When Marcus Peters speaks, you want to hear what he has to say.
The young, dynamic cornerback has made 19 regular-season interceptions since he entered the league in 2015, plus two more in postseason play. You probably already knew that, but it’s nevertheless a stat that clearly gives him an argument for being one of the best corners in the league.
That alone makes Peters a player worth hearing. But then you think about his penchant for newsworthy quotes, and it’s understandable why a large media scrum was assembled for him shortly after L.A. ended its Tuesday practice.
No, Peters didn’t say anything too headline grabbing in his few minutes with reporters. But he did give some insight into why he feels his transition to the Rams is going well.
“It’s easy. I mean, it’s easy when you know what your expectations are, you feel me?” Peters said. “Just continue to make the plays that you been making, and continue to learn the playbook and the scheme, and just continue making plays. That’s easy.”
What seems to make it even easier is the coaching staff Los Angeles has around him. Peters described head coach Sean McVay as “smooth” and “chill” — someone who sets up a strong culture within the building.
“It starts with our great coach that we got and it goes down to out coaching staff and then it’s going to go down to my teammates,” Peters said. “We’re just going to do everything we can do possible to go win this championship.”
He had similar complimentary comments about defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
“It’s playa. He’s a player’s coach, he’s kick back, man,” Peters said, in a way only Peters can say. “He’s gonna give you exact details about what he needs to be done out there on the field and he wants to go out there and give it your all effort. He’s gonna be chill and playa about it.”
Just as a fan of football, Peters already had plenty of familiarity with Phillips and the success he’s had as a coach. And working with the man in Los Angeles has clearly not been a disappointment so far.
“Man, I watch football so I know exactly who he is,” Peters said. “He’s a players’ coach, so he’s going to do everything it takes to make his players comfortable so they can go out there and make plays and have fun.”
For his part, Phillips illustrated why players tend to respect and admire him so much during his own press conference on Wednesday. Phillips has been asked a number of times over the course of the offseason how he’ll mange the strong personalties like Peters, cornerback Aqib Talib, and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. And on Wednesday, Phillips said he likes personalities because it means the players have initiative — specifically using Peters as an example.
“You don’t want a player to do everything you say,” Phillips said. “We tell them to do this and to do that, but Marcus Peters — a couple plays last year … he’s playing man-to-man, and they throw it to another player, and he intercepts it. That’s what I’m talking about.
“If you intercept it when they’re throwing to someone else, that’s great,” Phillips added. “You want them to do all the right things and try to help them to be a better player, but you also don’t want them to lose that initiative.”
But when it comes to acclimating to Phillips defense, it certainly also helps to have an All-Pro corner alongside you who’s played in the system before. Peters also described his relationship with Talib as “smooth,” noting that Talib’s knowledge of Phillips’ scheme has made a difference within the entire group.
“We’re not where we wanna be,” Peters said. “With me, I’m just fresh to the group and with Talib coming over it helps that he’s been in the defense once already. So, other than that, we’re just going to keep letting it mesh together, keep doing what we’re doing out there — keep conversating, making sure everybody's on the same page, and having fun with it.”
Peters said he’s headed back to his hometown of Oakland to spend the break following the conclusion of minicamp this week. But he’ll be ready at the end of July for training camp to ensure the secondary will be in the best situation possible for the start of the regular season.
“Day by day, everybody — we're going to make this jell together,” Peters said. “It looks good on paper right now, but the more we — like I said this is the first stepping stool for us, making it jell through OTAs, and then make another step with us going into training camp, and then when we go out and play the regular with Week 1.”