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Peters, Talib Have Natural Instinct For Forcing Takeaways

Posted Mar 21, 2018

Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are both shutdown corners who have displayed a strong ability to force turnovers throughout their careers.

Rams cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are both shutdown corners who have displayed a strong ability to force turnovers throughout their careers.

Since he entered the league in 2015, Peters leads the NFL with 19 regular-season interceptions. The next player on the list has just 15 picks.

Talib holds a similar mark, leading the league with 34 regular season interceptions since his rookie season of 2008. He’s also recorded the most interceptions returned for touchdowns (10) of any active player in the NFL.

In total, throughout their respective careers, the duo has a combined 53 interceptions and 12 pick-sixes. According to head coach Sean McVay, high production such as this requires a special set of playmakers. 

“You can see that these are both cerebral players, the way that they play the game above the neck,” McVay said recently. “You talk about the instincts, the awareness — these are guys that really have that.”

While takeaways are a point of emphasis for defensive backs across the NFL, Talib and Peters are unique talents. As defensive coordinator Wade Phillips put it, both possess skills that are “not taught,” but instead come from natural instincts. 

“I think both of them are really smart, they study the game, they know the receivers, and they anticipate things,” he said. “Some guys guess, these guys anticipate and when it happens they are able to make plays.”

Peters describes it in more simple terms — “see ball, get ball.”

“It’s as easy as that,” Peters said. “I’m a person of confidence in myself, so I’m not going to panic on nothing. When it’s time for the ball to be in the air, I’m going to see the ball and I’m going to get the ball. And if I can’t get it, I’m trying to get it to my teammates.”

For Talib, his individual success at forcing turnovers is about film study and preparation, making sure he’s consistently one of the hardest workers on field.

“I’m a smart player and I care about the game. It shows in my play,” he said. “I just listen to my coach, they tell you to go near sidelines. A lot of guys run like a chicken with their heads cut off. [But] just catch the ball and go near sidelines and then you’ll score.”

With clear elite traits already in place, McVay is excited to see what Peters and Talib are capable of in the 2018 season.  

“These are guys that you can see are really smart, intellectual players — how that enables them to be able to play aggressively and attack the football from a defensive perspective,” McVay said. “They will clearly make us better on the backend. ”