1) Introduction: Charlie Peprah was the biggest free agent signing for the Packers in the 2010 offseason. Not like it was much of a contest, as Peprah was the only free agent signing during the offseason. Peprah’s career to date was as a journeyman; Peprah was claimed off waivers by the Packers from the New York Giants after being drafted in the 5th round in 2006. After 3 unremarkable season in Green Bay he was released in 2008, Peprah made it onto the Atlanta Falcons in 2009 and was not tendered for the 2010 season. Many fans didn’t even blink with the news of his signing, they only used it as more fuel in their dislike of general manager Ted Thompson’s complete disuse of free agency; what the Packers got though was a starter who managed to beat out incumbent Atari Bigby all the way to the Super Bowl. It looks like the once journeyman has found a home where he started so long ago.
Charlie Yaw Peprah
Height: 5-11 Weight: 202 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Reserve Player – Peprah hadn’t shown much during his first stint with the Packers and basically nothing was expected of him the second time around. The Packers figured he would contribute as a special teams player and Peprah figured to see no time on the field with pro bowler Nick Collins entrenched as the teams free safety and rookie Morgan Burnett getting all the 1st team reps in the offseason as the starting strong safety. If anything the debate was between Morgan Burnett and Atari Bigby with Peprah as a mere afterthought.
4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: His highlight was undoubtedly his interception in the endzone against Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears in week 17; it was a turning point in the game and helped the Packers get into the playoffs and eventually in the Super Bowl. Overall, Peprah really didn’t have a lowlight when you consider he probably played as well as he could have based on his ability, he was obviously beat by faster and more physical wide receivers a couple of times and was run over a couple of times by running backs, but Peprah was pretty steady as a run defender and adequate in pass defense overall.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: While Peprah wasn’t flashy he got the job done and wasn’t a detriment to the defense. Safeties are vital parts of the zone blitz 3-4, mainly as the last line of defense and Peprah’s play wasn’t a liabilty and allowed Capers to send in a variety of blitzes from unexpected players from unexpected players. As such Peprah was often asked and switch assignments (sometimes multiple times in the same play) in a very complicated defense (http://www.nfl.com/videos/green-bay-packers/09000d5d81df0055/Keys-to-the-3-4-Zone-Blitz).
6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Peprah continued his steady play through the last 6 games of the season, without much fanfare he got his job done. His interception of Jay Cutler in the endzone swayed momentum to the Packers’ favor and in a tight scoring game was a significant part of the reason why the Packers won the game. Peprah’s play was so good that incumbent Atari Bigby wasn’t able to get on the field outside of on special teams, where Peprah was supposed to play, and its likely that even with Bigby back at full health the Packers will retain Peprah and let Bigby go.
Season Report Card:
(A+) Level of expectations met during the season
(C+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C+) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)
Overall Grade for the year: B-——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.