Article by: Kevin Eagleson
The NFL has suspended Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson for the first 6 games of the 2019 season for violating the league’s PED policy. This suspension is a major blow to the already rebuilding Cardinals, but it could have a much greater impact than people realize.
28-year-old Patrick Peterson has established himself as one of the most talented cornerbacks in the league and was a huge pillar in the Cardinals defense over the last few years. He has earned eight Pro Bowl selections and has consistently locked down the opposing team’s best receiver. Peterson effectively covers half of the football field with minimal help, making the jobs of every other defenders much easier.
Peterson will miss the first game of his accomplished career week one, and it could not have come at a worse time. The Cardinals are currently in one of the biggest turnarounds a franchise has made in recent years. The Cardinals decided to move on from quarterback Josh Rosen (their first-round pick from last year) and draft his replacement Kyler Murray first overall to pair with their new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The defense will also look different after signing veterans Terrell Suggs, Jordan Hicks, and Robert Alford. With all the adjustments to the roster, the Cardinals were counting on their leader, Peterson, to be one of their only established pieces throughout the season.
Fortunately, the Cardinals drafted cornerback Byron Murphy with the first pick in the second round (which means they may have foreseen the suspension coming). However, rather than having Murphy paired opposite of Peterson, the rookie will likely become their top cornerback immediately and be forced to defend some of the league’s best receivers. Murphy is talented and will certainly be a capable corner, but he will not replace Patrick Peterson’s talent and experience.
A six-game suspension is substantial, and it's certainly possible that the Cardinals' season could be decided by the time Peterson returns. The star corner will miss games against the Lions, Ravens, Panthers, Seahawks, Bengals, and Falcons. The Cardinals will certainly miss his presence as they face some talented quarterbacks and wide receivers during this stretch. Peterson will not be eligible to play until week seven against the rebuilding New York Giants.
Patrick Peterson’s suspension is the last thing the Cardinals needed to face this coming season. While their off-season additions made the defense look promising, they were planning on having Peterson to surround their newcomers. There is just no way the defense will play the same without him, and Arizona fans can only hope they adjust quickly and are able to still play solid defense until he returns.
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