Arizona Cardinals Success on Special Teams Hinges on Patrick Peterson

By Ryan Heckman
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals had a debacle of a season in 2012. After starting out 4-0, the Cardinals went on to only win one more game the rest of the way ending a miserable season at 5-11.

Their biggest struggle was undoubtedly their inability to put points on the board. Whether that came from the offense or special teams, they struggled in both areas.

Going into 2013 they have a bit more hope due to a new head coach, Bruce Arians, with a vision for success. He appears set on starting newly signed quarterback Drew Stanton, who could prove to be a large improvement over last year’s quarterback party in Arizona.

One of the things the Cardinals can do to help themselves offensively is to bump up their play on special teams. Having a capable return man like cornerback Patrick Peterson, there is no excuse for not succeeding, especially on punt returns.

Last year, Arizona only averaged 8.2 yards per return on punts. Peterson also failed to score a touchdown, which is more or less expected out of a player of his caliber. With a new quarterback in Stanton, the need to start off the year with great field position on every possible series is crucial; if not that, Peterson can just do the job for them and score a touchdown by himself.

With his blazing speed and incredible cut back ability, Peterson has what it takes to succeed in the return game. His play on special teams must be better next season. The biggest reason for that is because of the offense’s inability to move the ball very far last year.

With Peterson placing the Cardinals offense in a better position to put points on the board, he can single-handedly be responsible for a large improvement in all three phases of the game obviously including his play at corner.

Ryan Heckman is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer and NFL contributor for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+

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