Arizona Cardinals fans saw the impact that cornerback Patrick Peterson had on the team in 2011. As the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the team's hope to find an impact player was fulfilled. His four punt returns for touchdowns were a record and they came at very opportune times, as they, in almost each case, were the difference between winning and losing.
His earned him recognition recently, as ESPN published an Insider article that listed the 10 most versatile players in the NFC. Peterson was listed as number four.
Said the article:
As a rookie last season, most of his game-changing plays were on special teams, as he became the first player in NFL history to record four punt returns of more than 80 yards in one season. As a starting corner, he struggled early with some mental lapses and up-and-down cover skills, but he seems to be getting better and has rare burst and explosiveness. Big improvement in man-to-man coverage is expected in 2012.
All of that is true, but there is another player on the Cardinals did not make the list that is probably even more versatile than Peterson, but gets a little less fanfare. That would be the diminutive LaRod Stephens-Howling, who wears a lot of hats on the team.
Peterson returned punts, blocked a kick and started at cornerback.
LSH (The Hyphen) does even more. He returns kickoffs. He plays running back. He catches passes. He plays special teams. He makes an impact in every part of the game he plays.
He had two of the team's most exciting plays in 2011 -- the 52-yard overtime touchdown he had against the Cowboys and the 73-yard catch-and-run TD reception against the Steelers.
He also showed he could handle, at least on a part-time basis, the load of a featured back. In Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks, he carried the ball 21 times for 93 yards.
He did not have the impact in the return game that he has had in the past, but he plays an important role in kick and punt coverage, in addition to his duties in the passing game and running game.
We here at ROTB have all been waiting for the day he gets an increased role in the offense and more chances with the ball in his hands.
As great as Peterson was in 2011, I would say that LSH is even more versatile than Peterson.
What do the rest of you say?
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