Finally, some playmakers
Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, August 21 - 11:30 AM
The term 'playmaker' is something that Cardinal fans haven’t exactly been familiar with lately. But as the 2012 campaign draws nearer it could soon become more recognized in Arizona.
Topping the list is second-year cornerback Patrick Peterson. Although Peterson is yet to become the shutdown corner the team needs him to be after being selected with the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft, he has turned into one of the most electrifying return men in the NFL.
Peterson averaged nearly 16 yards per punt return a year ago and tied an NFL record returning four punts for touchdowns. He’s already up to his old tricks again this preseason, racking up 46 yards on his first punt return of the year against the Raiders last week.
Next up is another second-year player, running back Ryan Williams. Williams, of course, missed the entire 2011 campaign and will be key to the Cardinals’ offensive success this year. While battling injuries, Beanie Wells has been a serviceable back during his time in the desert, but Williams is the home-run threat the team has been craving for years.
Williams has only rushed for 25 yards on five carries in the preseason, but he continues to demonstrate the explosiveness and big-play ability that quickly made him a team and fan favorite before getting injured as a rookie.
Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald has to be mentioned here but the new name on the block at wide receiver is Michael Floyd. Floyd has gotten off to a slow start in game action but the rookie from Notre Dame will enter 2012 with high expectations. Floyd will be counted on to take pressure off of Fitzgerald and allow Early Doucet and Andre Roberts to roam the middle of the field working as slot receivers.
Others to keep an eye on are tight end Rob Housler and cornerback Jamell Fleming. Housler came into the league as an overall raw prospect but has made strides since then. With the explosion of athletic tight ends thriving in the NFL, Housler could be one of the next to emerge. Meanwhile, Fleming has already showed a knack for being around the ball, totaling a team-high 12 tackles so far in the preseason.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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