Julius Peppers won't have to chase Packers players anymore. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Is Julius Peppers washed up?


 

Bob Fox over at Bleacher Report provided us with an interesting look the other day from NFL scout scout Chris Landry on his take regarding how much Green Bay Packers newly-acquired defensive end Julius Peppers has left in his tanks.

While Landry couched his comment in caution, he seems to edge on the side that Peppers has certainly seen his best days, but also leaves the door open on the “one more year” talk that’s been circulating the Interweb.

When asked by Fox to give his best assessment of the Packers’ signing of Peppers, here is what he had to say:

I hope he does well for Green Bay’s sake. I don’t know if he has much left. You wonder if you can get another good year out of him. Maybe he’s motivated now. He’s got a little bit of money guaranteed. He’s certainly a declining player. And the issue is whether he has another year left that can help them (the Packers) out. Looking at him on tape, I was kind of on the side of that he’s probably done. But one more (good) year is very possible.

Fox admits he’s surprised by the comments by Landry – and so am I. We have to remember that Peppers played on a defense that has been on a free-fall the past couple of seasons, a defense that was killed by injuries, and a defense that just couldn’t stop the run … period.

Next year, if everyone stays healthy, Peppers will be welcomed by defensive mates who will definitely benefit from his presence – and will probably also make him better. Regardless of whether the Packers play the 3-4 or some sort of hybrid defense that employs nuances from both systems, I feel that Peppers could not only have a decent year, but could step up his game.

After all, as Fox points out near the conclusion of his piece, Peppers really wasn’t that far off his career yearly average numbers. Last year he had 46 tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception (yes, we remember it against the Packers), two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Compare that with his yearly average over the course of his career and you will see what we’re saying: 47 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

To me, that doesn’t spell someone on the downslide – it tells me he was average last year on a bad defense.

With the changes that are in store for the Packers this offseason in making improvements to said defense, I feel Peppers is moving into a very good situation – not only personally, but with the team.

Clearly, the Packers and Peppers wouldn’t have struck a deal if it wasn’t mutually beneficial to both.

The evidence won’t be available for several months, but at this point in time we’ve got to give the benefit of the doubt to Peppers and the Packers. Will it be a marriage made in Heaven? I’m not so sure about that, but it should be a relationship that should help everyone.

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  • Wayne Davis

    NO!! He is not and is even more of a threat on the packers defense IMO

    • RayRivard

      I think that’s what we’re all hoping. I am confident he will have a positive impact not only on the field, but in the locker room. Seems like a really grounded guy. Should be interesting.

      • Ray Fadroski

        I agree. I believe it was Traman Williams who said after the season he felt the Packers were lacking in veteran leadership on the Defense. His role in the locker room could be just as important as on the field.

      • Peter Maiz

        I don’t know enough about schemes but how would he help out stopping the run?

        • RayRivard

          Peppers has always been tuff against the run.

          • Peter Maiz

            thanks Ray. We really need to stop the run.

  • Ray Fadroski

    If Peppers is paying an elephant position or outside linebacker Neal and/or Perry could be in line for a position change. I can’t see this kind of money sitting on the bench. I wonder if they could function well at the inside linebacker position. Neal could be a real run stuffer with his size.

  • billy

    Even if all he does is set a good example for the young guys who seem to be taking forever to develop, he will be worth it…take some heat off of CM3…worth it….all i see is one or two seasons though….

  • Vvait Fang

    People have been crying for a few years that a power guy is needed across from Clay Matthews… here he is, and I’m kinda shocked that people are licking their lips. With 2 rushers like that, both of them are headed into sack heaven this coming year. And with BJ supposedly moving back to nose, that’s a potent 3 way sack threat, as well as a lot of TFLs. Its also got to take pressure off the secondary – no quarterback will be able to hold onto the ball but for so long now, making coverage time length shorter and less painful.
    Really starting to look forward to the season!!!

    • Peter Maiz

      we definitely need to rush those quarterbacks and sacks would definitely be welcome. Can Peppers play a role in stopping the run?

  • Michael Praser

    No matter what, Peppers is a genetic freak and even at 50% of what he used to be, he is still better than 80% of the Defensive Ends in the NFL. My only worry would be his foot problems. I know I am not looking forward to him playing against the Bears.

  • Peter Maiz

    Being “washed up” can mostly be a mental attitude, a mental block. A lot of professionals from whatever field lose focus because what they’re doing no longer inspires them. As to Peppers, at his age his physical ability can’t possibly be what it was 10 years ago. The reflexes and speed are normally diminished with time. But there is a caveat: If Peppers feels “good” and feels happy and welcomed by Green Bay, he may put in an extra effort. Greatness comes out of pride, the “soul” so to speak. So we’ll soon see his performance. A change in Pepper’s venue may provide that extra spark.