Down and Distance with the Cardinals: Losing Corey Peters is “really devastating”

GLENDALE, Ariz. – With quarterback Carson Palmer completely 100-percent, the Arizona Cardinals are finally over the nightmare that was Palmer’s non-contact ACL injury he suffered last November.

Unfortunately for the team, another non-contact injury nightmare just dropped in their collective laps, with defensive tackle Corey Peters suffering a torn Achilles in Wednesday’s practice courtesy of Peters having interaction with the air and zero teammates.

What’s even tougher about this situation is that Peters tore the Achilles in his left leg, not the one in his right leg, which is the one he tore back in 2013.

“Obviously he’s (Peters) devastated,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s bounced back from it kinda like Carson (Palmer) has. (The) second time around it’s really devastating because he was having such a great camp. He should be able to bounce back mentally quicker.”

Arizona is down two major pieces on their offensive and defensive lines, with left guard Mike Iupati suffering a knee injury on Tuesday – which will require a meniscus repair – and Peters. Iupati and Peters will be hard to replace, but as long as these injuries don’t become a regular occurrence, Arians feels the lines will be fine with the depth they have.

“You plug in a 17-game starter (Ted Larsen) at left guard until Mike (Iupati) comes back, and you’ve got some young guys who have shown a lot of promise in what we’re trying to get done by the nose guard now on defense,” Arians said.

Peters and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon spent the last five years together in Atlanta with the Falcons, so if anyone knows Peters, and what he’s going through right now, is Weatherspoon.

“It’s sad news for me, and Cory (Redding) as well, and the Cardinals, because I really feel like he (Peters) was coming into his own. He was really looking good out there,” Weatherspoon said. “We’re just praying for him and being strong for him.”

There’s not much that Weatherspoon, or Redding, or Frostee Rucker could’ve said to Peters when he was sitting on the sideline getting checked out by head athletic trainer Tom Reed. All they could do is just be there for him for whatever he needed. That’s what family does for one another.

“Anything he (Peters) needed, I can help you do this. (If) you can’t make it up the stairs, I need to get your stuff out of your room so you can get ready to (and) take care of your business, just let me know, and if you need anything, call me,” Weatherspoon said. “That’s how I’ve always been with him. He’s a great friend of mine, and he’s a strong man, so I know that he’ll bounce back. He did the other one a couple years ago, and he bounced back and had a great season last year. We look forward to his recovery.”

Cornerback Jerraud Powers struck up a relationship with Peters back in their college days. Powers hosted Peters when he took a visit to Auburn University. Peters ended up at the University of Kentucky, but their initial meeting in Auburn, Ala., helped spark a friendship that’s translated over to the professional ranks with the Cardinals. Powers, like everyone else in the organization, is taking the loss of Peters pretty hard.

“To see the career that he’s (Peters) had, and then (he) comes here and is going to be a big part of our defense, and having a good camp, and just one snap of a play, (and) something like that happens, it’s just unfortunate because half (of) the time, you really can’t prevent those types of injuries,” Powers said. “You hate it for him, but B.A.’s (Bruce Arians) philosophy (is) it’s another opportunity for another guy, so hopefully we can get somebody to step right in and fill those shoes.”

Rookie defensive end Rodney Gunter is going to be that guy to help fill Peters’ shoes until he gets back. Arians loves the fact that Gunter isn’t just set in stone at defensive end. He can fill multiple positions and play multiple roles wherever he’s needed, which right now is at nose tackle.

Arians says Gunter’s “length and strength” are two things that will help him get acclimated to being a starter.

“He’s very bright for a young guy; (he’s a) hard working guy, so I have no concerns about where he’s going to play, and he’s going to play a bunch,” Arians said.

“I think he’s (Gunter) had a (heck of) a camp. He’s shown a lot of things that he can do to help this team,” Powers said. “Hopefully he can step in that role and take advantage of it.”

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