Los Angeles Rams 90-Man Roster Preview: Cornerback Marcus Peters

by Jake Ellenbogen
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The star cornerback traded from the Kansas City Chiefs had an up-and-down season with his new team. The Los Angeles Rams traded a few draft picks which included their second-rounder this year for Peters’ services. The former Chief kicked off the new year with a bang against Oakland but all in all it was a down year for the 26-year-old corner. Now, 2019 awaits and it’s a contract year for the former Washington product. Will Peters bounce back and play like the elite corner the league has known him to be this season?

2018 Season

Pre-Talib Injury

Marcus Peters had a season in which he almost reached the top of the mountain in terms of success but found himself battling a down year. For Peters, it wasn’t the best year but it wasn’t the worst year you could have either. Peters is known for his gambling style of play and unfortunately, the gambling didn’t pay off as much this season as it did in the past. When you pair that with the injury of fellow star cornerback Aqib Talib, you can see a problem for Peters.

Peters admitted to his poor play during the season, however, he was fairly adamant in an interview that he was not playing injured. If you do not remember Peters suffered a calf injury in the week three Battle for L.A. matchup versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Peters did not return in that game and was ruled out. He, however, was not about to blame that injury (an injury he played through) on his performance. Which says a lot about him as a competitor. In that same game, Talib was also shaken up with a more impactful injury and one that would sideline him indefinitely.

Post-Talib Injury

Once Talib was placed on the shelf, Peters felt the pressure of being “the guy” again. That’s what Peters was in Kansas City but the Rams had created a dynamic star-studded duo between the two which eased the load on both players. Talib, who is 33-years-old received the benefit of Peters’ presence and the 26-year-old felt the benefit of Talib’s presence. The problem was the fact the season rolled on and Peters continued to struggle against the likes of Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and other talented wideouts. It was clear he needed Talib back in the fold.

The Los Angeles Rams got Talib back near the end of their season and it helped Peters immensely. The pressure was off him and honestly, everything was starting to come together for Wade Phillips’ group. Peters was able to play looser and turned it on in the Rams quest for a Super Bowl. The Rams fell short but the season ended with the formerly struggling cornerback finding his way towards the end of the season. It was a big deal for Peters to finish the season strong.

Roster Battle

Marcus Peters is not battling a single soul on this roster. There is a good chance the Rams are going to pay him and make him their franchise cornerback. That should be a clear indication of where Peters’ roster battle is. The answer, it’s non-existent. Peters will be the starter across from Aqib Talib and that won’t change unless the Los Angeles Rams simply do not bring him back next year.

Three Plays on Film

This right here is why the Rams made a trade for Marcus Peters. It’s not just what he can do in coverage, it’s what he can do the entire game. He changed the momentum of the game on a dime. Here, it’s a pick-six that ends the first game of the season and signals a win for the Rams. This is great reading and reacting from Peters and as you can see, he’s gone once he catches that football. You should plenty more where this came from in 2019.

This is not a good throw by Mitch Trubisky but what I want to point out is how impressive of a job Peters does in returning this interception. While this is thrown directly at Peters, he still does an incredible job to evade multiple defenders. His vision and his overall movement as a ball-carrier are impressive. However, I would like him to stop holding the football out for someone to punch out of his hands. Even still, Peters does a phenomenal job to take this back just shy of a touchdown.

Marcus Peters was eviscerated by Michael Thomas and the media following the Rams first loss of the season. Thomas cooks Peters here right off the line of scrimmage to seal the game. However, Peters didn’t have the horrible game that everyone was saying. This is a perfect play to show Peters recognizing that he needs help over the top. Peters was asked to shadow one of the best receivers in football all game long. There aren’t even five cornerbacks in the league that could do that without help. For what was made out to be a joke of a game, Peters actually played well considering the circumstance.

Biggest Question?

Will Marcus Peters go back to being an elite playmaker?

It’s a very fair question considering the fact Peters wasn’t the ball-hawking player last year he had been throughout his career. Over time, players get better and players get worse. It’s not to say Peters is going to do either of the two but anytime someone struggles or doesn’t match their play up to where it was originally with a new team. It always garners a little cause for concern.

If you were asking me right now where I think Peters game falls tier wise this year. I would say I think Peters will be back in the top 10 and should have quite the second season in Los Angeles.

2019 Outlook and Role

The role for Marcus Peters in 2019 will be the same as last year unless Aqib Talib gets hurt again. He’s going to need to be the playmaker and be able to play off of Talib. That’s what makes the Rams secondary so strong and scary. Talib and not to mention slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman add plenty to the secondary. Peters will need to be a guy Sean McVay can go to and ask for a big play in a crucial game. You want a shutdown corner because an incompletion is better than a completion. However, you don’t trade for Peters to rack up incompletions, you trade for Peters to break the game.

Chances of Making the Final Roster

100 percent. There’s zero chance Peters does not make this roster. He is the starter and potentially one of the key pieces of the franchise moving forward. The Los Angeles Rams like him a lot and don’t want to learn what life without him looks like right now.

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