Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is expecting a lot of work Sunday while guarding Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
Teams haven't thrown Patrick Peterson's way much this season, but the Pro Bowl cornerback is expecting something much different Sunday in Houston.
He will be on Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who not only has 58 catches for 803 yards and an NFL-best eight receiving touchdowns, but who has already been targeted an astonishing 108 times in nine games. (Larry Fitzgerald, by comparison, has been targeted 88 times.)
"I know this week for sure, 1,000 percent, that I'm going to get action," Peterson said. "I anticipate that each and every week, but the numbers don't lie. You get 108 targets through nine weeks, that's unbelievable. This matchup
is definitely something that gets me up because I know I'm going to get work."
Peterson does not have an interception this season and five passes defensed, again, getting little work. According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson has been targeted just 32 times all season, allowing only 12 catches in nine games and one touchdown. Teams also rarely throw his way, only once every 11.1 coverage snaps.
Peterson said he expects to be targeted at least eight times Sunday. The 49ers also targeted Peterson eight times (and, he noted, he gave up two catches in that game.)
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher was asked if he ever took the time just to watch Peterson in-game in his marquee matchups.
"Fortunately I'm able to not think about the guy because Patrick is so special," Bettcher said. "It allows you to do a lot defensively that you might not be able to do, there's no question."
Peterson has yet to take on Hopkins head-to-head. The teams met in the preseason last year but Peterson did not play. In 2013 when the Texans came to Arizona, Peterson was covering star wideout Andre Johnson.
To prepare, Peterson said he's watched extra video and is anticipating a lot of hand-fighting and a "lot of flags" as the two do battle. He praised Hopkins for his ability to catch the ball late – not giving the defender a chance to break up the pass – and his work on sideline catches.
But he also said he doesn't think Hopkins has any kind of advantage given that they've never matched up, and he was blunt when he was asked if there was anything he could prove in the game.
"Prove?" Peterson said. "Hmm. I don't know if there's anything else to prove. I just want to continue to be consistent the rest of the year, obviously in this game, to help put my team in the best position to win."
JOHN BROWN DOWNGRADED, STANTON STILL LIMITED
Wide receiver John Brown, who had been limited with a back issue Wednesday, was downgraded to DNP Thursday. Quarterback Drew Stanton (knee), meanwhile, remained limited with coach Bruce Arians expected to officially name
his starter at the position Friday after practice.
Defensive lineman Corey Peters (ankle), whom Arians already said likely would sit out Sunday, was the other DNP for the Cardinals. Joining Stanton as limited were center A.Q. Shipley (shoulder) and right tackle John Wetzel (back).
For the Texans, wide receiver Chris Thompson (knee) joined wide receiver Will Fuller (ribs), linebacker Dylan Cole (hamstring) and tackle Julian Davenport (shoulder) as DNP. Texans coach Bill O'Brien already said Fuller and Cole won't play. Running back Alfred Blue (hamstring) was added to the injury report as limited, as were defensive end Joel Heath (knee) and center Greg Mancz (knee/chest).
THE PLAN WITHOUT PETERS
Bettcher said Peters has played well this season and that he will be missed in the lineup, but the Cardinals will go to replacing him by committee.
"I don't know if there will be one guy to take that role," Bettcher said. "It'll be a rotation. Rodney (Gunter) would be maybe the first guy you see in base, and then two or three different guys in some of our sub-packages that will handle some of those snaps."
Xavier Williams and Olsen Pierre figured to be two other players to get more time in sub-packages with Peters out.
PAINTER PUT ON ROSTER
The Cardinals had an open spot on the 53-man roster after the three players were put on injured reserve earlier this week, and they filled it Thursday by promoting tackle Vinston Painter from the practice squad. It's the second time this season Painter has been promoted.
Images of past games between the Cardinals and this week's opponent, the Houston Texans