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Rams’ Marcus Peters, who once ‘expected’ a win over Kansas City Chiefs, now subdued about playing his former team – Daily Bulletin

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It’s time for Marcus Peters to take on “Big Red” and fulfill his prophecy of turnovers and a win. It’s rarely boring with Peters, and for several reasons, this is a week to watch him.

The Kansas City Chiefs traded Peters to the Rams in February and, within moments, all eyes turned to the schedule and the matchup of those two teams, which will take place Monday at the Coliseum. Peters, the Rams’ boom-or-bust, sometimes-combustible No. 1 cornerback, doesn’t seem to be out for revenge.

“I couldn’t do nothing about (the trade),” Peters said Thursday, after the Rams held a walk-through practice. “I didn’t ask for it. I appreciate everything the Kansas City Chiefs did for me and my family. They gave me the opportunity to play in this league. Now I’m just loving and enjoying the opportunity to be a L.A. Ram.”

Peters’ tone softened considerably. After the trade, in which the Rams sent second- and fourth-round picks to the Chiefs, Peters did a TV interview and said, about facing the Chiefs: “I’m expecting turnovers and I’m expecting a win.” Peters also said quarterback Patrick Mahomes “knows how to throw me the ball.”

Throughout, though, Peters has talked respectfully about the Chiefs, expressed no anger about the trade and refuted reports that he had a strained relationship with Coach Andy Reid, whom he called “Big Red.” In a conference call Thursday, Reid offered little about the Chiefs’ decision to part with Peters.

“Yeah, I’m not going to get into all of that,” Reid said. “That was a decision that was made here, and it happened and he is doing a heck of a job. I’m proud of the way he’s playing.”

Given how emotional Peters is about football, though, he must harbor some prove-it thoughts, particularly given how things have gone with the Rams this year. Peters, a former Pro Bowler, has only one interception this season and has been the victim of many deep passes. Now he faces an excellent Chiefs pass offense.

“Dynamic,” Peters said. “We’ve got a tough opponent coming in. We’re just going to play our ball, man.”

Rams coach Sean McVay said he would speak with Peters this week about his possible emotions, but McVay didn’t think there was reason for concern.

“He has a history there, did a lot of great things,” McVay said. “He’s got close friends on the team and a lot of relationships. I don’t think you ever shy away from those conversations, but as far as the expectations for Marcus, we expect him to play at a high level.”

Peters’ time in Kansas City was complicated. He totaled 19 interceptions in three seasons but also displayed a volatile personality. The Chiefs decided, eight months ago, that Peters would not be their long-term defensive centerpiece. They traded him, and that dilemma, to the Rams.

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So now decision time is nearing for the Rams. Peters is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season so, before then, the Rams must decide whether to build their secondary around him. If they’d hoped to draw a conclusion based on this season – and they had – then one has yet to become clear.

In clinical fashion, the Rams recently have locked up offensive players to long-term contracts. Running back Todd Gurley and receiver Brandin Cooks are signed through 2023, and lineman Rob Havenstein through 2022, and almost all of the skill-position players have at least two more seasons on their contracts.

It’s different on defense. The Rams, within the next 18 months, must either re-sign or replace almost every contributor, and the hinge to that could be Peters, presumably their No. 1 cornerback of the future.

Is he, though? Since veteran cornerback Aqib Talib suffered an ankle injury, Peters has taken on increased responsibilities and has “traveled” to cover the opponent’s top receiver. Results have been mixed at best, and often poor, and soon the Rams must decide if they want to make a major investment in Peters, who is set to make $9.1 million next season, under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.

Peters has drawn negative attention because he periodically has struggled in man coverage and allowed big plays, and particularly because he got torched by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and receiver Michael Thomas two weeks ago. Statistics showed Peters got beat for six catches and a total of 127 yards.

Peters hasn’t had it easy without Talib, who remains out with an ankle injury. The plan, when both were healthy, was for each to focus on one side of the field, and pick up whichever receiver happened to line up on that side. Now, Peters typically follows the receiver the Rams designate as the opponent’s top target.

After his rough game against the Saints, Peters was fine in last week’s narrow victory over Seattle, although at one point his emotions flared when he threw a football into the stands after being called for a penalty. In general, though, Peters’ time with the Rams seems to have been free of drama.

“The one thing I’ve really appreciated, in my dealings with Marcus, is how receptive he’s been to being coached,” McVay said. “He’s clearly a very smart, instinctual player. He’s got a good feel for the game. He’s passionate about it. I’ve been able to learn some things from him, and I enjoy being around him.”


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