The speculation as to why a 25-year old, two-time Pro Bowl CB was available was that his attitude and “me first” mentality got him moved out of KC after clashing with the coaching staff. Rams fans (and generally most across the league) were nonetheless super excited. It’s not everyday you get a 25-year old star in the league, and even better without a 1st-round pick at that.
Fast forward to today. Nine games into the 2018 NFL season, and, for whatever reason, Peters has struggled severely.
Could part of it be attributed to injury? Maybe.
Is it that he isn’t used to or doesn’t fit the scheme? Maybe.
Did we simply expect too much from Peters? Maybe.
All fair questions, but the Rams need to figure out a way to help Peters reach the potential he’s capable of. Now, it doesn’t obviously just fall on the staff. At the end of the day, you can only help a player so much, He still needs to be able to perform on his own. But the stats from PFF highlight what kind of a year he’s had:
6 targets, 3 receptions allowed, 50% catch rate, 25 yards allowed, 0 touchdowns allowed, 1 interception, 1 touchdown scored
2 targets, 1 reception allowed, 50% catch rate, 0 yards allowed, 0 touchdowns allowed,
3 targets, 2 receptions allowed, 66.7% catch rate, 69 yards allowed, 1 touchdown allowed
8 targets, 7 receptions allowed, 87.5% catch rate, 103 yards allowed, 1 touchdowns allowed
6 targets, 5 receptions allowed, 83.3% catch rate, 83 yards allowed, 3 touchdowns allowed, 1 penalty
2 targets, 2 receptions allowed, 100% catch rate, 16 yards allowed, 0 touchdowns allowed, 2 penalties
0 targets, 0 receptions allowed, 0% catch rate, 0 yards allowed, 0 touchdowns allowed
11 targets, 7 receptions allowed, 63.6% catch rate, 149 yards allowed, 0 touchdowns allowed
15 targets, 12 receptions, 80% catch rate, 211 yards allowed, 1 touchdown allowed
And here’s how PFF graded his coverage week-to-week heading into Sunday:
Obviously, many of the games haven’t been pretty, but Peters hasn’t been terrible in every game. So at least we’ve got some positives to hold onto. I’m not exactly sure what the solution is either. Maybe the Rams can shade a safety to his side and help him over the top. Maybe the return of CB Aqib Talib will allow the Rams to focus on Peters’ inconsistencies in coverage and offer him more help. Maybe Peters regains full health and something changes for him.
At this point, it’s even fair to argue what this could mean for Peters’ future. He’s likely to demand top-of-the-line cornerback money, but does his play warrant it? Should the Rams feel comfortable enough to hand it to him? Next year will be his last year under contract with the Rams at a $9m cap hit with no guarantees outside of injury.
The questions remain unanswered. But what we do know for certain is that Peters, the star-studded cornerback with a legendary turnover pace that the Rams made a blockbuster trade for, needs to perform better.