Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cardinals won't keep Mr. Everything in a corner

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Patrick Peterson is catching passes, throwing some and running with the ball during training camp.

No doubt about it, new Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has plans for the dynamic player on offence.

In his first two NFL seasons, Peterson made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner, then as a cornerback. He remains a shutdown cornerback, first and foremost. And he still plans to return punts.

But Arians says Peterson is too talented to be standing on the sideline all the time when the Cardinals have the ball.

Peterson is all for it.

"I'm pretty dynamic with the ball in my hands," he said. "I'm not saying the offence needs help; they have great talent over there. But I guess (Arians) just wanted more explosive plays from guys that could help."

Peterson is supremely confident, to say the least.

"I'm definitely an athlete that can pretty much play every skill position on the field," he said.

It's no idle boast.

"There's not much he can't do," quarterback Carson Palmer agreed.

Arians approached Peterson early about playing some on offence. He had a few snaps last season in the wildcat formation under then-coach Ken Whisenhunt. When Whisenhunt was fired and Arians came in, the new coach thought he'd like some kind of package with Peterson on offence.

That idea has only grown as Arians watched Peterson up close.

"I had hopes that he could be something special in a package a week," Arians said. "But after you see the athlete he is, he probably could be one of the top five receivers in the league. So you say, 'Hmm, that's a lot of weapon sitting over here next to me.' "

Arians, speaking Saturday before the team's annual "red-white" practice, said he's installed about 15 plays with Peterson on offence, although there wouldn't be that many in any single game plan.

Arians doesn't use the wildcat. Instead, he has Peterson either at wide receiver or in the backfield. On several occasions, he's caught a pass over the middle.

He has been a starting cornerback from the time the Cardinals selected him as the No. 5 pick overall out of LSU in 2011.

As a rookie, he tied an NFL record, becoming the fourth player in league history to return four punts for touchdowns in a single season. Last season, he didn't get a single punt return to the end zone, but he did excel at cornerback, ranking fourth in the league with seven interceptions.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 4, 2013 B4

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