Marcus Peters makes up one-half of perhaps the best cornerback duo in the National Football League. He just doesn’t like to talk about it.
After a dominant performance in Houston by Peters and fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey — a game where Peters made a dazzling interception and Humphrey forced a fumble that led to a scoop-and-score — it’s clear the Ravens have two of the best cornerbacks in the sport.
But that's a conversation Peters wants no part of.
“I’m not going to get into that conversation of going back-and-forth on who’s the best,” Peters said Thursday, when asked about being the best in the league. “I respect everybody who plays my position. The biggest thing for me to worry about and focus on is me and my team. I’m not here to be into all the antics of who’s the best and who does what. And like I say, I’m doing things at a high level, and I enjoy doing it. So, I’m not here to go back-and-forth with anybody.”
Since joining the Ravens, Peters has four interceptions in 12 games. In 79 career games, he’s got 28 interceptions with the Chiefs, Rams and now Ravens.
Just under a year ago, the Ravens shipped backup linebacker Kenny Young and a 4th-round draft choice to the Rams for Peters.
At the time, everyone knew Peters was a ballhawk with one of the best football minds in the league. And with Jalen Ramsey en route to Los Angeles, the Rams simply didn't have room for Peters. But in Baltimore, Peters has not only played well — he’s thrived.
“Marcus was an All-Pro player here and was one of the best that I’ve seen at that position,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who coached Peters in Kansas City from 2015-2017. “I have a ton of respect for him. He’s a heck of a football player.”
With the ballhawking Peters on one side of the defense, the Ravens have Humphrey to patrol the other. And last year, Humphrey played at an All-Pro level.
Without Tavon Young, who missed all of last season and is now going to miss all of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, Humphrey played in the slot. Now, he appears set to do that again.
“When I look at that nickel position, I lean on ‘Tay’ a little bit to figure out what he does — a little bit of (Lardarius) Webb,” Humphrey said. “Those are just two Ravens guys that (have done) it. Chris Harris is probably one of the best guys that can flip-flop inside and outside. You have to be really savvy. My body type is usually not a nickel-corner guy, but I was able to do it alright last year, so we’ll try to get me in there some again.”
But what makes the duo so unique is their ability to take the football away from opposing offenses.
Last year, Humphrey forced two fumbles, picked off three passes and recovered three fumbles in 16 games. Peters had three interceptions and one fumble recovery to go along with two touchdowns.
"Both of those guys out there in the course of a game, we’ve got to throw Marlon in at nickel and move him around,” safety Chuck Clark said. “That shows his versatility. And ‘MP’ — big playmaker — a playmaker on the ball, he causes turnovers. Those guys, they free up a lot for us, honestly.”
Their penchant for turnovers has helped turn the Ravens into one of the league’s best defenses, which pairs nicely with the Ravens’ explosive offense.
“We feed off each other,” Peters said. “With us just going back-and-forth with talking ball, talking life to be honest with you. Things are just amazing, man. To get to know Marlon for the type of person he is and how hard he works...he’s willing to take on any task, and he’s willing to do it 100 percent. So, that’s the best thing about it for me.”
Baltimore’s biggest test of the season, however, is on the horizon as the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes will come to M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night.
In the previous two meetings in 2018 and 2019, Mahomes threw for 377 and 374 yards, respectively, and led the Chiefs to 60 combined points. Only, then, the Ravens didn’t have Peters on board.
"He’s a Super Bowl champ," Peters said. "He’s the MVP of this league. He’s a hell of a player, man. A guy like that, you just have to respect his game.”
And if the Ravens have any shot of shutting down the former league MVP, it’s going to start on the back end. But if there was a duo in the league that could best help slow down the machine that is the Chiefs’ offense, it’s Peters and Humphrey.
“You can’t really say any team has really just been able to just stop him completely,” Humphrey said. “He’s never really out of a game. You see them go up on the Texans — two touchdowns, three touchdowns — and they come right back. He’s never really out of the game until they lose a game, and they don’t lose too many. So, it will be tough. I trust in (defensive coordinator Don) ‘Wink’ (Martindale) in whatever gameplan he’s going to have, and we’ll figure it out and get going.”