THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — No less than this time it wasn’t the official’s flag, like the one he threw final season, that he chucked into the stands at MetLife Stadium.
Marcus Peters was trying to get away of a stoop. 9 weeks had handed since the Los Angeles Rams cornerback intercepted a cross.
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And Sunday towards the Seattle Seahawks, Peters noticed an opportunity to make it occur. Or so he thought.
Peters pressured Doug Baldwin as the Seahawks receiver go off the line, however he held onto Baldwin just a bit too lengthy, earlier than he turned and picked off a haphazard cross from Russell Wilson. An official threw a flag, and Peters appeared bewildered that he’d drawn a penalty.
Earlier than the referee introduced the ruling, Peters threw the soccer into the stands at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, then turned to the subject and readied himself for the subsequent play.
This season, Peters hasn’t been beneath any false impressions. The fourth-12 months professional is aware of he is been getting crushed an excessive amount of, and he’ll be the first to inform you. However Peters, who has a league-excessive 20 interceptions since 2015, mentioned he is still “a prime f—ing nook in the league.”
The query is, as the Rams (9-1) put together for a Monday night time showdown (eight:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) towards Peters’ former staff — the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (9-1) — what has to occur for the two-time Professional Bowl cornerback to play prefer it?
The Rams caught the consideration of the NFL in the offseason after they traded for Peters, giving a fourth-spherical decide this 12 months and a second-spherical decide in 2019 to the Chiefs. They have been critical about upgrading their protection, and intent on making a Tremendous Bowl run.
The Chiefs, maybe, had a message of their very own: Peters, for all his expertise and playmaking skill, wasn’t value the headache earlier than and after the whistle.
In Kansas Metropolis, chairman Clark Hunt was upset about Peters’ protests throughout the nationwide anthem. The 2 ultimately compromised round midseason, and from that time Peters stayed in the locker room till the anthem was completed.
Extra publicly, a digital camera caught Peters directing an expletive at a fan behind the Chiefs’ bench. And later in the season, issues acquired downright weird. In a sport towards the New York Jets, Peters was penalized after throwing an official’s flag into the stands. Peters then retreated to the locker room although he had not been ejected from the sport, and later returned, not sporting his sport socks.
When Peters arrived in L.A., he addressed a repute that preceded him, and has not appeared again.
Coaches and teammates have welcomed Peters for who he’s, brutal honesty and all, regardless of the time or setting. And in contrast to in Kansas Metropolis, Peters has saved the scenes to a minimal.
There was the ode to Marshawn Lynch in Oakland — when Peters leaped backward and grabbed his crotch as he returned an interception for a landing. The gesture earned him a $13,000 advantageous.
And, from his “s—, pay the man” evaluation of Aaron Donald’s contract dispute to the in-depth description of his “f— it syndrome,” there was the occasional curse-laden, viral-sensation media classes.
Most lately, Peters was requested about Sean Payton’s feedback that the New Orleans Saints coach acquired the matchup he needed on a 72-yard landing cross to Michael Thomas, on which Peters was the defender.
“Inform Sean Payton to hold speaking that s—. We going to see him soon, you are feeling me?” Peters mentioned. “As a result of I like what he was saying on the sidelines, too. So inform him to hold speaking that s—. I hope he see me soon, you are feeling me? Then we going to have a superb lil, good lil bowl of gumbo collectively.”
Whereas the Chiefs had their fill of Peters, the Rams haven’t wavered publicly in their assist.
Peters, to his credit score, has boldly accepted certainly one of head coach Sean McVay’s largest tenets: accountability. And his “get beat, transfer on” message has resounded by means of the group, even when Peters’ supply and character have not at all times jibed with the Rams’ buttoned-up, soccer-first public persona.
“He is not in the enterprise of fluff,” cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman mentioned.
Peters, 25, made his identify with the Chiefs taking part in principally off-man protection in a scheme that allowed the 6-foot, 195-pound nook to depend on his instincts, skill to diagnose the quarterback and ball expertise. In a phrase: freelancing. In three seasons, Peters was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the 12 months, earned first-staff All-Professional honors and compelled 24 turnovers, together with a league-excessive 19 interceptions and 5 compelled fumbles.
With the Rams, he has struggled to regulate to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ three-four scheme designed for the corners to typically play press protection at the line of scrimmage. Peters’ eyes too typically have fixated on the quarterback, and too typically his receiver has taken benefit. It additionally hasn’t helped that veteran Aqib Talib, who starred in Phillips’ scheme when the Denver Broncos won the Tremendous Bowl, has been on injured reserve since Week four.
However Phillips mentioned the Saints breakdown was his fault. There was Peters standing throughout from Thomas — who was on tempo for a file day — as free security Lamarcus Joyner crept nearer to the field. Peters appeared to his left, hollered at teammates and waved his arm. Earlier than he knew it, Thomas sprinted previous him.
Peters — about 4 yards off Thomas — jumped in a determined try to break up the play, however with no security assist deep, Thomas took it in for a landing, busted out a cellular phone and delivered a closing dagger in the Rams’ first lack of the season.
“I am placing that on me,” Phillips mentioned. “Any time that it is third-and-7, it is the finish of the sport and you have got one-on-one with no assist with their greatest participant, then that is on the coaches.”
It additionally proved to be a profession day for Thomas, who caught 12 passes for a franchise-file 211 receiving yards. In accordance to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, Peters was the nearest defender on eight of Thomas’ targets; he caught six of them for 127 yards and a landing.
“No matter what Coach referred to as, we have got to go on the market and make performs,” Peters mentioned. “And we simply did not — I did not execute.”
Peters was additionally crushed deep for scores in video games towards the Chargers, Vikings, Packers and in the first assembly with the Seahawks.
Peters has been the nearest defender on seven landing passes, the most given up by a cornerback this season, in accordance to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. His lone interception got here in Week 1 towards the Oakland Raiders, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio sits at 7-1 this season, in contrast with four-three in 2017. And focused receivers are averaging 11.5 yards per goal towards him, the fifth-highest charge allowed by a cornerback with at the least 25 such targets.
“In loads of cases he is remoted one-on-one with the different staff’s greatest receiver and that is come up all through numerous instances this season,” McVay mentioned. “There’s going to be a component of, these nice gamers will make a few of their performs. I feel the requirements that Marcus has for himself, that now we have for him, we count on him to play and make a few of these performs.”
Regardless of a scarcity of outcomes, Rams coaches have maintained their confidence in Peters’ skill to thrive in their system. Peters realizes he hasn’t lived up to the repute he constructed with the Chiefs, and that his efficiency for the remainder of the season will go a good distance in figuring out his future.
“While you carry out in this league as a lot as I did, and also you come in and you’re certainly one of these gamers who makes these performs, and used to making these performs, and people performs not coming, it type of frustrates you,” Peters mentioned. “However whenever you’ve acquired an offense and protection as proficient as that is, it is simply all about discovering your groove and discovering the place you match in by means of every part.”
This offseason, a call probably will want to be made about Peters’ future. He’s in the fourth 12 months of his 5-12 months rookie deal, and is scheduled to make $1.74 million this season and $9.06 million subsequent.
However past 2019? The Rams do not have a current historical past of giving lengthy-time period offers to defensive backs. Janoris Jenkins departed in free company to signal with the New York Giants, and Trumaine Johnson signed with the Jets.
Peters would not need to depart L.A. He’s pleased with the teaching workers, the tradition and surroundings together with his teammates. However the query stays: Can he produce sufficient over the closing six video games and playoffs to hold the Rams glad and show he is value an extended-time period extension?
Peters hasn’t addressed any contract speak, selecting to give attention to the fast future and taking part in to his customary.
After Sunday’s victory, Peters posted a photograph of himself on Twitter, clad in the Rams’ yellow-and-blue throwback jersey, a smile plastered throughout his face.
“Again on monitor,” Peters wrote.
For Peters, Monday night time is one other alternative to present the Chiefs what they gave away, and a stage to show to the Rams that they made the proper choice.
“With me, I am going to proceed to battle,” Peters mentioned. “That is the kind of participant I’m. Who provides a s—, you are going to get beat in soccer. However you go on the market, you compete to the highest of your skill, and s— occurs.”
ESPN’s Adam Teicher contributed to this report.