Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson among NFL players under most pressure in 2020

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson will be under a lot of pressure in 2020, according to one NFL writer.

How much pressure?

The writer ranks him No. 3 on a list of players in the league under the most pressure for the upcoming season.'s Adam Schein writes: "Whenever I ask cornerbacks or receivers to name the truly elite cover men in the game, Peterson's name routinely comes up. A Pro Bowler in each of his first eight NFL seasons, Pat Pete's built up an immense level of respect among his peers. But last year was an absolute mess. After serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, Peterson just wasn't himself upon return. While his play picked up in the final month of the season, the 29-year-old looked like a player in decline for much of his ninth NFL campaign. Now, I have Arizona as my Cinderella team in 2020. Part of my premise is that the Cardinals have three special talents on defense in Peterson, Chandler Jones and rookie Isaiah Simmons. Peterson needs to be special again -- which means playing at his Hall of Fame level -- for the Cardinals to live up to my billing."

Only new New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack are above Peterson on Schein's list.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo round out the Top 5 on his list.

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On a video conference call with reporters in May, Peterson was asked if he had something to prove to fans in the upcoming season after being suspended for the first six games of 2019 for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing substances and struggling on the field when he returned to action before appearing to get back to his normal high expectations late in the season.

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson walks the sideline against the Oakland Raiders in the first half during a game Nov. 18 at State Farm Stadium.

“I’m not really into watch-this, prove-this, but I can promise you this: This is definitely going to be a big year. Just wait and see,” Peterson said. “To whoever is doubting me or to whoever don’t think I can still play at a high level, just wait and see.

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Peterson was one of three current members of the Cardinals named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2010’s in April, joining wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and outside linebacker Chandler Jones, and the recognition was humbling.

“I cried when I got that because going through that season last year and obviously having the suspension and having to deal with that … I literally thought it was like a joke,” Peterson said. “I shed a year because that’s something I always envisioned myself being – one of the greatest to ever play the game.

“I think this year is going to be big for me. I’m excited. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. It’s bigger than it’s ever been. And with this being my 10th year, I’m very optimistic. I can feel something special.

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The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman contributed to this story.

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