Veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson had a game to forget on Sunday. At the same time, he may have opened the window of opportunity for rookie Joey Porter Jr.
In their 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans, several Texans had Peterson's number when he was targeted, most notably Nico Collins, who embarrassed Peterson on a 52-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Coming into Week 4, Peterson had allowed only nine completions on 16 targets, yet held a passer ratio allowed of 90.1. What should also be noted is that he has surrendered at least one touchdown in three of the four games he has played this season, including yesterday against the Texans.
At one point in his career, Peterson was one of the best man-press corners in the NFL. With time and age, his physical skillset has waned, resulting in him being more zone-oriented. Even with this, Peterson has not lived up to the expectations given to him during the offseason.
In the case of Joey Porter Jr., he came into this year's NFL Draft as one of the best press corners in his class. Though Porter Jr. has played few snaps this season, he has shown that he is capable of keeping up with some of the top receivers in the league. On 45 coverage snaps, Porter Jr. has allowed one reception for 12 yards with a 39.6 passer rating allowed.
With head coach Mike Tomlin expressing the need for major changes , this could include a dramatic decrease in snaps for Peterson and an increase for Porter Jr., which could allow the team to play more press on the outside. Whatever the team decides, they may need to come to terms with the fact that Peterson is not the same player he once was.