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Film room: What does Marcus Peters have left in the tank?

Diving into what the vet CB can bring to Las Vegas

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens
Marcus Peters
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Marcus Peters’ 32 career interceptions will certainly be a welcomed sight for the Las Vegas Raiders, who have 12 picks as a team in the last two seasons combined. But, Peters is 30 years old—turns 31 in January—and is just two years removed from tearing an ACL.

So, it’s a fair question to ask what he has left in the tank/what he can bring to the Raiders this season. Let’s flip on the tape and find out!

One trend you might notice throughout these clips is that while Peters might not be the athlete he used to be, he’s become a more heady veteran of sorts. Here, there’s about 20 seconds before halftime and the Patriots have the ball on their own 35-yard-line. Peters knows that even a first down isn’t the end of the world as long as he keeps the wideout in front of him.

So, he plays with a lot of pre-snap cushion and doesn’t bite on the double-move route, which was an issue for him at the beginning of his career. Once the receiver commits up the field, Peters takes a perfect angle to cut the receiver off and force him toward the sideline. Once he’s in phase, the corner even looks back for the ball to see if he can make a play on it and to help make sure he doesn’t get called for pass interference.

The Ravens are running a three-deep fire zone in the play above as the two inside linebackers blitz and the standup outside backer—No. 99, Odafe Oweh—drops in coverage. Initially, Peters gives a press-man coverage look but once he sees the receiver work inside on the short drag route, he passes the wideout off and immediately works for depth.

He finds Hunter Henry working across the field on Oweh, which is a matchup New England wants as they have an athletic tight end on a defender who typically rushes the passer. However, Peters sees this and is in a great position to help his teammate and take away Henry if quarterback Mac Jones was reading to that side of the field.

This isn’t a rep that’s going to show up on the stat sheet, but it can impact how the offense calls the game the rest of the way out. Had Peters not picked up Henry, you can bet the Patriots would have come back to this call and told Jones to hit the tight end on the other side of the field.

This next clip is a more traditional press-man coverage rep from Peters. It’s not the greatest or prettiest technique on the line of scrimmage, but he does do a good job of staying in DeVante Parker’s hip throughout the route.

Now, Peters is playing from a trail position here and isn’t on top of the route, so this time when the ball comes, he makes sure to keep his eyes on the receiver and play the hands as Parker runs a patented go route that turns into a back-shoulder fade. Because of his eye discipline and natural ball skills, Peters is able to get his arm in the passing lane to contest this catch.

From the sideline angle, this might look like pass interference but the end zone copy shows that it’s just a clean contested catch and a great rep by the corner.

Here’s another example of good situational awareness and Peters’ ability to create turnover opportunities.

New England is down by two possessions late in the game and is facing third and forever. So, there’s no need for Peters to be in air-tight coverage and risk getting beat deep, especially since the underneath defenders should be able to help on the dig route in this Cover 3 look. In other words, he’s willing to give up that completion and drive on the route.

Peters ends up making contact with the receiver right as the receiver's feet hit the ground, and he recognizes that there are several white jerseys around him—including a deep safety—so he can go for the ball on the tackle. He ends up ripping the ball out and creating a turnover opportunity that would have ended the game had the Ravens recovered.

He also had a late fumble recovery and ended up making the game-sealing interception in this contest, proving he’s still capable of flipping the momentum of a game.

The Ravens are running a trap cover on this play where Peters is initially going to give the quarterback—Deshaun Watson—a man coverage look by playing with inside leverage and turning his back to Watson before passing off the receiver to the safety.

Peters then starts to work toward the flat and stays deep to bait Watson into throwing the ball to the tight end on the flat route. Had this been an accurate pass, the corner would have been in a great position to contest the catch and likely pick up a PBU. Essentially, he helped take away two options by disguising his coverage and breaking on the ball.

We’ll end with another example of the veteran defensive back’s route recognition. Cleveland calls a smash-fade concept where the inside receiver runs a slot fade route and the outside guy runs a short in before pulling up a couple of yards past the line of scrimmage.

The slot receiver’s goal is to pick the outside corner, Peters, but the latter recognizes the concept/play design and adjusts his path to avoid contact. That puts Peters in a position to drive on the short route which is why Watson doesn’t throw it and starts scrambling.

On the scramble drill, Peters does an excellent job of using his hands to help stay in phase on his man which is a common theme throughout his tape. The Browns are still able to complete the pass but because the corner was able to stay right on the tight end’s hip, he’s able to eliminate any yards after the catch while sacrificing size to the bigger pass-catcher.