Postcard from camp: Cardinals
At Northern Arizona University, where,
As for the quarterback situation, we'll rely on an old Parcells-ism: It is what it is. Kevin Kolb continues to battle injuries and turnovers, while John Skelton remains as inconsistent as ever. Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't going rush to name a starter, but the likelihood is that Kolb will need to show progress to gain the trust of not only the coaches, but also his teammates.
To those who would try to rush Whisenhunt into a decision because the players need to know who will be leading them at the most important position on the field, consider the words of safety Adrian Wilson: "I don't give a s**t who our quarterback is. I really don't. Whether it's John or whether it's Kevin, I'm guessing Coach Whisenhunt is probably going to want that guy to get the ball to the right person, and he probably wants him to protect the football. I'm pretty certain of those things. So, whoever wins it, you do those two things and you'll be good. Both guys have debates on why they should be the guy. They have to go out there and prove themselves to Coach. Over these last two weeks Coach has really been a hard ass about showing him what we can do. Like, show it to him. Don't keep talking about it and saying stuff in the media. Go out there and do it."
When Horton looks at his defense he says he sees potential greatness in second-year cornerback Patrick Peterson, who was been sensational in camp. "The guy's got so much mental toughness that he wants to be great, not good, in all phases, as a returner and a corner," Horton says. "He's worked very hard at his craft. ... He has everything that [Jets All-Pro Darrelle Revis] has. He's got height, bulk, speed, power and he's got that innate ability to have the hands of a wide receiver. So he's got everything. He's a coach's dream."
Peterson, who returned four punts for touchdowns last season, dropped about 10 pounds so he could be quicker and more explosive at the line. "I didn't want to have to worry about the guy getting behind me and having to strain myself to get back into position," Peterson says. "By being smaller, leaner, I can be in that position from the beginning rather than trying to make up ground."
Peterson admits that last year he was playing largely on his God-given abilities, after having no contact or practices with the team in the offseason because of the lockout. "I feel so far ahead of the game now," he says. "Having an offseason helped me grasp the playbook a little bit more and understand the scheme a little bit more. I understand where guys are supposed to be, where my help is supposed to be. I understand route trees and how guys will try to attack me."
The Cardinals play four of their first six games at home, including three of four to start the season. It's critical for them to generate momentum because the schedule is daunting down the stretch, when they will play at the Jets, at the Seahawks, host the Lions and Bears, then finish at the 49ers.