially with Brandon,” Peterson said. “He’s played corner for six months, and we drafted him high so obviously we need him to play, so I want to make sure I show him the ropes as much as possible while I am out and not getting the work.

“Not being out there unable to do the physical work, I want to make my presence felt by giving him some knowledge.”

With Justin Bethel sidelined, the Cardinals’ inexperience at cornerback is obvious during these offseason workouts. Of the players available – Williams, fellow rookies Harlan Miller, Ronald Zamort and Trevon Hartfield, and Asa Jackson, Shaun Prater, Cariel Brooks and Carrington Byndom – have just 45 NFL appearances among them, and just nine games total in 2015.

Peterson has played 80 games in his career, starting all 16 games in each of his five seasons.

“He is one of the best in the game, so getting advice from him is great,” Williams said. “That’s what I’m looking for.

“I’m kind of a shy guy, so I’ll wait until he says something. If he sees me doing something wrong, he’ll correct it, and we go from there.”

Peterson said safety D.J. Swearinger made a joke recently, saying that Peterson seemed like a 10-year veteran despite the fact he’s still so young.

“It definitely feels like I’m an old man and it definitely feels like I’ve been here forever, but I’m still just 25 years old,” Peterson said.

The rookies aren’t the only ones listening. Jackson is going into his fifth year in the league and is actually seven months older than Peterson, although he’s never played more than seven games in a season. He sees the benefit from Peterson’s tutelage.

“Man, Pat is a great guy, not only because of his football knowledge, but his ability to want to teach the younger guys like me,” Jackson said. “He and I had a great conversation, just on different press techniques, different ways to show receivers different things. I really appreciate him for that. I’m happy I’m going to be able to pick his brain.”

As long as Peterson has to sit out – he reiterated he should be fine for training camp – he gets satisfaction out of this role as well.

“It’s cool to see the smiles on their faces and the knowledge they are taking in,” Peterson said. 

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