Arians wants to decrease Peterson's punts

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Patrick Peterson's days as the Arizona Cardinals' primary punt returner may be slowly coming to an end.

While discussing Arizona's third-round draft picks on Friday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said John Brown will assist Ted Ginn in returning kicks and punts, thus possibly reducing Peterson's responsibility.

“That'll depend,” Arians said. “We'd like to ease that up a little bit anyway just because of what happened to Tyrann [Mathieu] and let him just focus on taking out receivers and doing his job there. But, also, he's still dynamic enough to do it.”

Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL while returning a free kick in Week 13 against the St. Louis Rams. He was expected to be Peterson's eventual replacement but those plans have been shelved for the time being.

Peterson's production as a punt returner has decreased since his rookie year, when he was named an All-Pro at the position after tying an NFL record with four punt returns for touchdowns. His 699 return yards as a rookie led the NFL, but that number dropped to 426 yards and no touchdowns in 2012. Last season, Peterson managed just 198 yards on 33 returns and failed to return a touchdown for the second straight year.

Arians also said Peterson's days as a wide receiver “might be over” following a failed experiment in 2013 with Peterson on offense. Peterson caught six passes for 54 yards, rushed for 21 yards on four carries and completed one pass for 17 yards.

Ginn has averaged 357 punt return yards per season for the past four years.