Welp, the dream of going 16-0 is dead. May Mercury Morris and the rest of the 72′ Dolphins pop the cork. The Rams went down to the Big Easy and came away with a big loss, which unfortunately was sealed by a familiar face. The Rams dug themselves out of a 35-17 hole at halftime to find themselves down 38-35 in the fourth. The Saints’ Michael Thomas caught a 72-yard touchdown that staked the Rams Buffy Summers style. The corner on the play was Marcus Peters, and Peters got roasted by Thomas all day…ALL DAY! It’s not fair to lay the blame at Peters’ feet, but he’s been a problem all year.
Look, before we get any further, this isn’t a piece calling the trade a mistake. In both micro and macro analysis, the Marcus Peters trade was a good thing. They only gave up a 5th rounder for him and even after picking up his 5th-year option, the Rams only owe him $9.63 million. They were paying Trumaine Johnson about $16 million last year who is older and ended up getting $72.5 with the Jets. That contract, by the way, is the worst New York related investment since Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant. Peters still has upside and his cap hit next year isn’t that big in the grand scheme of things.
Still, it’s hard not to notice that week in and week out he gets roasted like he’s on the dais with Jeff Ross. Things looked promising when he got a pick six in Week One against Derek Carr. Since then he has no picks, two pass deflections, and eleven tackles. Those aren’t exactly the stats of a shutdown corner. He allows 3.3 catches a game, 15.9 yards a game, and has given up 5 touchdowns this year. Peters’ style of play was always boom or bust and his volatility was a risk since the day the Rams traded for him. That being said, it’s not entirely his fault that he’s been buttered toast all season.
Peters was acquired and paired with former Bronco Aqib Talib. The two together had the potential to be a dynamic duo. Unfortunately, Talib underwent ankle surgery after Week Three and Peters has been stuck on an island. Troy Hill has had moments but he’s hardly a starting corner. Nickell Robey-Coleman is great as a number two option, and Sam Shields while effective, is a Sam Jackson voice away from being Mr. Glass. Secondly, he’s been stuck on an island while dealing with hip and calf injuries. Sure, injuries are part of the game but considering his game is predicated on jumping routes, being hobbled becomes a whole lot worse.
Still, the Rams were able to add much-needed depth and two starting corners for less than it would’ve cost to keep a mediocre corner like Johnson around so on that end its a plus. On the field, it doesn’t appear that way but long term, he’s the better option. Talib is working towards a comeback and if Peters can get healthy, the pass defense should get better. It’s hard to imagine them getting worse after all. The Rams are still having trouble being consistent on all levels of the defense. Despite trading for Dante Fowler, the Rams are looking to remedy their still porous front seven by acquiring the latest member of Jon Gruden’s fire sale, Bruce Irvin.
Peters’ style of play was always boom or bust and his volatility was a risk since the day the Rams traded for him. That being said, it’s not entirely his fault that he’s been buttered toast all season.
Irvin would help out a little but it wouldn’t solve the Peters problem. He still has the potential to be a star corner but once Talib presumably walks after the end of the year, the Rams will need to ensure he isn’t stranded on an island again. Until then, Marcus Peters will remain the poster child for the Rams’ struggles on defense. That’s not fair, but fair’s got nothing to do with it.