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Pat In Larry’s Footsteps?

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Divisional Round - Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There was a new episode with an ironic twist in the Patrick Peterson saga this week.

On his radio show early in the week Deion Sanders reiterated his conviction that the Cardinals Pro-Bowl CB Patrick Peterson still “desperately” wants out of Arizona. “Trust me, I know,” Sanders affirmed. Sanders insists that Peterson is “wasting away in Arizona” and that Peterson is highly cognizant of that.

In an ironic twist, Peterson, a team captain, who asked to be traded to a contender at the trading deadline, not only refuted Deion’s latest statements, he is now saying that he wants “to be a Cardinal for life,” “to follow in the footsteps of Larry Fitzgerald” and that he feels like “it is my turn.”

This is kind of like a guy who is engaged but suddenly, after feeling an erotic vibe from a hot babe in a restaurant, tells his fiancé that he wants out of the engagement only to discover that the hot babe actually has a steady boyfriend—-so now he goes back to is fiance and offers to double down on the engagement.

Just yesterday, Doug and Wolf were pondering the timing of Deion’s proclamation and Peterson’s subsequent statement to the contrary. What they think may have spawned this current rehashing of the Peterson trade request is that early in the week when head coach Steve Wilks was asked whether his message was being lost on the team, Wilks lauded the leadership of six veterans in the locker room— Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, Antoine Bethea, Chandler Jones and Corey Peters—-that these leaders were still doing a great job of carrying forth the message.

Did Steve Wilks deliberately leave Patrick Peterson off of that list?

Yes, it makes total sense. During the pre-season Peterson was raving about Wilks and the new role Wilks was carving out for him in the defense—-and during the first few games it was clear that Peterson was making a stronger effort to improve his zone coverage and his tackling—-and Pat was succeeding.

Then came the losing and the realization that playing zone corner as much or more than playing the press man coverage that Peterson is famous for—-frustrated Peterson and his agent Joel Segal to the point where they felt compelled to ask for a trade.

if you are Steve Wilks, losing the trust of Patrick Peterson, one of his captains and cornerstone players was like a swift, bone crushing punch to the ribs at a time that could not have been worse.

Yesterday, when Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim was asked by Doug and Wolf to respond to Deion Sanders’ claims, Keim said that Deion was a “colorful player” and that Deion now plies his trade as a “colorful analyst,” but “the last time I checked Patrick Peterson’s agent is Joel Segal.”

Keim went on to lavish Peterson with praise saying that “Patrick is working his tail off and is doing everything he can to try to win football games.”

You see—-here is the very crux of the problem with Patrick Peterson under Steve Keim as GM.

It is pretty easy for Patrick Peterson to wallow in irreproachable stardom when his GM is in denial.

Anyone who knows football, knows that Patrick Peterson is not doing everything he can to win football games. Ask the Raiders who made it a priority to run to Peterson’s side—-the first two plays of the second half that they ran to Peterson’s side—-covered 40 yards. They even threw at Peterson beating him on a 5 yard stick route TD to the pylon by WR Brandon LaFell. On all three of those plays, Peterson did not don the look of a player who is “working his tail off” or let alone look like a player who is doing “everything he can to win football games.”

Look at last week’s game versus the Chargers—-Peterson’s tackling efforts were laughable—-in yet another game where the Cardinals were gouged and gored left and right by the run.

But this is such classic rhetoric from Steve Keim—-like the doting Arizona media and thousands of adoring Cardinals’ fans—-Keim is often completely star-struck to the point of ignoring critical standards of excellence.

Not only does Keim heap on the hyperbole when discussion his current stars—-when he drafts players he likens some of them right off the bat to Hall of Fame players—-as he did with his very first draft pick, G Jonathan Cooper, whom Keim immediately compared to Hall of Fame G Randall McDaniel.

Jonathan Cooper hadn’t taken a snap in the NFL yet.

This off-season, Keim’s most enthusiastic anticipation, which he expressed over and over, was seeing Sam Bradford’s “elite skillset.”

When Keim stated so emphatically that Patrick Peterson is providing outstanding leadership and “doing everything he can to win football games” it was crystal clear once again that Keim is living in a kind of La La Land and remains mired in a state of utter denial.

Wilks was right to keep Peterson off that list.

God forbid if someone sent the past three Cardinals’ game tapes to the Hall of Fame voters.

And here is where any comparison of Peterson to Larry Fitzgerald falls apart at the seams.

Larry Fitzgerald embraces the physical aspects of NFL football. In his earlier years, Fitz was, by his own admission, prone to hearing footsteps when catching the ball in traffic. At times, he would catch the ball and take a quick dive.

Along came OC Todd Haley who pushed Fitz to the next level and assured Fitz that his game would explode if he became more physically aggressive—-and the results have been astonishing ever since—-to the point where Larry Fitzgerald could well be considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, wide receiver in the history of the NFL playoffs.

Like they say—-under the brightest lights, the superstars shine.

Larry Fitzgerald makes the physical sacrifices by preparing himself mentally and physically for them and every day he copes with all of the aches and pains.

Larry Fitzgerald could have asked to be traded this year at the deadline and pretty much everyone in the NFL universe including Larry’s biggest fans in Arizona would have understood and even encouraged him, especially following the McCoy/Bradford debacle and it being quite possibly Fitz’s last chance to take a run at a ring—-

But no—-not a peep from Fitz or his agent.

Clearly everyone knows by now that Fitz means it when he says that “if i play next year—-it will only be in Arizona.”

Lastly, even though he a sure-fire first ballot inductee, you won't find Larry Fitzgerald talking about the Hall of Fame. Why? Because Fitz puts team before self—-he always has and he always will.

Fitz was so disgusted after the home loss to the Raiders that he stormed out of the locker room as fast as he could. Winning still means that much to Fitz. Because winning in Arizona—-means everything to Fitz.

Larry Fitzgerald aspires to surpass the highest standards in every aspect of his craft—-he does not ask for double standards nor does he create them.

Pat—-everyone in Arizona would love to see you follow in Larry’s footsteps—-that is if you would start acting more like him. Every day he is showing you the blueprint. Can you follow that blueprint, Pat? With your extraordinary abilities the question isn’t whether you can—-the question is—-whether you will.