Cornerback Patrick Peterson picks off a Sam Bradford pass last weekend.
After the bye, Patrick Peterson said, he became a "totally different" cornerback.
It was time to regroup, the rookie said, and get a better grasp of the game.
"When I first got here, it just moved really, really, really fast," Peterson said. "The game slowed down. I started studying with coaches more, studying with vets. I believe that's what helped me tremendously on the bye week. I wanted to come back as one of the premier corners."
Peterson has improved. He has gotten more comfortable and more aggressive, because after the bye is also when the penalty flags started flying.
Peterson had just two penalties in the five games before the bye, and one of those was the roughing the kicker against the Giants (he did have a 36-yard pass interference against the Vikings). In the three games since the bye, Peterson has been flagged seven times, six as a cornerback – three pass interference calls, an illegal use of hands, an illegal contact and a defensive hold.
Obviously frustrated by some of the flags, Peterson acknowledged he is still is learning the differences between the college and pro games, the latter of which he feels has been called tighter. That said, he insists his game is not going to change.
"When he has a penalty on him, the natural tendency is to abandon your technique and that's what gets you into trouble," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "What you have to fight as a coach and as a young player is that you stay with technique and trust it."
Peterson's confidence has never been an issue. He grabbed his second interception of the season against the Rams and said he loves "being under the radar" right now.
"I know the respect will be there sooner or later," Peterson said. "I just want to continue to work on the field and work (in practice) against the receivers we have here and then make plays on Sundays."
Quarterback Kevin Kolb isn't the only Cardinal returning to Philadelphia this weekend. Linebacker Stewart Bradley signed with the Cards as a free agent after his tenure as an Eagle, but his planned move into the Cards' defense has been slow.
Bradley hasn't been able to beat out incumbent Paris Lenon, who has been limited this week with a groin injury. Whisenhunt said he expects Lenon to be OK for the game, and while Bradley is "much better prepared" now to fill in for Lenon, Whisenhunt said, it's like Bradley will still be a reserve.
"Obviously you want to be out there all the time," Bradley said, noting that he does feel more comfortable than he did. "I can't get frustrated. I just have to keep working."
Bradley said he had nothing but good memories of the organization and his former teammates. But, he said, "this is definitely a business trip, for sure."
PETERSON'S SWAG, DOCKETT AS "STEP-DADDY"
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett marveled at Peterson's physical gifts and massive production on the field, but didn't hesitate in needling the rookie about his "swag."
"You can't tell him nothing," Dockett said. "Look how he walks around here, looking like it's his world and we're just trying to live in it. I ain't mad at him, I like it actually. But every time I see him, I have to put him in his place."
Peterson laughed at Dockett's characterization, insisting that isn't him. "I'm just the same old Patrick Peterson," he said.
Answering to Dockett, apparently.
"He's still going to respect me," Dockett insisted. "I'm like the step-daddy, that's what I tell him. The day he gets out of line is the day he gets spanked. As long as he understands that and follows the directions of Dockett, he'll have a good career here."
KOLB SITS, JEFFERSON ADDED TO INJURY LIST
Kolb didn't practice again Thursday and looks unlikely to play in Philadelphia with his bad turf toe. The Cardinals also added cornerback A.J. Jefferson to the injury report Thursday as limited with a bad foot.
Running back Beanie Wells (knee) remains limited on a lengthy injury list, which can be found here.
The Eagles added starting cornerback Asante Samuel to their injury report Thursday with a bad groin.