OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Marcus Peters’ play in Baltimore has been a mirror of his personality: direct, brash and dominant.
And since his October trade from the Rams to the Ravens, he’s been more than just the ball-hawk he was advertised as.
He’s trash-talked with DeAndre Hopkins, helped stabilize a unit that needed a solidifying presence, and been the turnover-machine the Ravens knew they were getting.
Now, he’ll do all of that against his former team on Monday Night Football in Los Angeles, a situation he has no regrets, or anger, over the way it ended.
“No, I don't have a chip on my shoulder,” Peters said. “How did it end? I got traded, and I'm liking the situation I'm in right now. And I just keep moving forward. I don't need any other stuff like that to be ... I understand the business of football.”
Peters’ acquisition to the Ravens’ secondary has boosted the defense to a level seemingly unthinkable in the first four weeks of the season, to perhaps one of the NFL’s best.
Since the Marcus Peters trade, the Ravens defense has the highest pressure percentage in the NFL and forced the 2nd lowest passer rating.— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 18, 2019
In that time, they've played: Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson.
Baltimore allowed 269.5 passing yards per game in the first six games of the season without Peters — and Jimmy Smith. In those six games, they had five interceptions.
Since the Peters trade, the Ravens are allowing just 192.25 yards per game, have four interceptions and two pick-sixes, both by Peters. Individually, Peters has allowed 9.2 yards per completion, zero touchdowns and a passer rating of 44.8 when targeted.
All players and coaches noted Peters’ intelligence as one of the reasons for his standout month in Baltimore.
“Before he came here, I heard a lot about him,” Marlon Humphrey said. “I heard about the things he does on the field. So, for him to be on my team has really been a help. I think he just said something earlier, the game is a lot of mental. I’ve definitely seen that in his approach and the things he tells me and the things he communicates on the field.”
His trade to Baltimore helped settle down a Ravens’ secondary that, for a few weeks, was in desperate need of playmakers on the back-end.
With Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith’s injuries in the preseason and Week 1, respectively, the Ravens cornerback depth found itself in trouble early on. And with Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott’s season-ending injuries in back-to-back weeks, the safety depth was on the brink too.
But Peters’ addition and Smith’s return has given the Ravens four outside corners — along with Humphrey and Brandon Carr — that the team can trust.
But the biggest reason for Peters’ play is his football smarts.
“You really don’t know until a guy gets into your locker room and into the defensive meetings, of how football smart they are,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “He is a savant when it comes to playing corner and routes and everything else. That’s been really refreshing, because as I’ve said many times, knowledge is power in this league.”
Peters’ intelligence is one of the main reasons for his pick-sixes, as he can anticipate throws as good as anyone in the NFL.
“He’s a gambler,” Smith said. “I’m not that good at gambling at all. I haven’t really learned that style, but I definitely wish I could do it. That’s his game, and he’s really good at it.”
Jalen Ramsey's stats in his 3 games since joining the Rams:— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) November 12, 2019
14.4 yards per catch
Marcus Peters' stats in his 3 games since joining the Ravens:
9.5 yards per catch
2 INTs (both pick-6s)
Now, Peters will have to show his former team, who traded him partly to make room for Jalen Ramsey, what they’ve been missing for the last few weeks.
“We're going to see,” Peters said. “Sean (McVay) is an excellent offensive coordinator, so he's going to come out with some different stuff. And we just have to be prepared to match it up. It's going to be a fun game, though. It's going to be good to see the guys out there and good to compete against them, and it'll be a fun day.”
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