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Arizona Cardinals

The Pulse: Coverage to blame for Peterson's decline on punt returns

Every day, ArizonaSports.com asks readers a question. It's the Sanderson Ford Poll Question of the Day, and it can be found midway down the right side of our home page.

On Sunday, May 25, we asked readers, "What's the biggest reason for Patrick Peterson's decline in punt return production?"

Now, first of all, you may argue that his abilities are still there, but that he's just not getting the same opportunities and that opponents are playing him tougher.

That might be why the No. 1 answer in the poll was "coverage," meaning teams are better accounting for his return potential or sometimes they straight up just won't punt the ball to where he can field it cleanly. Two-hundred and twenty-two voters (53 percent) out of 420 picked this option.

The second-most popular pick, with 36 percent of all votes, was "himself," meaning quite a few think he must be a step slower than when he came into league -- when he torched opposing special teams units for 699 yards and four touchdowns on 44 punt returns in his rookie season.

The least popular of the three options was "teammates," with 11 percent taking this option. Peterson recently said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that the Cardinals special teams have been younger the last couple years, and that it might be affecting his return potential.

It appears not many of our readers agree with his assessment. Then again, Peterson and his colleagues would have a better view of it all than most of us would.

Even though he has returned 84 punts since his explosive rookie year, his yardage over the last two years is less than in that first campaign, and he hasn't taken a punt to the house since that season either.

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