Peters working to adjust to NFL game

Rookie linebacker Brian Peters has pro experience, but it came in the CFL. Now, he’s working to adjust the differences in the NFL game.

Unlike many undrafted rookie free agents, this is not Brian Peters’ first go-round in minicamps with an NFL team. Right out of college he worked out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but that didn’t work out and eventually he ended up playing in the Canadian Football League for a few years.

Now he is back trying to earn a roster spot with an NFL team and has been doing a good job so far this offseason. He has been working mostly at linebacker with the second-team defense and has impressed the coaching staff with his performance.

“He’s done a good job,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “He’s a guy who was in the CFL, he’s a guy who was really not an in-the-box linebacker, so he’s making that transition, as we see, a lot of athleticism. He understands concepts and what we’re doing coverage-wise. We’re looking for him just to transfer it over to training camp and see how he does in the box at linebacker. The biggest thing is he’s got the skill set to cover underneath and do all the things were asking him to do.”

It is well known at this point in time that head coach Mike Zimmer likes to work with versatile players, and that is what Peters provides him. At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, he has the size of a smaller linebacker but he also has the skills of a safety after converting from that position in the CFL.

Having a linebacker that feels comfortable lining up against tight ends, running backs and occasionally wide receivers and cover them in the open field is important for any team. Peters has shown in minicamp that he has the ability to do this and credits it to the fact that he used to play safety.

“(Converting from safety helps me), obviously as far as hips and feet and that sort of thing,” he said. “And as far as knowing my leverage in man coverage and that sort of thing, I think that helps me out a lot.”

But there are still many areas of his game that he needs to improve. He still needs to get used to all the little nuances of playing linebacker as opposed to safety. But he feels as though all the things he does wrong are correctable and he is confident in his ability to play football.

“All the intricacies of playing linebacker – assignment, alignment and then probably my footwork, and that kind of thing, and physicality at the point of attack,” he said about what he needs to work on most. “There’s a long list, but it’s a lot of things that are definitely correctable.”

Another thing that he is going to have to get used to is adjusting to the differences between the CFL and the NFL. The style of play differs between the two quite a bit, and then you have to adjust to the different size fields and the different amounts of downs.

“It’s been a change; there are a lot of differences in the game,” he said. “The run game is definitely more prevalent down here, so adjusting to the differences between here and there because up there it’s more of a passing league. As far as the three downs instead of four downs down here changes the whole strategy of the game and kind of how you attack and how you prepare for offenses and defenses. There’s some differences, but at the end of the day it’s still football. You tackle the guy with the ball and if the ball’s in the air you knock it down. That kind of thing.”

Peters is ready to continue to ride the momentum he currently has and impress the coaches in training camp, starting July 25.

“I’m very excited,” Peters said. “I mean I love football and I’ve been working for this opportunity for years now so I’m excited to throw the pads on and start hitting.”

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