Patrick Peterson might not want to talk about it, but he apparently is very motivated to change the perception of himself after a turbulent last few years.
According to Jim Trotter of NFL Network, the Cardinals cornerback declined interview requests to talk about what he hopes is a bounce-back season, but those around him see a new determination.
“Pat has always been a fun, playful, loving guy, but you can see there’s a different look in his eyes,” Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim said. “It’s more about being laser-focused right now. There’s a mentality that, I’m going to fix this. I’m going to change the perception that I didn’t play well and that maybe I’ve lost it. I think he’s destined to have a great year just because of that motivation.”
After the suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances which cost him the first six games of last year, Peterson struggled early in a new system. As a result, he failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.
“When he first came back, he wasn’t right,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. “When you miss six weeks of fastballs and you come back and you’re seeing instant fastballs, it was tough on him. The last month of the season, I was so proud of him, because he became so self-aware of where he was as a player — and that’s hard for the great ones to do, to say, ‘You know what, I’m not playing good. Help me, coach. Help me with my football IQ. Help me with my stance. Help me with my fundamentals.’ That last month of the season, he was the best corner in football. It wasn’t even close. That dude played so good.”
Peterson’s social media feed has been playing up the redemption theme all offseason, and his teammates have noticed, and are eager for him to resume being one of the top corners in the game.
“I feel like he’s been — and still is — one of the best defensive backs in the NFL,” Cards pass-rusher Chandler Jones said. “In his Instagram posts, he looks very motivated. He’s excited. The look in his eyes — he has a different look in his eyes.”
That can only benefit a team that’s looking to build on last year’s late momentum, with some offseason additions which they hope give new life to their defense.