Last week, we went over the key matchup which was deemed to be the Eagle front 7 vs the Steelers offensive line, and how the running game might not be effective vs the Eagles. Well, they lost the matchup with the front 7, and the Steelers struggled to protect Ben Roethlisberger, who became more shaky (accuracy wise) as the game went on.
The Steelers have another tough task upcoming vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, who are a base 3-4 defense with some great players in the secondary and along the front 7.
Instead of doing a full defensive preview, like I did in previous weeks, I will instead be focusing solely on the matchup of Antonio Brown and Marcus Peters, by breaking down Peters similar to a scouting report. The reason being is Peters is someone with tremendous ball skills and talent, but I know with the coverages the Chiefs run, he can be exploited.
How do I know? You'll have to stick around to find out.
First, let's take a look at how Peters is a ball magnet.
Marcus Peters was somebody I was very high on coming out of the Washington in the 2015 NFL draft. The reason why was because of his balls and after getting 8 interceptions last season, he already has 4 this season in 3 weeks. It's definitely easy to see why he has that many, he's an absolute ball magnet.
He know's how to track the ball and the ball knows how to find him
Just on this play, you can see how even when he doesn't have his eyes toward the QB the whole time, he knows how to find, locate and play the ball.
You see that he's lined up almost in a press technique, which is what he specializes in, but actually doesn't contact Hopkins within 5-yards and gives him a free release off the line. Not a particularly smart move and something I noticed often with KC but not a habit he had at the collegiate level.
Why isn't it smart though?
Marcus Peters is a great technician. Combine that with his mentality, play recognition and ball skills and you see why he's capable of being a great NFL CB. What he does not have is the speed to recover on deep passes which is why he isn't an island CB you can trust with no safety help over the top.
Don't believe me, watch this play from last season against Amari Cooper.
What happens when you're a 4.5 (40 yard dash) guy and you're going up against a guy with 4.3 speed? You flip your hips the moment he indicates himself to be going deep, well at that point you've left yourself susceptible to getting beat inside. Peters is lucky here because Carr never looks to that side of the field.
The reason he makes himself susceptible to getting beat inside is because if you're a CB with stiff hips, you can't recovery nearly as quick when flipping your hips, especially when going up against a receiver who's quick in space.
I mean look at Peters when Cooper is already rounding out his route towards the middle, he's completely turned around and it takes way too much time to get himself around to cover the route. He's beat plain and simple.
Which brings me to my biggest question, why in the world are the chiefs playing Marcus Peters 5-to-10 yards off the line of scrimmage? When I mean off coverage, I mean off man-toman coverage.
You can't and I mean, you cannot expect a CB that is not an elite athlete and stiff hips, to mirror and react to a WR who's much quicker in space. If you're flipping your hips that early, it means you know that you can be beat over the top and he's protecting against the deep pass, but it also leaves him vulnerable to getting beat everywhere else because of his stiff hips.
You could say I'm not a coach and I'm not an expert, but I call it how I see it, and I know what a CB with good hip fluidity looks like.
Why not look at an example here from the glossary about hip fluidity from Inside the Pylon:
"Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson (#9) backpedals, then opens his hips to the left in response to the receiver’s feint outside. When the wideout cuts inside, Johnson reacts instantly, pivoting his hips to face the same direction as the receiver’s in-cut. Through all of this motion he stays low, balanced, and in control, so he is able to drive as soon as the receiver makes his cut."
I rest my case.
Marcus Peters is a top CB in the league but just like many great CB's that people try to throne at the top of the pedestal, he's not what you think he is. He's a great CB, don't get me wrong, but if the Chiefs decide to line Marcus Peters 5-to-10 yards off the line against Antonio Brown, or not press him at the line, I'll go after that matchup whenever they're matched up any day.
I know this isn't a popular opinion but I'm not here to make opinions, I'm here to tell you the facts. The fact is, the Steelers have the upper hand in this matchup if the Chiefs continue to handicap Peters with their coverage alignments.
Now if the Chiefs use him in press coverage to disrupt AB at the line, and play him in bail, which fits his strengths, this is a much closer matchup.
I'm not going to underestimate Peters and how he cause turnovers, but don't think I'm going to discount the Chiefs putting him in a situation to fail.
Just something to watch this Sunday Night.
I hadn't watched NFL film breakdowns that often going into this NFL season. I was more about breaking down college prospects and finding the next great NFL player.
That being said, I did some studying before the season from a good film watcher, Brett Kollmann (actually writes for Battleredblog) and learned just how badly the Chiefs were handicapping Peters. He made an excellent video explaining why Peters isn't being put into a good situation, scheme and coverage wise. I want to give credit where credit is due and give you all look at his excellent film breakdown.
Thank you Brett Kollmann, as you have taught me so much from your videos.
Also if you want to learn more about the game of football, checkout Inside the Pylon and it's wonderful content.