When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson earlier this week, questions arose immediately about his age and his fit with the team. For his part, Peterson isn’t concerned, as he believes that he’ll be able to do whatever is necessary to help the Steelers win. In an interview Friday night with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com, Peterson discussed his role in Pittsburgh.
“I’m a guy that gets the job done. I can play whatever style of defense that’s required. If it is for me to go out and play man-to-man, if it is to go out there and play a little bit of zone coverage. Responsibilities may change for me throughout the week, throughout the course of a game,” Peterson said via the team’s YouTube channel. “I’m a very intelligent, smart football player, have a lot, a lot of games under my belt, so I want to be utilized in a way so I can help the team prevail and be as successful as the coaching staff sees us being.”
Peterson played in a scheme in Minnesota that utilized more zone coverage. The Steelers were primarily a man-to-man team in coverage in 2022, although they did mix in some zone looks. The change of scheme led to NFL.com analytics expert Cynthia Frelund to questioning the move, but Peterson doesn’t seem to think it’s much of an issue.
While he’s older, there’s no question that the 32-year-old Peterson has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL throughout the last decade. Even if his best days are behind him (and his 2022 production with five interceptions would suggest they aren’t), he’s still a guy who is going to play a lot and make a big impact for the Steelers in 2023. The team still has a need at cornerback, and the signing of Peterson means they’ll likely take a guy early in the draft that he can mentor. But locking down Peterson with a low-risk, two-year contract is good business by the Steelers.
Peterson said earlier this week that he wants to move around and trail a team’s top receiver. The Steelers traditionally keep their corners to one side of the field, but a player like Peterson may be tasked with trying to shut down the best weapon on the opposing team. That’s where there may be some concerns about his age and ability to cover in man. But Peterson’s football IQ and overall experience is something that will surely help him in one-on-one matchups.
If nothing else, you have to love his attitude. Peterson’s a guy who clearly just wants to win football games and is going to do whatever is necessary to make that happen. Like he said, his only goal is to get the job done, by whatever means necessary. Having a player with that attitude can only be a plus, not only on the field but off it too where he can take a leadership and mentorship role for young secondary. I’m excited to see what Peterson will do in the Black and Gold next season.