Last year the Las Vegas Raiders were one of the worst teams in the NFL in terms of taking the ball away. Despite having one of the best pass rushers in the league in Maxx Crosby regularly putting pressure on the quarterback, the defense totaled just six interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.
The Raiders are surely hopeful they can turn that around and create more turnovers this coming season, and the addition of cornerback Marcus Peters should help in that regard. Peters has 32 interceptions in his NFL career and only one season in which he didn’t pick off multiple passes, that being last season which was a return after missing all of 2021 with a torn ACL.
And the former Baltimore Raven is already turning heads with the Raiders in training camp with his playmaking ways. Crosby had high praise for Peters, calling him an “elite ballhawk” after coming away with another interception in the team’s recent practice, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN:
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) August 10, 2023
Peters’ ability to take away the ball gives this Raiders defense an element it simply didn’t have last season. Crosby’s ability to pressure the quarterback should create opportunities for the secondary to make plays and that is where Peters thrives best. A return to form from Chandler Jones and first-round pick Tyree Wilson contributing could potentially give the Raiders’ secondary plenty of chances to create even more turnovers.
This is why the Raiders brought in Peters. While he has had a tendency to gamble a bit too much, sometimes leading to him getting beat for big plays, it has often led to him making game-changing plays as well, and for a Raiders defense sorely lacking in playmakers, it makes for the perfect fit.
Crosby is the leader of this defense, and he is already seeing the benefits that having Peters is bringing to this team. Creating turnovers leads to short fields and easy points for the offense. The Raiders playing with the lead will then allow for Crosby and the rest of the line to really get after the quarterback as the opposition starts looking to pass more in order to get back in the game.
Much of the focus for the Raiders has been on the offensive side of the ball, but there is some potential on defense as well, and Marcus Peters could very well be the piece this defense was missing.