June 17, 2014, file photo shows Green Bay Packers Julius
Peppers catching a ball during NFL football minicamp in
Green Bay, Wis. Peppers has just the kind resume McCarthy
was looking for in trying to add impact players on defense.
Sure, hes 34 and had only seven sacks last year, down
from two straight seasons of at least 11. But Peppers has
118 1-2 sacks in his 12-year career.
Julius Peppers isn't worried, and he doesn't think Green Bay
Packers fans should be concerned either.
Packers' prized offseason acquisition, understands why some fans
might have some reservations about him. He's 34 years old. He's
entering his 13th NFL season. He's a rarity for the
draft-and-develop Packers a big-name free-agent signee.
And although he
appears to still be in tip-top physical condition, even Peppers
acknowledges that it's reasonable to wonder just how much he has
"You know, I
guess it's something that you expect," Peppers said.
"There's not a lot of 34-year-old defensive ends playing in
the league, so I guess it's a fair question."
performance in the team's preseason opener at Tennessee last week
didn't do much to answer that question.
He played 10
snaps and admitted he was a non-factor. He was also out of
position on Shonn Greene's first-quarter touchdown run, as Greene
went right through the area Peppers vacated when he rushed up the
get much done," Peppers said. "But it's a start. It's a
start. We'll play a little bit more this week and see if we can
get a little better this week."
cautioned, he shouldn't be judged on what he'll do this season
based on one rain-soaked game that doesn't count.
about that," he said. "I'm not really going to get into
too much discussing what I can and can't do. I'm going to let the
film speak for it."
As with other
aging pass rushers who switched teams DeMarcus Ware, who went
from Dallas to Denver, and Jared Allen, who went from Minnesota to
Chicago, it's reasonable to wonder just how productive Peppers
will be with his new team.
He had 7½ sacks
last season for the Bears while playing 855 snaps, and the Packers
believe less will be more for him: Fewer snaps, more production.
The feeling in
the locker room since Peppers' signing in March from Aaron
Rodgers to Clay Matthews and down the line has been one of
transitioning to playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme for
the first time in his career has been a challenge, the coaches
still believe that rushing the passer doesn't change despite the
doing good. We've asked a lot of him. We haven't just lined him up
in one spot," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's
picked it up quickly, he's getting more and more comfortable,
particularly whom he's playing next to and things like that. I
think he's having a solid camp."
"I've had to make a few adjustments with stance and things
like that, getting off from a two-point stance. But other than
that, it's really a lot like playing defensive end. So the
transition has been pretty smooth."
to play more extensively this Saturday at St. Louis, but he still
may not produce any eye-popping plays, he said.
is just about getting adjusted to the speed, really. Technique and
things, over the years you develop and you get pretty sound at
those things," Peppers said. "It's just about doing them
at game speed."
And if he is up
to speed in time for the Packers' Sept. 4 regular-season opener
against the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, Peppers said,
that's all that matters
is what it is. We're going to get through that," Peppers
said. "Eventually we're going to have real games for
everybody to talk about."
NOTES: In the
most spirited practice of training camp, a few fights erupted,
most in conjunction with a physical and competitive run-blocking
drill. "It was the practice we needed," McCarthy said.
"It was a physical practice and based on the way we've
scheduled the team throughout training camp, I think we got done
what we needed to get done today." ... The fighting included
a rare sight: Two position coaches offensive line coach James
Campen and linebackers coach Winston Moss getting in each
other's face in a shouting match that fired up their guys.
"He has a heck of a beard, and I wanted to see it up close,
because I can't grow one," Campen joked afterward. "And
then he gave me some weight-loss instructions on how to trim up.
Things happen. No big deal. It was just a real intense
practice." ... Wide receiver Jordy Nelson took part in
practice, but remains limited in his snaps because of a lingering