Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was always expected to become great. Coming out of LSU, he had the physical tools. However, previous to this season, he was never quite there with his consistency. That has changed and his head coach has used a Hall of Famer to compare him.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told the media on Wednesday Peterson is having a great year. "He's playing probably as well as Deion Sanders did when he was young," he said, according to Mike Jurecki.
The numbers also suggest greatness.
According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson has been in coverage 422 times in 12 games this season. He has "allowed" only 19 catches all year. Among their signature stats, he is tops in the league at allowing a catch only once every 22.2 plays in coverage. The next highest rate is 17.5.
He has "allowed" only one touchdown all season, and that touchdown came on a blown assignment in Chicago. He was responsible for picking up Alshon Jeffery, but he didn't so he didn't actually cover him.
He is getting respect from opposing quarterbacks. He was targeted only once last week. He was targeted only once in Seattle. He was targeted only twice when the team played the Niners earlier in the season. When he was matched up against A.J. Green, an elite receiver, he was only targeted six times and allowed only two receptions.
It appears he has flipped the switch. He has his money with his big contract and his diabetes is not an issue. Now he is playing with a focus we have not seen from him before play in and play out.
He has finally become that shutdown corner we all hoped he would become.