Patrick Peterson's rookie year was something special with punt returns. He scored four touchdowns, all of them over 80 yards with one winning a game in overtime. He made the Pro Bowl.
His second year wasn't as good on special teams. He blossomed as a defensive player, but he had his struggles in the return game. He muffed or fumbled seven kicks and had some very questionable decisions on returns.
New special teams coordinator Amos Jones was on Arizona Sports 620 on The Doug and Wolf Show and was introduced to the media by the team and he said that one thing that Peterson will have to do is work within a system.
"He's going to have parameters, they all will have parameters," he said. "Absolutely. You put your toes on the yard line that we decide and you make decisions."
What will that include?
I think the biggest thing is learning the situational stuff coach Arians is going to teach this whole entire football team.
"One, it's a team game. Two, even if you have a lot of great talent, you have to know and play the situations."
One of the issues that Peterson had was fielding punts near the goalline. He has had success at it, as once in his rookie year he took a punt 99 yards for a touchdown.
He did not have such success in 2012, and it sounds like that will not likely be acceptable this season in most situations. "Everyone's had a punt returner that fielded inside the five," explained Jones. "Do we want that? Absolutely not. But are we going to try and eliminate those types of chances? Yeah."
It didn't sound like he wanted to stifle Peterson, but he may need a mindset change. "You have to make him understand that every ball can't be a home run and every ball won't be a home run," said Jones. "There will be opportunities for big plays, sometimes when you least expect it."
"You have to protect the football." That seems to be the message.
On the other hand, Jones was quick to say that "you don't second guess a great return guy." He wants Peterson to communicate exactly what he sees.
Jones did not rule out there being "Patrick Peterson rules" much as there were "The Deion rules" for returning punts, meaning that he is only put back there for punt returns for certain situations. but it has not been talked about right now. It could happen in the future, as Jones noted one of the functions of the special teams unit is "to be a keeper of fresh legs, of fresh bodies."
Could this adversely affect Peterson and his elite ability? Perhaps, but at the same time, Peterson could be seen pressing in the return game trying too hard to get a big play. With how bad the offensive production was, he felt the pressure to make plays in the return game every time. Perhaps with a focus on situations he will be able to get clarity.
Will it help? Based on 2012, it doesn't sound like it could hurt.
Listen to the full interview:
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