It was noted to Patrick Peterson Thursday that the smile the cornerback has constantly flashed over the years was gone, a victim perhaps of a season lost to a six-game suspension and a losing streak.
Peterson didn't argue with the diagnosis.
"I wish I could press the reset button but I can't," Peterson said. "I have to find a way to move forward, find a way to continue to grind. Also, you have to understand as well, I've won, what, 14 games in three seasons? Is that anything to be happy about?
"That can be frustrating. But at the same time, I know this team, what we have here, we've been in games, we've had opportunities to win games versus last year when we were completely, I won't say outmatched, but we weren't there. The last three games before this last one, we literally lost on the last drive. We're right there as a unit. We have to find a way to execute in the close moments."
Peterson was among the defensive players defending the work of coordinator Vance Joseph, as the Cardinals work to get out of a funk on that side of the ball. Part of the problem – and part of the reason Peterson wouldn't mind a reset – is Peterson's uneven play, in a youthful secondary that desperately needs him to play at his usual Pro Bowl level.
But Peterson reiterated the differences between the 2018 and 2019 Cardinals, and likened where the Cards are now to where they were when Bruce Arians first showed up in 2013 and lost a handful of close games.
"The secondary, we're the youngest (unit) on the team," Peterson said. "If we're here next year, it's definitely going to be a different outing in my opinion. I truly believe the sky is the limit."
THE CARDINALS GET TIGHT END OFF WAIVERS, PUT BULLARD ON IR
The Cardinals claimed tight end Dan Arnold off waivers Thursday, after Arnold had been released by the Saints. To make room on the roster, the Cards put defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (hamstring) on injured reserve to end his season.
Arnold had played in 12 games for the Saints combined in 2018 and 2019, making 14 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound former college wide receiver from Wisconsin-Platteville becomes the fourth tight end on the roster behind Maxx Williams, Charles Clay and Darrell Daniels.
REDDICK'S MOVE TO OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
Haason Reddick's natural spot is as an outside pass rusher, Joseph said, and the work to make him an inside linebacker – which had been the plan from the moment he was a first-round pick in 2017 – is over.
"We had to try him at inside 'backer for the team's future, and for his future," Joseph said. "We tried it, it did not work, and now he's going to try 'Sam' 'backer moving forward."
Joseph praised Reddick’s attitude throughout the process. He also said that despite Reddick's 6-foot-1, 235-pound frame, the Sam linebacker role has evolved into a "space position" and compared Reddick to Tampa Bay's Shaq Barrett. Barrett, a shade under 6-2 and 250 pounds, leads the NFL in sacks and played for Joseph in Denver.
"(Haason) is not the prototypical outside 'backer in terms of length, but he has great burst," Joseph said. "We'll see how far he can go."
SHIPLEY SITS OUT WITH ILLNESS
Center A.Q. Shipley missed practice Thursday with an illness, although guard J.R. Sweezy, who was out Wednesday with an illness, was back practicing on a limited basis. Safety Jalen Thompson (concussion) remained limited. Backup offensive lineman Max Garcia was added to the injury list as limited with a toe issue.
For the Steelers, running back James Conner (shoulder) told Pittsburgh reporters he will not play Sunday. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) didn't practice, nor did guard Ramon Foster (non-injury-related).