Quarterbacks around the NFL are becoming less inclined to throw in the direction of Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson.
Over the past four seasons, Pro Football Focus, who has Peterson ranked as the eighth-best corner in the league, shows a decrease in his targets every year starting from 99 in 2014 to a career-low 52 in 2018 for the 28-year-old LSU product.
Peterson has been effective on the field despite the Cardinals defense struggling as a whole, ranking 20th in total yards allowed per game (358.8), 26th in total points allowed per game (26.6) and last in rushing yards allowed (154.9) in 2018.
Arizona hired a defensive-minded head coach in Steve Wilks in 2018 who lasted only one season after the team went 3-13. Peterson managed to grab two interceptions, five passes defensed and a sack under the first-year head coach.
The Cardinals have switched back to a 3-4 base defense after hiring Vance Joseph to be the new defensive coordinator. Peterson had nine interceptions and 29 passes defensed in 2014-17 under former head coach Bruce Arians and former defensive coordinators Todd Bowles and James Bettcher (2015-17) in the 3-4 scheme.
With hopes of a more aggressive defense, Peterson may see the ball more after allowing only 30 catches all season and 0.63 yards per coverage snap, the lowest in the league.
“Ideally what you would like to be able to do is you want guys to actually try to throw the ball to Patrick Peterson,” defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson said back in February.
“In my mind, I’m saying that’s what I would like to see happen. I would like to see more balls thrown to him so we can find out how good he really is. I would like to see teams try it.”
Peterson has been an All-Pro three times and has made every Pro Bowl team since he was a rookie in 2011. He is yet to finish a season without at least one interception and has played and started in every regular season game of his career.
There’s a reason quarterbacks don’t throw his way.