KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters enjoyed a solid outing in Week 1, totaling seven tackles (five solo), an interception and three passes defenses.
Peters brings energy and his performance proved worthy of compliments from coach Andy Reid.
“He works hard,” Reid said. “His challenge will just be not on that front, but he’s young in the business, so people will study him and then he’s got to keep answering the bell every week.”
Perfect timing from Reid when considering Peters, the Chiefs’ first-round draft choice (18th overall), faces a challenge Thursday night against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Just don’t expect Peters to back down.
“It’s football at the end of the day,” Peters said. “Great quarterback, Hall of Famer, but you got to go play football.”
Manning, a seven-time first-team All-Pro, said during Tuesday’s media conference call he hasn’t had an opportunity to focus on individual players, specifically Peters, because of the short week of preparations.
“I’m still studying these guys from a scheme standpoint, from a personnel standpoint,” Manning said. “You guys got me on a Tuesday and normally this would be my day to really study a lot more. I’m still kind of cramming my film study on personnel and scheme, so I probably can’t give you a really good evaluation at this point.”
Nevertheless, the Chiefs defense certainly has Broncos coach Gary Kubiak’s attention.
“I respect the entire defense,” Kubiak said during his media conference call Tuesday. “I mean, they’re aggressive, they got confidence in their coverage on the back end. The thing I notice on the back end is they have great ball skills. If you get the ball around them, they got the ability to make the play on the ball and can really hurt you, so I respect the group. I think they do a great job.”
Kubiak and Manning may not have specifically looked at Peters before their respective conference calls with Chiefs beat writers.
But once they do before taking the field Thursday night, they’ll find a confident player who isn’t apprehensive over the prospects of Manning potentially testing him early and often in the passing game.
Peters said he has listened to advice from teammates who have faced Manning, but he also understands to trust those around him on the field and play within the scheme.
“I lean on everyone on this defense and on this team,” Peters said. “It’s a team game at the end of the day.”
Peters’ approach to Thursday night and squaring off against Manning sits fine with inside linebacker Derrick Johnson.
“He’s going against one of the best quarterbacks ever,” Johnson said, “and Peyton is going to study everybody, go against your weaknesses and if you give him a little air, he’s going to hurt you.
“As a young player, he knows the older players, the veterans, have his back. He’s going to correct what he did wrong last week, come back and player better. This is a team game, the ultimate team game. He’s not out there on an island by himself, not all the time, but sometimes he is. It’s a team game.”