Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful


Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Patrick Peterson is headed to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his two seasons in the NFL.

This one, he said, means more because he has been chosen as a cornerback. Last year, as a rookie, he made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner.

``To go as a defensive back, that's huge because at the end of the day that's my primary position,'' Peterson said after the team practiced Thursday. ``That's a huge accomplishment for me, so I just want to continue to get better each and every year and now my goal is to go their every year as a cornerback.''

Hall of Famer Ron Woodson is the only other player to make the Pro Bowl as a returner and defender. Peterson is the first player to be selected for the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons since Vai Sikahema in 1986-87.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Peterson worked hard to improve at cornerback.

``Attention to detail, study,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I think that's a big part of growing up as a young player is understanding how you have to prepare. We know Patrick is very competitive but he's worked very hard at some of the little things you need to when you get into this league and it's shown up on the field.''

Peterson, usually matched against the opponent's top receiver, is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. He also has 15 passes defensed, 57 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Peterson, as confident as they come in pro football, says he expected the selection and considers it a reward for the hard work he has done since the Cardinals made him the No. 5 pick overall in the 2011 draft.

``It was a goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year,'' he said. ``I believe I worked extremely hard from OTAs to minicamps to training camp, during the season. It just goes to show the hard work does pay off.''

He said he's improved his patience and his technique from his rookie season to this year.

``Being able to understand the game,'' Peterson said. ``It's slowed down tremendously for me. And learning the concepts of the route combination these receivers want to do in certain situations. Just those little things helped me tremendous to come into my second year having a breakout year.''

Peterson was fourth at cornerback in fan voting but surged onto the team based on votes from coaches and players.

``That's huge,'' he said. ``That goes to show I do have the respect from my colleagues. The fans, they're going off stats and all that stuff, but coaches, they look at the film. They break down the film. They watch the technique. They watch how hard I work each and every play. I tip my hat off to the coaches and players who helped me get this spot.''

Peterson is Arizona's only Pro Bowl selection. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were chosen as alternates.

``I am kind of disappointed,'' Washington said. ``I guess today kind of showed it a little bit. Guys were kind of encouraging me. I thought I really had it in the book, but you've got to give credit to those guys in front of me, Lavar Bowman and Patrick Willis. Those guys have much respect for me and I wish those guys the best. Hopefully they get to the title game so I can get in there somehow, but much respect to those guys.''

Whisenhunt said that with Washington ``coming out of nowhere'' to prominence, it sometimes takes a year for his performance to reflect in the Pro Bowl balloting. Washington, in his third pro season, has nine sacks, one shy of the franchise best for a linebacker. He leads the team with 128 tackles, 110 solos, with an interception, 14 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Fitzgerald is a six-time Pro Bowl player, including the last five seasons in a row. But he was surprised to get any mention after all the quarterback troubles of the Arizona offense, which ranks last in the NFL. The quarterbacks' inability to get the ball to Fitzgerald is a big reason the team has lost 10 of 11 after a 4-0 start.

The franchise record holder in virtually all receiving categories, Fitzgerald has 69 catches for 785 yards and four touchdowns. With one game remaining, Sunday at San Francisco, he seems likely to fall short of 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in six years.


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Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews help lead AFC to victory in Pro Bowl skills competition

Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews help lead AFC to victory in Pro Bowl skills competition

Lamar Jackson was excellent this season finding his receivers across the field en route to an MVP caliber season. 

As it turns out, he’s not so good at hitting targets that aren’t human. 

Jackson struggled in the precision passing event, an event with moving targets labeled from one to five points and scored just two total points on 17 throws. 

But Jackson’s poor performance in the first event didn’t hurt the AFC, as it won the 2020 Pro Bowl skills competition over the NFC.

“A lot of bad throws,” Jackson said of his performance in the first event. “A little wind with me. It’s all good.” 

As soon as the event aired, Jackson immediately took to Twitter.

The events that followed were: The Gauntlet, Best Hands, Thread The Needle and Dodgeball. 

Jackson and teammate Mark Andrews competed in the Best Hands and Thread The Needle competitions. 

The duo’s obvious chemistry resulted in the second-best time, 49.4 seconds, out of four total pairings. 

The next drill was another passing drill called ‘Thread The Needle,’ which Jackson fared better in. He scored 12 total points, tied for the second-best of four passers. The concept of the drill was to throw the ball past a defender guarding a wall with nine targets, each with a corresponding point total.

In the final event of the night, the AFC beat the NFC two games to zero in dodgeball — led by Jackson and Andrews’ division rival, Browns wideout Jarvis Landry.

Jackson didn’t start the night well, but thankfully for him, the next targets with numbers he’ll see will be actual receivers at the Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon.

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Dolphins GM wants a leader at QB and has 'more than enough' to move up in the draft

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Dolphins GM wants a leader at QB and has 'more than enough' to move up in the draft

The Dolphins hold the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and if things break perfectly, they might be able to select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with that pick. 

Unfortunately for Miami, things rarely go perfectly for any team in the NFL Draft.

The reality is if the Dolphins want a quarterback, they have very little chance of getting LSU passer Joe Burrow. He will go No. 1 overall to Cincinnatti unless the Bengals are certifiably crazy.

After that come the Washington Redskins. Ron Rivera's new team drafted a rookie QB last year in Dwayne Haskins, and he showed significant growth late in the 2019 season. It seems that the Redskins will take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second pick. It seems like an easy decision.

But if Miami is desperate for a QB, the only way to guarantee they get their guy is to get to number two. Detroit has the third pick, New York has the fourth pick, then the Dolphins. 

The Redskins, Lions and Giants don't look to be in the quarterback market, but that doesn't mean other teams won't call them for a trade.

Even the most casual fan knows there aren't enough good passers in the NFL, and while Burrow is the most coveted prospect, don't count out Tagovailoa. He is going to gain immense steam as a draft prospect by late April. Scouts and personnel guys swear by the former Alabama passer as a person and as a quarterback. He's coming off a major hip injury, but the Dolphins have Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract for the 2020 season. 

It's all hypothetical right now, and maybe even a long shot, but the Dolphins GM knows he has the ammunition to move up from the fifth pick if needed. 

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier spoke at the Senior Bowl this week and said his team has "more than enough" options in the draft to get their quarterback. Miami has three first-round picks this year - Nos. 5, 18 and 26 - along with two second-round picks. That's plenty of capital if Grier decides his team needs to move up. 

And it sure sounds like Grier wants Tagovailoa.

"He’s been a winner. The fact that he won the Elite 11 and he goes to Alabama and has the storybook, coming off the bench in the national championship. Everyone always talks about his accuracy," Grier said via The Miami Herald. "Talk about the person, as well. The intangibles that we talk about. Looking forward to getting to meet him."

The only way for Miami to guarantee they get Tua is to trade into the second spot. Nobody knows what QB-needy team could trade into the third spot. And Grier knows that. 

It's also important to point out that Grier added what most around the NFL know: In the time before the draft there is "a lot of misinformation" out there. 

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