The Ravens didn’t intend to play cornerback Marcus Peters for 65 of the team’s 72 defensive snaps in his Ravens debut Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
But Peters, playing five days after the Ravens acquired him from the Los Angeles Rams for linebacker Kenny Young and a fifth-round draft pick, rewarded his new team for its trust, returning an interception for a touchdown in the Ravens’ 30-16 win.
Peters’ familiarity with the Seahawks — he faced Seattle three times as a member of the Rams, including two weeks before the Ravens’ game Sunday — helped him diagnose the play and make a break on the ball. It was quarterback Russell Wilson’s first interception of the season.
“He just played it right. He played the defense really well,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference. “We were in a coverage where he was playing an off-zone type of a coverage, three-deep coverage, and he’s responsible for getting between the two vertical routes and playing deep.
“But basically, he sensed that Russell’s eyes weren’t really where they needed to be. They were somewhere else. They came late over there. And I don’t think Russ saw him, really. And I think he appreciated that. He’s so quick. He really covers ground zero to 60 very fast, so that helped, too.”
Peters, who has a league-high 25 interceptions since being drafted in 2015, provides a playmaking element for a secondary that hasn’t forced many turnovers outside of cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
When asked what Peters brings to the team, defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt said, “Picks, picks, picks.”
The presence of Peters, who lined up on the outside and in the slot Sunday, allowed Humphrey to shadow wide receiver Tyler Lockett, as Humphrey continues to take on the task of following opposing offense’s No. 1 receiver.
After losing slot cornerback Tavon Young in the preseason to a season-ending neck injury and cornerback Jimmy Smith, who is expected to return from his Week 1 knee sprain after the team’s bye week, the cornerback position appears to once again be a position of strength.
“In the NFL, it’s all about matchups and how you use your tools or the firepower that you have,” Hewitt said. “[Being] able to get the guys on the right person, being able to match those guys against a particular wide receiver. ... It’s all about being able to match those guys up and put them in the right situation so they can make plays.”