Post-practice Friday, Patrick Peterson stood in the locker room, knowing he had made a pretty over-the-shoulder interception on a deep ball thrown from rookie Kyler Murray.
The quarterback was “very special,” Peterson said with a grin. “But he has to look away from '21.’ ”
Sound advice, especially with the way the Pro Bowl cornerback had begun training camp, looking as sharp as ever. He has practiced with the first unit, and made plays across the field. There has yet to be any sign of change on the depth chart, with the reality that Peterson faces a six-game suspension to start the regular season.
Peterson said he hasn’t had any discussions with coaches about a reduced snap count or a rotation yet. He figures in the next couple of weeks, that will come, and whomever his potential replacement will be – the top candidates are Tramaine Brock, Byron Murphy and Chris Jones – can get the reps needed to prepare for the season.
Not that it’s going to change Peterson’s effort.
“I want to attack this training camp just as I’ve done all the previous ones,” he said. “The only difference is I won’t be available Week One.”
Besides the interception, Peterson also made a nice breakup of a deep pass thrown by Murray (although the play would’ve been blown dead after Terrell Suggs jumped offsides.)
“He’ll get those reps, but we want to get those young guys ready as well,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Pat’s a great leader. Once we get to the preseason we’ll see where we are at, but he’s not playing for three months and he knows that.”
Peterson said he expects to play in preseason games, and that seems natural – whatever work he gets now is the only team prep he’ll get prior to the three practices leading into the Week 7 game at the New York Giants.
Peterson already has a plan in place to stay on his game while he is away. He expects to mimic his normal weekly workouts, getting up early, lifting, getting time in a hot tub and steam room to help his body recover – “Good thing I have all that at my house,” he quipped – and then going to a football field to work on drills for both some physical and mental reps.
He promised, as he did when he talked during minicamp, that his conditioning would be excellent once he returned.
“I have to find ways to make sure I’m engaged with the game so I can come back as sharp as I can,” Peterson said.
Peterson raved about the defense of coordinator Vance Joseph, talking about how it’s in the style of former coordinators Todd Bowles and James Bettcher. He will be back to traveling to cover the top wideout, and the Cards will be playing more press coverage.
“I told D.J. (Swearinger), ‘Man, we pressed more in this (Thursday) practice than we did all last season,’ ” Peterson said.
It’ll make this camp and preseason perhaps a little more special for Peterson, knowing he’ll be away from the games. Peterson has never missed a game since arriving in 2011, and admitted “it’s going to be painful to watch.”
But he added he will be watching regardless, and will make sure over the next few weeks his fellow cornerbacks know the expectations are still high even in his absence.
“I wish I could have (the suspension) back but I can’t have it back,” Peterson said. “My duty is to make sure whoever that guy is, he’s prepared.”
Images from Friday afternoon's practice