1) Introduction: After 8 years with the Carolina Panthers, superstar defensive end Julius Peppers made Packers fans nervous when he signed with the Chicago Bears. Now, four years later, Peppers is playing his twilight years in the green and gold, hoping to claim the championship title he never could in his first 12 years.
2) Profile: Julius Peppers
- Age: 35
- Born: January 18, 1980 in Wilson, NC
- Height: 6’ 7”
- Weight: 287
- College: North Carolina
- Rookie Year: 2002
- NFL Experience: 13 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: When Ted Thompson signed Peppers in the offseason, it came with widely mixed reviews. Some felt that he was over the hill and had left his best days far behind. Others felt like he still had a lot of good game left in him and could be a key contributor in 2014. Either way, he was expected to be a difference-maker on this defense, especially being bookended as a pass rusher with Clay Matthews.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: There were games where Julius Peppers seemed to be all but invisible, and yet, he always seemed to be making big plays here and there throughout the season. For a guy playing 3-4 OLB after being a long-term DE, he did exceptionally well. Not only did notch 11 more sacks in his belt, but he also added 2 interceptions, both for touchdowns. Peppers’ big weakness, though, was obviously in the run game.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: A lot of people have to admit that Julius Peppers added more to this team than they thought he would. Even as an aging veteran in his 13th year, Peppers was an impact player. Not every snap was a great one, but he sure made some of them count in big ways.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Were it not for Julius Peppers, the Packers might have never reached Seattle for the NFC Championship Game. His forced fumble of DeMarco Murray was a game-changer. He also added two sacks against Russell Wilson in the postseason. On the flip side, one has to wonder whether he’s kicking himself for telling Morgan Burnett to take a knee on his interception return.
7) Intangibles: Peppers is a savvy player who uses his athleticism and reach in smart ways. Whether it’s batting down passes, forcing fumbles, catching interceptions, or just causing havoc on the line, he’s got a knack for making plays.
Season Report Card (Player Grades):
(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B+) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: B+——————
Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporskiFollow @ChadToporski
9 thoughts on “Julius Peppers 2014 Report Card – Packers Player Grades”
Fair grade on a great addition. I can’t imagine this defense without Julius Peppers. In isolation, people can question any single part of his game but his big plays (sacks, strips, pressures, ints) tell you that he was a factor throughout the year. This is especially impressive given that our D-line was average at best with a lot of inexperienced play. Peppers made this cobbled group respectable and was probably the biggest play-maker on defense. He needs to be back next year to help finish the rebuild on defense.
I’m more tending to A-, but I think difference is really small.
Before I read your article, I thought a B+ would be a fair grade for Peppers before you reminded me that he was an impact player who had 11 sacks and made a number of impact plays (while learning and playing a new position!). Erase the B+ and give the man what he deserves…an A.
Signing Peppers helped the Packers defense and he made some big plays. However, Peppers signing nor his play was anything close to a Reggie White or Charles Woodsen type of signing. He did not bring a take over the game type of play that the Packers defense desperately needs and in fact from game to game his level of play was inconsistent. Peppers would be a great addition to an already strong defense looking to add a solid player into their OLB rotation. For an average, at best, defense like the Packers, Peppers is no longer the player that can take them from average to great or even good. Yet, his experience is a positive in the locker room and opposing offenses still need to account for his presence as he will make some big plays during the course of a season. Thanks, Since ’61
I think that Peppers definitely took the Packers defense to good/respectable. From the half point of the season onward, the defense played well and he was a big part of that. In the final games and into the playoffs the defense did a pretty good job – maybe even better than the sputtering offense. The fact that teams took advantage of our linebackers or bizzare defensive/special teams play-calling isn’t a Peppers thing. He more than did his share and tried to cover some substantial weak links. This team may well have been dead last on defense if it were not for the Peppers factor.
His locker room presence and field leadership are intangibles I totally forgot to add in his evaluation… Thanks for noting them here!
Let’s remember that without Peppers, they never even have a chance to move Clay inside to fix the run defense.
As for not being a Reggie White/Charles Woodson type signing, neither of those players was 34 when they came to Green Bay — to start their first seasons with the Packers, White was 31 and Woodson was 29.
Another great signing by TT….. gutsy too. Really hope he is back at a slightly reduced rate and with little to no drop off. He was one of my favorite player to watch on the team last year.
I was a big fan of this signing, equating it to having the potential to be a Jason Taylor type revival for him. Many of us also said that his snaps needed to be diminished from what he was playing in Chicago prior to coming to GB in order for him to be at his best, but this defense needed him more than that. If he returns in 2015, I hope they can find the supporting players to allow him to play a little less and play a little more effectively when he’s on the field. Accomplish that and he might have a couple very productive years left.
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