We all know by now that Greg Toler is out for the season with a torn ACL. If you didn't, Toler injured his knee on a freak play against the San Diego Chargers this past Saturday night. The Cardinals may have to rely on Patrick Peterson to take over as one of the starting cornerback's alongside A.J. Jefferson or Richard Marshall.
My guess is that Jefferson and Peterson will be the starters and Marshall will be playing the nickel position. Michael Adams is also a reliable defensive back and will be returning from a minor injury when the regular season begins. The Cardinals also signed veteran CB Fred Bennett, who was just cut by the Bengals, although I'm sure Bennett was brought in for depth and not to be a starter.
You can't deny Peterson's athletic ability and all the potential that comes with it. But is he ready? Is Coach Whiz ready to start him? Well, at this point I don't believe Coach Whiz has a choice. Unless the Cardinals can pull off another trade before the regular season, which I doubt they would do anyway, they have no choice but to start him. Coach Whiz sounded like he was happy with Peterson's performance the other night, but he was reluctant to say Peterson was going to be the starter anytime soon, just like he does with all rookies.
One point I made in my podcast on Monday, was that Peterson may be a good start against the Panthers anyway. Cam Newton is going to be the likely starter for the Panthers and what better cornerback to start than one who faced him last year in college. Cam Newton only had 86 yards through the air and no passing touchdowns against LSU. However, Cam Newton did have 217 yards rushing, but that's a story for another day. It's a good thing Peterson isn't a defensive lineman.
Peterson has taken some tough criticism from a few of the local radio shows. However, look at the two quarterbacks he has faced so far, Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. Arguably two of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. What better time to start Peterson when he is facing Cam Newton, John Beck, and Tarvaris Jackson in the first three weeks of the season? What better situation could you ask for when starting a young talented cornerback?
Greg Toler's injury is horrible and I wish him a speedy and healthy recovery, but I wonder if this is Peterson's chance to shine in a Cardinals uniform, just like when Trent Green went down and Kurt Warner stepped in at QB in St. Louis? I know those are two totally different positions and situations, but I'm just putting it into perspective.
Be patient Cardinals fans, like I have said before, Patrick Peterson has all the potential in the world to be a great NFL cornerback.
Let's just hope it's sooner rather than later.