Adrian Peter­son awaits Buc­ca­neers, Win­ston back at scene of de­ba­cle

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS -

GLENDALE, Ariz.—Last year, Jameis Win­ston came to Ari­zona and had a very long af­ter­noon.

The Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers (2-2) re­turn to the desert on Sun­day, where they will see Adrian Peter­son, of all peo­ple, glar­ing at them from the Car­di­nals’ back­field.

Win­ston threw four in­ter­cep­tions in Ari­zona last year in Tampa Bay’s 41-7 loss.

“Well you see what they did to us last year,” wide re­ceiver Mike Evans said. “They stomped us out last year. They bring a lot of pres­sure and a lot of man cov­er­age on the back end. We’ve just got to be real phys­i­cal as re­ceivers and tight ends. We’ve got to be real phys­i­cal and get open.”

Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koet­ter said that last year the Car­di­nals “phys­i­cally beat us and took ad­van­tage of all of our mis­takes.”

The Car­di­nals ex­pect an im­proved, con­fi­dent Win­ston on Sun­day.

“He’s ma­tured as a leader, as a cap­tain of that team,” Ari­zona corner­back Pa­trick Peter­son said. “You can tell that they gave him the keys to the car.”

Win­ston faces an Ari­zona de­fense that was carved apart by Car­son Wentz in a 34-7 loss at Philadel­phia last Sun­day.

The of­fense for Ari­zona (2-3), was equally in­ept, par­tic­u­larly on the ground, where the Car­di­nals are av­er­ag­ing a league-worst 2.6 yards per carry.

En­ter Peter­son, the four-time All-Pro run­ning back who was lan­guish­ing on the side­lines as the third-string run­ning back in New Or­leans. Ari­zona ac­quired the 32-year-old back this week in ex­change for an undis­closed draft choice.

Peter­son will have had only three prac­tices when he takes the field as the Car­di­nals’ lead back Sun­day.

“He’ll have his role,” Ari­zona coach Bruce Ari­ans said.

Peter­son said he’s ready to play and in­sists he still has it de­spite his unim­pres­sive few games with the Saints.

Run­ning the ball with a new team, Peter­son said, is “pretty much easy.”

“I feel like any sys­tem is about be­ing on the same page with the of­fen­sive line,” he said, “know­ing your as­sign­ments, know­ing the route you have with pro­tec­tions to make sure you keep the quar­ter­back up­right. That’s go­ing to be the tough­est chal­lenge for me.”

Here are some things to con­sider when the Buc­ca­neers meet the Car­di­nals:

EN­ERGY BOOST: The ac­qui­si­tion of a player of Peter­son’s stature has pro­vided an emo­tional boost to a team try­ing to shake off an ugly loss.

“Any­time you bring a guy in of that cal­iber there’s go­ing some kind of ex­cite­ment,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “We haven’t had much ex­cite­ment the first five games of the sea­son.”

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