Julius Peppers is a defensive end in the NFL, and was recently cut by the Chicago Bears, then promptly picked up by division rival Green Bay Packers.
A team usually busy hibernating during free agency. Not this year, this year they made a splash in the form of 3 years $30million for an elite albeit aging edge pass rusher to bookend Clay Matthews.
My bold prediciton for this year Julius Peppers wins the defensive player of the year!
Don't believe me, here's 5 reasons why it's bound to happen.
Reason 1. Who do you double?
You just can't simply double team Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers. With offensive lines not being able to double both perrenial Pro Bowl pass rushers, and B.J. Raji returning at nose tackle to clog up the middle who do you double?
My guess is they double Matthews, even after a decline in numbers last year due to injury he is Green Bays' best pass rusher and the offense needs to know where he is on the field at all times.
Que Peppers, a prominent pass rusher in his own right, and I think this year is his year. With the offensive line so worried about Matthews , Somebody is going to be there to sack the QB , and that person is 8-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers. Look for a steep increase in his sacks and tackles for loss this season.
Reason 2. He's Motivated!
Peppers led the Chicago Bears last season with 7.5 sacks his lowest total since 2007 (2.0). Peppers 118.5 career sacks is 2nd since entering in the league in 2002. Despite these Hall of Fame numbers there is something that is still missing from his career, and that is the feeling of hoisting the Lombardi trophy over his head victorious.
Peppers was quoted saying, "I haven't won a championship. That's where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there". Peppers has heard the whispers about him aging and possibly losing a step to which he replied, "I have a lot left in the tank. I have a lot left to give, a lot left to offer. I want to show people I can still play the game at a high level." Peppers is definitely going to have a chip on his shoulder especially after being released by the Chicago Bears, and he is going to be extremely dangerous.
Reason 3. Mike Trgovac
I know I know...right about now your all saying WHO IN THE WIDE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS IS MIKE TRGOVAC?! Well I'm going to tell you. Trgovac was Peppers coach from 2002 to 2008 in Carolina for what were some of Peppers best seasons as a pro, including a losing effort in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Peppers tallied 274 tackles, 70.5 sacks, and 70 forced fumbles during his time with Trgovac. If Trgovac can find a way to get to Peppers and get him to produce like he did from 2002 to 2008 I think the Packers' defense will be in good shape and a motivated Peppers will be there to reep the benefits.
Reason 4. Ted Thompson gets bang for his buck!
As a share holder of the Green Bay Packers it gets very frustrating year after year after year to watch free agency fly bye as we sit idle twiddling our thumbs. Now, having said that when general manager Ted Thompson does pull the trigger and ink a big free agent like Mr. Julius Peppers he gets bang for his buck.
Thompson has only signed one other big name defensive free agent in his time with the Packers. His name was Charles Woodson, Perhaps some of you remember him. Perhaps some of you remember he was an NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Perhaps some of you remember his veterean leadership in the Packers' secondary and how he contributed to bringing another Lombardi trophy back to Title Town. I believe that Peppers will do to the defensive line what Woodson did for the secondary.
And Reason 5. The Minister of Defense.
The late, great Reggie White came to the Packers in 1993. White was a crafty veteran and edge pass rusher much like Julius Peppers. Maybe just maybe the Minister of Defense can send down some divine intervention and let history repeat itself through Peppers this year.
Peppers has very big shoes to fill if he hopes to live up to White's legacy in Green Bay where he will forever be remembered as a leader both on and off the field, and maybe just maybe the thought of playing on the same field in the same uniform as Reggie white will be the extra push Peppers needs to win the defensive player of the year.