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"Intriguing" Offseason For Patrick Peterson

Cornerback confident in his place in NFL, regardless of debate


Patrick Peterson takes a break during Tuesday's minicamp practice.

Patrick Peterson considered how to describe his offseason thus far before settling on "very intriguing."

The Pro Bowl cornerback made a conscious effort to spend more time with his wife, who has some time off from her demanding schedule in medical school. That left him away from more voluntary workouts than before.

"When she is in school, I don't get to see her as much as I want to," Peterson acknowledged.

But that's not the only reason Peterson sees the last couple of months as "different." There has been constant talk about when he will get a contract extension (there have been initial discussions between the team and player) and more famously,

there has been the debate about Peterson and Seattle's Richard Sherman and ranking the NFL's cornerbacks.  

Some of it has been fueled by Peterson and Sherman themselves, trading boasts and barbs via Twitter. But it has also opened up an attempt at larger discussion and analysis about cornerbacks and Peterson himself, especially after Sherman received a contract extension and now Peterson waits for his.

Often, the crux is that Peterson's game is flawed, much moreso than Sherman.

Peterson has noticed. And he shrugs it off.

"It doesn't bug me," Peterson said. "My whole goal is to continue to get better every year. Despite what anyone has to say about me, I believe in my techniques, I believe in my ability and I truly believe I am the best in the league period.

"I believe no one does it better than me, I believe my skill set is definitely different than everyone else, and I get the best guys. I get the work each and every Sunday. I'm not taking days off."

Coach Bruce Arians would like Peterson to play his off coverage better and not lean on athleticism quite as much. Even though Peterson does a good job studying, Arians said, he'd like him to do more.

But Arians leaves little doubt that he has high confidence in Peterson's play and no confidence at all at the criticisms

Peterson has faced of late.

"I don't know if those people know a damn thing about our defense and what we are asking them to do," Arians said. "I have to laugh when I see all these comparisons. Guys are in defenses doing different things and (others) have no idea what coaches are asking of them and whether they are doing the right thing or the wrong thing. All of a sudden I see a grade. I don't know what that plus-3 or 4 (expletive) means.

"It's the same thing as (ESPN's) QBR. … I know our coaches' grades are the only ones that matter."

For Peterson, such storylines are inevitable in a league that is always driving something even during the dead of summer. He said it was good for the sport, this ongoing competition with Sherman and the headlines it creates.

"I don't hate Richard at all," Peterson said. "We are two guys competing to be the best at our position, he does great things for his football team, I do great things for my football team. We are going to have this comparison until we both leave the NFL, who's the best. That's just the competitiveness of the game and that's why I play the game, for that competition."

Continuing on his current path – three Pro Bowls in three seasons – means Peterson is going to remain a big star, regardless of what Sherman or anybody else does or says. At 23, Peterson is comfortable with where he is at home – now that he's seen his wife more – and on the field.

If anything, Peterson's own storyline in this intriguing offseason is marrying what the team has in the defensive backfield – from newcomer Antonio Cromartie to rookie safety Deone Bucannon to the injured Tyrann Mathieu -- into a cohesive unit. That will be what matters most when the games begin.

"We have the potential to do something great in the secondary," Peterson said. "We have a lot of good names on paper. Now we have to put it together on the field and we'll see what happens."

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