A.M. Quickslant: 3 Reasons to Speak of the Soft Spoken One

Julius Peppers 2014 Training CampThe talk of the 2014 off-season has not been heard from or spoken of this off-season. Maybe it is because silence is his M.O. Maybe the guy just wants to make his statements out on the gridiron (that is fine with me). But on thing is for sure, I am not overlooking the importance of Julius Peppers to the Packers’ chances for reaching their goals in 2015.

A lot of Bears fans tried to convince me that the acquisition of Julius Peppers in 2014 was folly. I never believed it. Sure, he may not be as dominant a pass rusher as he was in 2004 and 2005 (12 sacks in those years), but the Packers did not necessarily need double-digit sacks out of the man. The price was right and Julius Peppers has perennially been good for 7-12 sacks a season. His veteran savvy and his physical prowess were on display over and over during the Packers 2014 campaign. Here are three reasons that I am glad the Packers paid Julius Peppers:

1. A complement to Clay Matthew

This is the obvious one Julius Peppers is a complement to Clay Matthews in that he threatened the clayquarterback from the opposite side of the field. The Packers needed to force focus away from Clay or at least make offenses pick their poison and with Peppers on the field, they achieved just that. The combo registered 18 sacks between the two of them with Matthews bringing in 11 and Peppers getting 7. I think Peppers’ number could go up this year with the return of BJ Raji as Raji is more apt to require two offensive lineman and that puts Peppers in a position to be in favorable matchups. With Clay Matthews likely being outside on the opposite side of the field, the 2015 season could see more sacks from these two veterans.

2. Big play ability

Julius Peppers is a physical specimen. At 6’7 he towers over just about everyone in the NFL. These physicals give Julius Peppers big play ability that even Clay Matthews would be hard pressed to duplicate. As an example, Peppers was able to strip DeMarco Murray in the Divisional game against the Cowboys with his combination of length and power. It was a huge play and if Peppers hadn’t made it…Murray would have gone for a major gash play against the Pack. Few players in the league could have covered that much ground let alone had the power at the end of it to knock the ball loose.

Peppers had two pick sixes in 2014…two pick sixes! The returns on these interceptions totaled 101 yards. Big plays like that are game changers and that’s what Peppers is.

3. Leadership

It says so much for Julius Peppers’ leadership ability that in his first year as a Packer, he was chosen to be a playoff captain. The Packers are a young team that needs the occasional veteran to lead the youth. Peppers is exactly that for this team as we only got younger this year. And we know that Julius Peppers is gonna do his talking…and his leading on the field which is the best place to do it. The young bucks of the Packers linebacking corps are fortunate to have a guy like Julius Peppers as an example. Like many Packers fans…Julius was one of the few Bears players (when he was with the Bears) that I really respected.

So Julius Peppers is the soft spoken one and that is just fine by me. He does his taking on the field. And hopefully in 2015…he will have a lot to say.

Go Pack!

A.M. Quickslant: 3 Reasons to Speak of the Soft Spoken One
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