Once considered a pro-bowler, a ball hawk, a rising star, Marcus Peters has fallen from grace. In the offseason the trade for Peters was considered by many, a steal. He along with Aqib Talib, NRC, Lamarcus Joyner, and John Johnson III were supposed to form Lock Angeles. That didn’t happen and although it isn’t all Peters’ fault, there is a lot of blame placed upon him due to some terrible performances this season. Who is Marcus Peters? Is he the guy that had 21 interceptions and 36 pass break-ups from 2015-2017? Or is he the guy that got embarrassed by Michael Thomas in the Superdome? Is he worth keeping around for the future or has his play fallen off for good?
Marcus Peters and the Los Angeles Rams started off hot in weeks one and two. Peters played phenomenally, allowing only 4 receptions on 8 targets for a total of 25 yards. In those games he did not give up a score and we all remember the #HMD pick six in Oakland. That is what Marcus Peters can be, should be, and was-until he faced the Chargers in week 3. The battle for Los Angeles saw Peters give up only 2 catches on 3 targets but those two catches were abysmal plays, one a 27 yard catch and the other, a 42 yard touchdown to Mike Williams. Something else occurred as well in that game, both Talib and Peters suffered injuries that looked scary. Talib went to IR until the Rams faced off against the Lions in Detroit, but Peters was somehow able to play the very next week against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football. The rest of the season has continued to be up and down for Peters, with fans wondering just how healthy he has been. That isn’t an excuse for Peters, if he is/was not good to go, he should let the staff know. However, it does offer some insight into why he may be having the worst season of his career despite playing for a defense that deploys Aaron Donald.
Statistics aren’t everything, but they do offer a lot of insight into player performance and Marcus Peters’ stat line just isn’t cutting it. Career worsts in reception percentage, yards per catch, interceptions, and pass break-ups, Marcs Peters hasn’t looked like the pro-bowler and ball hawk the Rams envisioned when they traded a 2018 4th round pick and a 2019 2nd round pick for the controversial cover corner. Peters is allowing a catch rate of 68.7% against him and a 15 yards/catch average. He has given up nearly 700 yards passing in 13 games along with 6 touchdowns (his 2nd highest total for his career). Logical fans knew what to expect with Peters, a guy who gambles, doesn’t tackle well, and too often goes for the turnover instead of the solid stop. But we expected the turnovers to happen like they always had for Peters, something to offset the bad plays and give our defense a jolt in key moments. Instead he is currently sitting at career lows for interceptions with three and pass break-ups with 4. This is not the guy we saw with all the swagger, shutting down receivers, in Oakland. This Marcus Peters has caused fans at times to question if Troy Hill should be out there, it has led to rumors only halfway through the season that next year the Rams could trade for Jalen Ramsey. So what happened to Marcus Peters? Furthermore, should we even entertain the idea of bringing him back next year?
Maybe Peters is just having a down year like players sometimes do, I mean we’ve all seen Aaron Rodgers look like not Aaron Rodgers this year right? Maybe the injury in the Chargers game lingered despite not missing any action? Maybe it is even still affecting his play? Maybe his play suffered because of losing Talib and Peters being forced into roles that he isn’t comfortable in? Maybe the scheme Wade Phillips has utilized this year didn’t quite work out at times (too much zone and off-man coverage)? We have seen a lot of talented players not living up to the hype in this defense-Mark Barron, Ndamukong Suh, Lamarcus Joyner, Michael Brockers, etc. We can make excuses until the cows come home, at the end of the day, Marcus Peters has not performed well enough to give anybody confidence that he will return to his usual form. Don’t get me wrong-it hasn’t been all bad, overall he played well against the Broncos, 49ers, Bears, Lions, the Seahawks (2nd matchup), and even against the high-flying Chiefs. He has had good performances, but his bad performances have looked like a player that didn’t even belong on the field. His best performances have generally come against weaker competition. Still, I would say that Peters has played well enough in 8/13 games so far in 2018. But the Vikings, Packers, Saints, and Seahawks have all put Peters on skates this year. Even if his play continues to improve the last three weeks of the regular season like it has the previous two weeks, it is fair to wonder if that is a result of Talib being back. If so, should the Rams avoid extending Peters, particularly because Talib won’t be around forever? Or do we go off of his body of work throughout his career and assume this has just been a down year for a combination of the reasons previously discussed?
I’m not a GM, I’m not a scout. What I am is of the belief that Marcus Peters is MUCH better than what 2018 has seen. I prefer to go off his whole body of work rather than a year in which the defense as a whole has underperformed, he lost his mentor in Talib for a large chunk of the season, he suffered an injury that I do believe lingered and caused him to have less mobility in coverage. I also think some of this is just what you get with Marcus Peters-it is why he didn’t fetch a first round pick like people thought he would. Peters isn’t Revis locking everything down, he is a guy who makes spectacular plays but also some really dumb ones. It doesn’t mean he isn’t good or isn’t worth a big contract. Just that you have to know what to expect out of a player like Peters. Take the good with the bad. Ultimately I think Peters is worth keeping around, I wouldn’t sign him to top tier money-maybe a shorter contract when the time comes. I think Peters will finish the regular season strong against the Eagles, Cardinals, and 49ers. I think he may finally be at 100% health wise and that probably does play a part in his improved performance. I look forward to watching Marcus Peters prove people wrong, I look forward to him snatching an INT in the playoffs to seal a game. I guess we’ll find out one way or another who Marcus Peters really is.