Bay Packers’ Julius Peppers talks to Mike Neal during NFL
football training camp on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Green
GREEN BAY —
Standing a sturdy 6-foot-7, Packers pass rusher Julius Peppers
poses an imposing sight to opposing linemen even without pads.
Good thing Green
Bay's front five only has to go up against Peppers in practice
Pro Bowler is spending his first training camp in Titletown after
joining the Packers as a free agent in the offseason following
four seasons with the division rival Chicago Bears. The lure of
playing in a 3-4 defense that also features linebacker Clay
Matthews helped lure Peppers north to Green Bay.
"It is a new
challenge and I'm looking forward to not only proving to myself
that I can do it, but proving to the outsiders who don't think I
can do it," Peppers said Monday after the Packers practiced
in pads for the first time.
When last seen at
Lambeau Field on Nov. 4, Peppers was wreaking havoc on a Packers
offense that had just lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a
collarbone injury. He picked off a short pass by backup
quarterback Seneca Wallace, and later sacked Wallace to help snap
Chicago's six-game losing streak to Green Bay with a 27-20 win.
physical stature that Julius has, I mean that alone is
intimidating enough for an offense," right guard T.J. Lang
said. "Every time you look at the guy, you're just as equally
impressed as the first time you've seen him. He's just a
One who has 118
1/2 sacks since entering the league in 2002, ranked 17th in NFL
history. But Peppers recorded just seven sacks last season, the
fewest for him since 2007.
He became a
salary cap casualty in Chicago, which may explain Peppers' need to
prove himself again in his 13th NFL season.
not about really proving anybody wrong. It's about accomplishing
some personal goals, one of which being is winning a world
championship. That's the main thing," Peppers said.
For the Packers,
Peppers punches up a defense that lacked enough playmakers last
season, especially with Matthews sidelined for much of the year
with a right thumb injury. The long-haired linebacker is a full
participant again in camp following a second surgery in the
scenario for coach Mike McCarthy might find Peppers and Matthews
charging from opposite ends of the line to get the quarterback,
though don't expect Matthews and Peppers to just remain on one
side or the other. The first few days of camp has the duo moving
around the field, one of McCarthy's tweaks to a defense that
sagged in the second half in 2013.
we're all about taking advantage of mismatches, but any time you
could add someone of Peppers' caliber to the line, who gets after
the quarterback and has a proven sack record, it definitely
helps," Matthews said. "At the same time, the same is
expected of me no matter where I'm at in the line, whether it's
left, right, in the middle."
Just to be clear,
though, this is no fad defense where Peppers will primarily be
used to cover the flat.
to go toward the quarterback, we all understand that,"
McCarthy said. "But when he does drop he has great ability
It's something he
didn't do much while with the Bears. But Peppers said he's getting
more comfortable with the task — it's just a matter of adjusting
to the learning curve in a different scheme.
was one of the things that attracted me to coming," Peppers
said. "A chance to stand up, move around, drop, rush, play in
different positions — was one of the things that made me want to
come here in the first place."
(right shoulder) was limited again in practice. McCarthy said he
wasn't worried about his starting right guard. "Coaches and
the trainers just want to take it slow right now," Lang said.
... LB Nick Perry (foot and knee) and LB-DE Mike Neal (abdomen)
remained spectators at practice. ... Players are off Tuesday, the
first off day of camp.