The signing reunites Peterson with Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who was the linebacker's defensive coordinator from 2003 through 2007. In 2008, Peterson was benched after a series of disputes with head coach Jack Del Rio. We asked Charlie Bernstein, Publisher of JagNation.com, for his take on the 10-year veteran:
Peterson had been a great leader and great player for the Jaguars ever since his arrival in 2003, but age seemed to catch up with him in 2008, which would be a microcosm for the entire Jaguars defense. Peterson began the year playing the "Mike" position and was simply not the old Mike Peterson. The 10-year vet took bad angles, missed numerous tackles, and generally was more bark than bite. It was very obvious that Peterson needed to find the bench, and following a week 9 loss to the then-winless Cincinnati Bengals, Peterson spoke out in a team meeting and Del Rio took exception to the outburst and dismissed him from the team. Peterson was inactive for the next week, and didn't start again until week 16 when new starting middle linebacker Daryl Smith was placed on injured reserve.
Peterson was inserted into the lineup after his initial benching and played the "Sam" linebacker position, and played much better. As for how much Peterson has left, it really remains to be seen. Peterson benefitted greatly during his time in Jacksonville from the dominant play of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, and when their play suffered, so did Peterson's. Mike Peterson isn't anywhere near the same dominant tackling machine he was from 2003-2005, but he can still be a solid fill-in either in the middle or on the outside. Peterson had his best years with Coach Smith and if anyone can resurrect his career it would be him.
Peterson had missed 17 games during the 2006-2007 season with a torn pectoral and broken arm, both injuries which have since healed.
Peterson was selected in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Indianapolis Colts, and signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2003. He has amassed 1,000 total tackles, 19.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 15 interceptions in his career.
He will most likely take the role of weakside linebacker with Atlanta, bringing valuable veteran depth to an outside linebacker corps that has been virtually vaporized by the departures of Keith Brooking and Michael Boley.