Peterson earns Pro Bowl berth at cornerback
TEMPE, Ariz. – Patrick Peterson was named to the 2012 NFC Pro Bowl roster on Wednesday, becoming the first Cardinal to earn Pro Bowl nods in each of his first two seasons since Vai Sikahema did it in 1986 and ’87. He also joined Hall of Famer Rod Woodson as the only two NFL players ever to earn Pro Bowl selections as a returner and as a defensive player.
“It definitely solidifies what I’ve been trying to get the world to see,” Peterson said. “Although last year was a huge accomplishment … this one is 10 times better because at the end of the day I want to set myself up to be a great cornerback, not a punt returner.”
Peterson spent time with guys like Chicago’s Charles Tillman and Green Bay’s Charles Woodson at last year’s Pro Bowl and said it fueled him to get back as a corner.
“Being around top-notch guys,” Peterson said, “I wanted to be in their position. It was fun being around those guys, seeing their journey and seeing how they got to the Pro Bowl.”
Peterson is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions and anchors a pass defense that leads the NFL in efficiency rating.
Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington, 26, and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were named Pro Bowl alternates. Washington’s snub was a mild surprise given his team-high 123 tackles and nine sacks, but the list of selections was impressive: San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, Green Bay’s Clay Matthews and Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware.
Aside from Fitzgerald’s exclusion from the team, other notable Cardinals absences included strong safety Adrian Wilson and defensive tackle/end Darnell Dockett.
Fitzgerald’s absence broke a string of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances (six overall), while Wilson’s absence broke a streak of four straight (five overall). Dockett hasn’t made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons after appearances in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Fitzgerald’s absence is the most notable of the three given his stature in the league, but it is more a product of the club’s poor quarterback play than anything else. Heading into the season finale, Fitzgerald’s 785 receiving yards ranked 37th in the NFL, but he’s been targeted the sixth-most times (148). Fitzgerald has dropped a few passes this season, but the disparity in those numbers lies largely in the amount of times the Cardinals’ quarterbacks have simply missed him.
According to Pro Football Focus, only 74 of those 148 targets were catchable passes. Fitzgerald caught 69 of them.
Asked if not going to Hawaii would bother him, Fitzgerald shook his head.
“No,” he said, adding that he already has alternate travel plans for that week. “When you’re not in it, you don’t (care).
“I’m just happy my man Patrick (Peterson) got a chance to go represent the Arizona Cardinals.”
BEANIE CLARIFIES REMARKS
One month ago, running back Beanie Wells told Fox Sports Arizona that the final few games of the season were partially about “getting film out there” for other teams to see as he ponders his future. Wells reiterated those comments to reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Bears, but he said Wednesday that those comments may have been misunderstood.
“I want to be an Arizona Cardinal next season,” he said. “That’s what I want everyone to know.”
There is some confusion about Wells’ contract status for 2013. It has been reported that Wells is still under contract for one more season from his rookie deal signed in 2009, but Wells said three weeks ago and repeated Wednesday that “it’s my understanding that it’s a (team) option.”
That would mean the team has to exercise that option to avoid Wells becoming a free agent. Of course, if he is under contract, the team could still bring him to camp and then cut him, making him a free agent anyway.
Wells has had an injury-plagued season and unproductive season (234 yards). He had a crucial fumble early in the first quarter against the Bears that led to Chicago’s first TD on Sunday. He only carried the ball once the rest of the game.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn’t take the bait when asked about Wells’ comments.
“When you have a season that we’ve had… there’s going to be frustration,” Whisenhunt said. “You don’t put a lot of stock in what they say. He’s got a job to do for us. He’s got to do a better job than what he did last week, and he understands that.”
Even so, Whisenhunt would not say who would start on Sunday at running back.
“It’s going to be package-oriented,” he said. “I can’t really tell you right now.”
Former Arizona State receiver Kerry Taylor was rewarded for his hard work with a promotion from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Wednesday. Taylor was signed to the practice squad in late September to replace another former Sun Devils receiver, Gerell Robinson, who was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs but has since returned to the practice squad.
The roster spot for Taylor became available when tight end Rob Housler (AC sprain, shoulder) was placed on injured reserve. The Cards also signed defensive end Everrette Thompson to the practice squad.
For the Cardinals: WR LaRon Byrd (knee), OL Mike Gibson (calf), T Nate Potter (ankle), FB Anthony Sherman (knee), WR Early Doucet (concussion) and SS Adrian Wilson (illness) did not practice.
S Rashad Johnson (hamstring), S James Sanders (calf), DE Ronald Talley (ankle) and NT Dan Williams (hamstring) were limited.
For the 49ers: WR Mario Manningham is on IR. TE Vernon Davis (concussion), LB Tavares Gooden (illness/ribs) and DT Justin Smith (elbow) did not practice.
CB Tarell Brown(shoulder/knee), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), FB Bruce Miller (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith(shoulder), DT Will Tukuafu (neck) and LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) were limited.