The season on the field didn’t go the way the Cardinals wanted it to go, but individually, the team had some standout seasons from popular players – a big reason the Cards had four players named to the Pro Bowl Tuesday.
There was the rookie, Budda Baker, getting the NFC’s nod on special teams. There was linebacker Chandler Jones, in the middle of his best season, earning his first Pro Bowl selection as a Cardinal and his second in his career. Then there were the two superstars, with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald earning his 11th nod in 14 seasons and cornerback Patrick Peterson getting his seventh selection in seven NFL seasons.
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That was the path Patrick Peterson took, making the Pro Bowl as a return man in 2011 and then getting six straight trips as a cornerback. Peterson has just one interception this season but ranks among the top corners in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, in terms of snaps played per pass attempt – meaning teams simply don’t throw at Peterson much. That’s while Peterson is almost exclusively put on the opposition’s No. 1 receiver. Peterson also has nine pass breakups, 28 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Jones not only was a lock to make the Pro Bowl but deserves to be in the discussion for NFL defensive Player of the Year. He has 15 sacks – third all-time in franchise history, and just short of Simeon Rice’s record of 16½ -- along with 25 tackles for loss. Both lead the NFL. Jones also has two forced fumbles, a pass defensed and 35 quarterback hits to go with 60 tackles.
Fitzgerald will once again gain 1,000 yards – he needs 18 to reach that plateau – and right now has 92 receptions for 982 yards and five touchdowns with two games left. This season, Fitzgerald has moved from ninth to third on the NFL’s all-time list for receiving yards, and moved closer to second in all-time receptions.
Source: Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com, 12/19/2017