All the rage in the NFL lately has been No. 1 cornerbacks following No. 1 receivers. This issue has been talked about before but it came into the national conversation with Panthers CB Josh Norman when he was playing Steelers WR Antonio Brown in Week 1 and Giants WR Odell Beckham last week.
“That’s as much style as it is anything,” Chiefs DC Bob Sutton said of a corner traveling with a receiver, “the decision of how you’re going to play defense.
Sutton mentioned “match corners” like Darrelle Revis in the past.
“It’s really just style of play and what you’re doing,” Sutton said. “Are you playing a lot of man defense or a lot of zone? That’s a philosophical decision as much as it is, ‘hey do we trust this guy?’ There’s a lot of different ways people do things. Sometimes you have a cover corner and he takes the No. 2 receiver by himself and you put double coverage on the team’s No. 1 receiver. Those are more philosophical choices as opposed to having trust in a defender.”
You see where this is going. What about Marcus Peters doing that? The Chiefs have traditionally had their corners stick to one side (Peters on the left) regardless of the receivers.
“Maybe we don’t want Marcus in that situation,” Sutton said. “That might be the other answer. There’s not a ‘guaranteed’ way to play all the time. There’s elements that happen when you do that, structurally, that makes it easier for the offense to pick up on. You’ve got to take both ends into account. As long as he keeps playing like he is over on the left side, we’ll be pretty happy with him.”
I would be stunned if the Chiefs moved Peters around. As Adam Teicher points out, Peters has been sick this week so it’s unlikely the Chiefs would make big changes without him there. He’s good at what he does on the left side. He’s not as much the stick-to-you-like-glue corners that we’ve seen. He can press but he’s also good at off coverage and keeping the play in front of him so he can break on the ball and make a play. I don’t think I would want Peters to be following another receiver around the field. The Steelers know where he will be. They’ll be the ones that decide whether Peters covers Antonio Brown.