GreenBay Packer Nation

AM Quickslant: Get Ready For Assault And Peppers

There’s an old saying in the NFL that has come en vogue again after last year’s Super Bowl: “Offense wins games, defense wins championships”. Within a defense, there is nothing more valuable than an elite pass rusher. Last year’s Packers’ defense put little pressure on quarterbacks in the absence of Clay Matthews…and we didn’t win a championship. That is about to change.

This year’s Packers defense has worked hard to shore up the safety position AND get deeper at that position with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. No matter who starts at the position, it will be an upgrade with a talented backup and person to split time with. Even if Ha Ha ends up on second string, he will get plenty of playing time. But upgrading the safety position was filling a glaring hole. The Packers have also upgraded their pass rush with the signing of Julius Peppers.

Does Julius still have it?

Questions have been asked as to whether Julius Peppers is washed up. Has time caught up with him? He had many productive seasons with Chicago but last season was not considered one of them. The guy has 118.5 career sacks, has one down year, and the Bears let him go. The Packers didn’t risk much (7.5 million guaranteed) and in particular, only counted 3.5 million against the cap. This for a guy who averaged almost 10 sacks a year while with the Bears.

The the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Peppers will have to prove it on the field wearing Green and Gold now, but I am one who believes he still can be a dominant pass-rushing threat. I watched every snap of Julius’ play against the Packers in last season’s week 17 NFC North Championship-deciding matchup and here’s what I found:

Assault and Peppers

Well Packernation, now Julius Peppers is one of us. When he and Clay Matthews are on the field together, it is gonna be pick your poison time for opposing offenses. Peppers has never won the big one and he knows the Packers are his last, best chance. He has been to the big dance once and lost to New England, gone back to the NFC Championship game twice and lost…most recently in Chicago to the Packers who went on to win it all. He is gonna be motivated and hungry and that should scare opposing quarterbacks. Teamed up with Clay Matthews, the Packers pass rush got a much needed shot in the arm with Julius Peppers. Credit Green Bay for recognizing a talent, upgrading a pass rush, and building in the potential for greatness on this year’s Packers defense.

Time will tell if the defense reaches it’s potential but we will soon find out…It all starts with the Seattle Seahawks so the competition doesn’t get any better. Here’s to a new season, and here’s to a much needed shot in the arm for our Packers defense. I can just see Clay Matthews looking Julius in the eye and sayin’ “Hey man…race you to the quarterback!”