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Patrick Peterson: I’m a shutdown corner first, punt returner second

Patrick Peterson AP

Cardinals cornerback and punt returner Patrick Peterson came in at No. 55 in NFL Network’s unveiling of the Top 100 players in the league, as voted on by their peers, and he says that’s a great place to be as a rookie. But he also says he wants to be in the Top 10 some day, and to do that he needs to be viewed primarily as a shutdown cornerback who returns punts on the side.

Peterson’s rookie season was one of the best seasons any punt returner has ever had, with 44 returns for 699 yards and four return touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in overtime that was one of the most spectacular plays of the NFL season. Peterson knows that’s the primary reason he made the Top 100, but he also knows the reason the Cardinals took him with the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft is that they want him to be an elite starting cornerback.

“I feel pretty good for my first season being at No. 55 but hopefully as my career progresses I’ll be looking to be in that Top 10 category somewhere,” Peterson said. “I definitely believe I made it through the record I set — tying the NFL record [for punt return touchdowns in a season]. I believe that’s primarily what got me in the Top 100. But this year I’ve been working more on my coverage skills and trying to be more of a shutdown cornerback versus that elite punt returner.”

Peterson started all 16 games at cornerback last season, but he struggled to adjust to the pro passing game. He acknowledges that he needs to improve in pass coverage.

“I expect to be a whole lot better,” Peterson said. “I can’t wait to get out there for the first game and showcase what I’ve been working for this offseason, finally put it to work and show the world what I can do.”

Peterson has already shown the world (or at least the portion of the world that watches the NFL) what he can do as a punt returner. If he can make the same kind of impact as a cornerback this year, he’ll be a whole lot higher than No. 55 on the Top 100 list next year.

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18 Responses to “Patrick Peterson: I’m a shutdown corner first, punt returner second”
  1. tombradyallday says: May 24, 2012 10:01 AM

    steve smith from carolina and hakeem nicks think differently

  2. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: May 24, 2012 10:01 AM

    Shutdown huh…

  3. commitment2excrement says: May 24, 2012 10:11 AM

    Oh? Your production says otherwise

  4. wayomaz says: May 24, 2012 10:13 AM

    He’s definitely a great special teams guy, but that’s not why the Cardinals spent a high 1st on him- good to know he has that clear in his mind!

  5. schmitty2 says: May 24, 2012 10:14 AM

    As a Ram’s fan I can say painfully he is one heck of a punt returner

  6. biggredbird76 says: May 24, 2012 10:14 AM

    yeah Steve Smith had a torched him and the giants squeezed by on a ragged call. he did well against some other good receivers. those two mentioned know all the tricks, pat peterson was new and fresh, he will be elite this year. lets see what tom brady does against him this year. steelers suck.

  7. mlmike25 says: May 24, 2012 10:20 AM

    Maybe he doesn’t know what “shutdown” means.

  8. mgr4fun says: May 24, 2012 10:22 AM

    i mean no disrespect for the young “shutdown corner” but arent you the same #21 that was with the cardinals that got “TRUCKED” by #28 in purple not once – not twice but three times in the very first quarter sunday october 9th 2011 … i am a big LSU fan and i am sure that was you young mr peterson … i was really sure it was you when adrian carried you for seven yards into the endzone on the 3rd td … “shutdown corners” also gotta tackle … have no doubt young mr patrick peterson will be an amazing nfl player for a long time and i am a fan of his for a long time … i wish him nothing but good luck in his career … http://youtu.be/k7UTYUd31g0 … “shutdown corner” maybe not yet! … respectfully submitted and gramatically challenged … MGR4FUN

  9. rdly49ers says: May 24, 2012 10:31 AM

    Lol yeah ..sure buddy ..we’re see u SOON shutdown corner ..im pretty sure u had a hard time covering our Michale Crabtree last season..Now we have Randy Moss. Let’s Go Niners …..C$W$

  10. cleverbob says: May 24, 2012 10:37 AM

    Shutdown corners get paid. Highlight reel punt returners, not so much…

  11. onderin says: May 24, 2012 12:01 PM

    Don’t these jabs at Peterson seem a little much right now? He had a great rookie year as far as special teams, but that’s not enough. He is literally acknowledging that fact in these quotes, yet people are still taking shots at him? He has an objective and accurate view of his personal performance, which can be rare coming from football players.

    I think some of you guys looked at the misleading title first and didn’t read his actual quotes.

    He has his head in the right place and hopefully, for the Cardinals, the work he’s putting in pays off.

  12. missouricharger says: May 24, 2012 1:04 PM

    Much respect to Patrick Peterson for acknowledging his downfalls. Most young athletes have a sense of entitlement that would disallow such growth as a player, and man. Imagine if Devin Heater had this train of thought! Good luck young man!

  13. wagn0404 says: May 24, 2012 2:50 PM

    Well, he’s certainly not a tackler. His jock is still in the Metrodome turf where Adrian Peterson planted it.

  14. j0ey15 says: May 24, 2012 2:55 PM

    I don’t think rite now but this guy has the speed, size, and athleticism to be a shut down corner.. I think maybe not this year but next year he’ll start opening some eyes on defense

  15. granadafan says: May 24, 2012 4:49 PM

    You guys are bashing Peterson for his performance as ROOKIE. He had a great first year with some bumps in the road, but he’s quickly improving.

  16. 11jlacy says: May 24, 2012 5:04 PM

    Say pat keep handling your biz homeboy!!!!

  17. shotgunnaz says: May 25, 2012 10:32 PM

    He had a short off season and a new defensive scheme so he wasnt really allowed any room for error because no one else would be there to help. Our defense got better as the year progressed and if he knows he needs to improve, as well as his teammates, this defense and special teams could rival the leagues best right now. Just sayin, our defense was in the top 10 and top 5 categories the last half of last season, I know it sounds odd but it actually happens to be true.

  18. shotgunnaz says: May 25, 2012 10:36 PM

    mgr4fun says: May 24, 2012 10:22 AM

    i mean no disrespect for the young “shutdown corner” but arent you the same #21 that was with the cardinals that got “TRUCKED” by #28 in purple not once – not twice but three times in the very first quarter sunday october 9th 2011 … i am a big LSU fan and i am sure that was you young mr peterson … i was really sure it was you when adrian carried you for seven yards into the endzone on the 3rd td … “shutdown corners” also gotta tackle … have no doubt young mr patrick peterson will be an amazing nfl player for a long time and i am a fan of his for a long time … i wish him nothing but good luck in his career … http://youtu.be/k7UTYUd31g0 … “shutdown corner” maybe not yet! … respectfully submitted and gramatically challenged … MGR4FUN
    —————————————————————————————————-
    That team only scored 3 more points that entire game. Besides that horrible 1st quarter where your average field position was on our 15, we shut you down. Your scored 28 points on the easiest field position ever given to an opponent. If was just 4 field goals it would have been a different game, but you got lucky on field position. After that 3 quarters and just 3 points. LOOK IT UP

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