For the second time in three weeks with the Baltimore Ravens, cornerback Marcus Peters turned the game on its head with an 89-yard pick-six late in the first half. With the exception of the yardage he ran, Peters did the same thing three weeks earlier in the Ravens’ upset in Seattle. Given the instant impact he’s provided, many have spent time reminding fans of the trade Eric DeCosta made to acquire Peters, really focusing on what he gave up.
.@MARCUSPETERS PICK-6! 🚨
89 yards to the end zone! #RavensFlock
— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2019
Remember, with Kenny Young losing snaps, the Ravens traded an out-of-favor linebacker and a 5th-round pick for the stud corner. Now, that looks like highway robbery, and it is. But from some angles at the time the deal was made, this wasn’t a considerable steal. That’s because Peters has had trouble fitting in with teams before and because he wasn’t exactly thriving in Wade Phillips’ defensive scheme for the LA Rams. That reality struck me after the game in Cincy, leaving me wondering why Peters has had such early success here and why we haven’t seen him beat because of his aggressive style.
Generally, more than in Los Angeles, Peters is an ideal fit in Baltimore. With a defense that’s historically had a knack for the ball and is currently led by uber-aggressive coordinator Wink Martindale, Peters’ willingness to take chances should be appreciated. Additionally, though, the fact that Peters will often be matched up with the opposition’s #2 receiver due to Marlon Humphrey’s lockdown coverage on their go-to guy, the chances Peters takes are more likely to pay off.
This has a ton to do with the back-end of the defense, too. On the broadcast, Rich Gannon said that Peters is able to take chances because of his elite ability to catch back up with his receiver in the event that his jumps are miscalculated. While that point is probably true, I believe that with the Ravens, Peters barely even has to catch back up, and that’s because of the play of Chuck Clark and the IQ of Earl Thomas. Really, since their loss to the Browns, both of these players have been in stellar form at the safety position.
Recall the majority of last season, when besides his incredible football knowledge, Eric Weddle struggled in coverage as a centerfielder. For the first half of the season with the Rams, Peters was backed up by Weddle, who is once again a year older. I love the man as a coach on the field, but when it comes to helping to cover the jumps that aggressive corners take, I can’t see him being all that great. Quite simply, he won’t be able to get over fast enough, and that leaves Peters out to dry.
Contrarily, the Ravens have two players with speed and smarts who are always in the right place. Because of that, Peters has been and will continue to be able to thrive. Given the success Peters has had at the #2 corner spot in Baltimore, the question that seemed laughable before has resurfaced: will DeCosta look to resign Peters in the offseason?
For me, the answer to this has to be yes, assuming finance numbers aren’t outrageous. Obviously, the Ravens have bigger holes to fill than CB, most notably pass rusher and middle linebacker. But if they do plan on allowing 2020 UFA Jimmy Smith to test the market and move on, why not commit part of Jimmy’s team high cap number of $16.175M to Marcus Peters? He might be a luxury, but if he is brought back alongside an upgrade at pass rusher (maybe a Judon return, a draft pick, and/or a signing of Baltimore native Shaquille Barrett), he might be one of the pieces that takes this team over the top.
If DeCosta wants to extend Peters and keep him around, I’m all for it. But at 7-2, the Ravens should be focusing on right now. To get to the playoffs, to get to a first-round BYE, and to get to a Super Bowl.
Let’s hope Peters is a big contributor to these ambitions.