FanPost

Why I believe Julius Peppers is better than any defensive player in the NFL, including Demarcus Ware

I was asked to make a fan post about some of the articles I was posting in a debate in the Demarcus Ware thread, So I will.

All this talk about Demarcus Ware is going to give the Bears problems, I think Peppers will have a bigger impact Monday night than Ware. Peppers is like Deebo from the Movie "Friday" and is just a bully on the field, he is going to have his way with the Cowboys not so great offensive line. Ware is a great sack artist but Peppers is a complete defensive end, from getting sacks to knocking down passes, getting interceptions, forcing fumbles, stopping the run, and even blocking kicks. Romo should be shaking in his shoes.

Ware is a great player and just as good a pass rusher as Julius Peppers, that said, Peppers is most definitely the better overall player. Peppers has 8 interceptions in his career to Ware’s 1, Peppers has 36 forced fumbles to Ware’s 29 ( Ware just got 2 FF in the last game) Peppers has 10 fumble recoveries to Ware’s 5, Peppers has 12 blocked field goals to Ware’s 0, Peppers has 57 passes defensed to Ware’s 22, Peppers is also better at setting the edge and is more stout against the run. I know Ware has played 3 less seasons than Peppers and will probably end his career with more sacks than Peppers, but Peppers is the more dominant player. Both Hall Of Famers though.

Also, Ware definitely does get the chance to rack up more sacks than Peppers because of the position and scheme he plays in. Ware plays as a 3-4 outside linebacker in a confusing, aggressive scheme that blitzes often. He lines up very wide giving him an easier angle to reach the quarterback. Also because of the blitzing scheme he plays in, Ware sees plenty of 1 on 1 matchup’s, and sometimes even sees 1 on 1’s against a tight end or running back. Julius Peppers plays in a cover 2 defensive scheme that rarely blitzes and only rushes 4 down lineman, he is a 4-3 defensive end. Because of the scheme and position he plays, he does get double teamed and chipped more by running backs than Ware does. That is a fact and can be proven by watching both teams play.

What can Peppers do that Ware can’t? Hmmmm, he can do lots of things Ware can’t considering his overall size, strength, and speed, he is 6’7" 290 lbs. He knocks down way more passes than Ware does, which is essentially a wasted down for the opposing teams offense and can also lead to an interception. He takes on double teams more much like Haloti Ngata does for the Ravens allowing his teammates to make tackles and plays on the football. He blocks kicks which wipe points off the board for the opposing teams offense, he gets more interceptions which get his team the ball back, he is better at sealing the edge and stopping the run. He is just as good as dropping into coverage as Ware, Pep drops on Zone blitzes on occasion and did so even more while he was a member of the Panthers. He was used as a wide receiver a couple of times while with the Panthers. He is more versatile than Ware and lines up all over the line as a DE and DT. He gets more fumble recoveries than Ware and right around the same average of forced fumbles. And according to the website football outsiders, Peppers and Ware both have 93 QB pressure from the last 3 seasons combined, meaning Peppers gets the same amount of QB pressures while facing MORE double teams than Ware will ever dream of facing considering he is a 3-4 outside linebacker and sees plenty of 1 on 1 mathcups because of it, even against backs and tight ends.

Ware is a product of the defensive schemes he has played in.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=6492434

"Playing defensive end, I have a few more responsibilities," Williams told the Chronicle. "Being an outside linebacker, I’m always on the edge. When the ball’s snapped, it’s full go after the quarterback."

Phillips compared Williams to Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, whom he coached for more than three years before Phillips was fired during the 2010 season.

"He’s got the talent," Phillips said of Williams. "With him standing up, he lines up a little wider, and he’s coming every time on a different angle. This gives him the chance to be the premier rusher, just like DeMarcus."

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d81fc8c96/article/texans-de-williams-move-to-olb-wont-be-all-that-complicated

"I said, ‘You rush,’" Phillips recalls. "He said, ‘OK.’"

And it’s pretty much going to be that simple. In Phillips’ version of the 3-4 defense, there is an outside linebacker whose job is almost exclusively limited to getting after the quarterback from the open side of the formation.

Think the current dominance of DeMarcus Ware in Dallas, where Phillips was head coach until the middle of last season.

Think Shawne Merriman, who flourished and came up with 27 sacks in his first two seasons with the San Diego Chargers while Phillips was defensive coordinator there.

Think Bryce Paup after he left the Green Bay Packers — for whom he was an end in a 4-3 scheme — and then compiled 17.5 sacks as linebacker for the Bills in 1995, when Phillips was defensive coordinator.

http://www.bolthype.com/2007/11/demarcus-ware-vs-shawne-merriman.html

Demarcus Ware:
"I talked to Shawne at the Pro Bowl, and he said, ’You’re going to love this system. You’re going to move all around, from left to right and into the middle. It will open up the gate for you and other players. We have a lot of great players on our defense, just like San Diego does, and we have been watching a lot of film of those guys. We’re excited about the sack totals and big plays we can put up in this system. … Sacks are how we eat. Everybody is really excited that a new coach has come in and has a new philosophy different from our old coach. The philosophy Wade has is a little more aggressive than the one Bill Parcells had. It’s what guys on this team like. They like the movement, the aggressiveness of this scheme. They don’t have as many responsibilities."

http://sportsblogs.star-telegram.com/cowboys/2011/10/ware-seeing-a-lot-of-single-blocking-for-first-time-since-rookie-year-.html

One of the examples of how Rob Ryan’s schemes have impacted the Cowboys defense is Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware getting fewer double team blocks than anytime since his rookie year.

As instead of just lining up on the right side and rushing the quarterback, Ryan has Ware attacking the quarterback from the left side, the middle and the right side. Teams have been unable to locate him and slide the protection to his side on a regular basis, resulting in him getting singled blocked a great majority of time.

"I have faced a lot of one on ones," Ware said. "I will be on the left and the cornerback would be on the right, the running back would have to pick him up. It creates a lot of one-on-ones which I like."
Ware has five sacks in four games so far, tying him for fourth in the league.

http://www.scoresreport.com/2009/01/17/julius-peppers-wants-to-play-for-another-team-next-season-as-a-linebacker/

At one point Peppers did want to play OLB in a 34 defense… he is definitely athletic enough.

Carey said ideally Peppers wants to play in a 3-4 defensive system where he can stand up and roam the field as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker, similar to how the Dallas Cowboys use DeMarcus Ware and how the San Diego Chargers have used Shawne Merriman in the past before his injury.

So basically he doesn’t want to have a lot of run responsibility, he just wants to rush the quarterback and compile as many sacks as he possibly can. At 6’7", 283 pounds, Peppers would easily be the biggest linebacker in the NFL.

If Julius Peppers played in an aggressive defense like that as a jack linebacker like Ware does, Peppers would break the single season sack record. Instead Peppers lines up in a conservative bend but don’t break, only rush 4 down lineman, make the quarter back dump the ball off quick so the linebackers can make the play type defense. Making it easier to chip and double team Peppers, as well as quarter backs hitting quick slants and getting rid of the ball quicker not giving Peppers the amount of time needed to rack up huge sack numbers. Peppers is better than Ware, and better than any defensive player in the NFL, if only he played in a scheme that could show case his talents a little bit more.

Regardless of sack totals though, Peppers has more impact for his team than Ware.

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4698407/demarcus-ware-not-battling-julius-peppers

But Ware does not get into the one-on-one matchup with a guy he will not play against directly.

"I just go out there and play and do what I need to do," Ware said. "You start measuring yourself against somebody else, you can’t look at that. You’ve got to figure out what you can do for your team and don’t worry about anything else."

That doesn’t mean Ware doesn’t study Peppers.

"I look to see what he does against certain guys that are effective," Ware said. "He’s a great player. He’s a big impact player, so you try to emulate some of your moves off of what he’s been doing. If it’s been productive, then you know he’s doing something right."

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/post/_/id/4678529/page/fourdowns/four-downs-offenses-consistency-a-concern

Fact or Fiction: Julius Peppers is a more impactful player than DeMarcus Ware.

Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Peppers remains a great player at this stage of his career, but in terms of sheer impact on a game, the younger Ware has to get the nod after recording 19.5 sacks last year and 15.5 in 2010. However, it needs to be mentioned that Peppers’ impact sometimes doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, as he constantly has to fend off double and triple teams for the betterment of his teammates. But Ware’s numbers since he entered the league in 2005 have been outrageous, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. That’s why he gets the call over Peppers in this particular category.

Michael C. Wright: Fact. This is somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison because of the way they’re used in their respective defenses. If we’re talking about impact from the sheer standpoint of disrupting the quarterback, Ware wins this one by virtue of the fact he’s put together six consecutive double-digit sack seasons, including a 20-sack 2008 campaign and 19.5 sacks in 2011. Peppers’ year in terms of sacks came in 2008 (14.5), and he’s never recorded more than three double-digit sack years in a row. To me, impact is determined by a player’s overall value. In that category, Peppers edges Ware. In eight seasons, Ware has generated one more sack (103.5) than Peppers has in 11 years (102.5). But Peppers has forced more turnovers (36 to 29), broken up more passes (54 to 21) and intercepted more balls (8 to 1). Peppers is also asked to be more of an all-around defender than Ware, who is more of a pass rusher. Both command similar attention from offenses. But from this vantage point, Peppers does more overall and still manages to perform against double teams and sometimes triple teams. Let’s not forget that in 2010, Frank Omiyale — that’s right, Frank Omiyale – held Ware to no sacks and three tackles when the Bears beat Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Think Omiyale could have done that to Peppers?

Scott Powers: Fiction: Both have certainly made an impact, but Ware has made more of one this season. He has 18 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. Peppers has eight tackles and 2 1/2 sacks. This week should be interesting as both offensive lines have had their troubles, and both linemen could be differencemakers.

Jon Greenberg: Fact. Ware is no slouch, but Peppers is just a bully out there. Watching him against the Rams was like watching Deebo terrorize the neighborhood in "Friday." Asked to explain his 15-yard penalty for shoving Steven Jackson, Peppers said, "I finished the play." He envelops blockers and when he gets to a quarterback, well, he finishes the play.

I agree with Michael and Jon.

Here is what players and coaches around the NFL have said about Peppers.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/panthers/2006-11-22-peppers-cover_x.htm (Very good article)

Joe Theismann:
After watching Peppers notch three sacks, bat down a pass and recover a fumble in a 24-10 win against Tampa Bay, ESPNMonday Night Football analyst Joe Theismann put Peppers in rarefied air, comparing him to Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

"This is the best way to put in perspective the way we viewed Lawrence, and I think this is the way people should view Julius," Theismann says. "When coaches draw up defenses, they use letters to denote defensive players: ‘C’ for corner, ‘S’ for safety, so on. In Washington, we would use letters until it came to Lawrence. For him, we used No. 56, and it was always bigger than everything else. That visually put everything into context, saying, ‘This guy is better than anybody else on that board.’ "

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/11/14/aikman-peppers-is-a-game-changer/
Troy Aikman:
For Aikman, the Bears allowing Peppers to attack the middle of an offensive line is reminiscent of one of the greatest defensive linemen in the history of the game he used to play against.

"Going to back to when I was playing, they used to do that, the Philadelphia Eagles did, with Reggie White," Aikman said. "You think you know where he’s going to be, or you anticipate that he’s going to be here most of the time, but then you know he’s going to move up and down that offensive line until he finds a matchup that he feels good about. That puts some stress on an offense."

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-18/sports/ct-spt-1118-bears-pompei-chicago—20111118_1_three-technique-famer-dan-hampton-bears

Dan Hampton:
The Bears’ other pass rushers might benefit from Peppers the DT more than Peppers the DE.
"As a defensive end you can affect (only) so much of what happens," Hampton said. "If they turn a guard to you or chip you with a tight end, you’re basically going to be a non-factor. But if you’re coming up the middle, with his (6-foot-7, 287-pound) frame, it’s a force. It’s a deal breaker."

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2010/11/29/hampton-peppers-is-leader-of-defense/
Dan Hampton:
"Julius Peppers is the guy, the lead dog that is bringing this group from a mediocre group to a group that is throwing people around" Hampton said. "They were physical. They were relentless…Julius Peppers has been a huge influence on how, maybe, the way they prepare, but [also] the way they’re playing. And that’s the big thing."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/peter_king/01/18/nfl-all-pro-team/index.html
Peter King:
Though Peppers had but eight sacks this year, he had a huge impact on a defense that went from 21st in the league in points allowed in 2009 to fourth this year; from 4.3 yards per rush last year to 3.7 this year; from 29 touchdown passes surrendered last year to 14 this year. He pushes the pocket. He buzzes around the quarterback. He makes other guys — Israel Idonije, Tommie Harris — better.There’s no question the return of Brian Urlacher at the pivot point of the defense has been a significant addition, but Peppers has been the most important reason the Bears have become the Monsters of the Midway again, and that’s why he’s my defensive player of the year.
He’s the John Stockton of the Bears defense, the guy who makes everyone around him better.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2011-07-04-top-10-defensive-ends_n.htm
Deacon Jones:
"Julius Peppers impresses me as much as anyone," Jones says. "He has it all."

http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/jets/post/_/id/3656/rexs-favorite-bear
Rex Ryan:
Of course, I also realize that this guy is the best there is.
"He’s another guy, you can’t throw over him," Ryan said. "That’s what’s so underrated about him. You can try to throw intermediate passes over him … Well, maybe you can or maybe you can’t. The guy’s wingspan is incredible. His height, wingspan. It’s just incredible how many plays he makes. He’ll bat it down and then he’ll catch it. There’s very few Julius Peppers’ walking the face of this earth."

http://deadspin.com/5611609/brian-urlacher-thinks-
Brian Urlacher:
"I’ll say this about Peppers, he’s the best football player I’ve ever seen. He’s 300 pounds. He does things DBs are doing. I don’t know how we got him, but I’m glad we did."

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nfl/news/story?id=5900330
Lovie Smith:
"No doubt, he makes the defense better. We’ve had great football players here, but this is a special player we’re talking about," Smith said.

http://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/bears_hc_lovie_smith_says_de_julius_peppers_best_player_in_the_nfl/10098634Smith:
Lovie Smith:
"Julius Peppers is arguably the best player in the NFL, that is what I think. I get a chance to watch him. The things he does, you know, he will very seldom lead the league in sacks because he gets respect always � double team, triple team. But he had a heck of a year."

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nfl/news/story?id=5900330
Bill Belichick:
"You could put him anywhere on the field," Belichick said. "He can play on the front line, he could play linebacker. He could play strong safety. He could play anywhere on the defensive line. He’s tall. Richard Seymour was tall and he played there. Put him out at tight end, make a left tackle out of him. I wouldn’t want to tackle him if he was carrying the ball. He’s a great player."

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nfl/news/story?id=5900330
Tom Brady:
"He’s one of the best in the league. He’s big, strong, fast, athletic. He’s got seven sacks, wreaking havoc," Brady said.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/post/_/id/4667827/angelos-thoughts-on-lovie-peppers-and-more
Jerry Angelo
I think he’s great. I wouldn’t take another defensive player in the league outside of him. He’s a great player. He has impacted our defense. He’s a guy you have to account for. He plays all three downs. Don’t let the sack numbers be the end result of how you measure this guy. He really, truly is a great player. He has been a great leader for us, too, and you can’t minimize the intangibles. I think a big part of why we’ve been playing good defense is intangibly, we’re very, very strong. I’ve got to say this: It starts with him.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02EFD8113DF932A3575BC0A9669D8B63
Michael Strahan
Q. Who do you think will break your record of 22.5 sacks in a season?A. DeMarcus Ware is amazing. Julius Peppers is amazing. They look like they can do it.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-02/sports/ct-spt-1202-d-line-bears-chicago—20111202_1_peppers-israel-idonije-sacks

"Guy is a monster," weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs said.

Offered Idonije: "He literally is throwing guys all over the place. I mean, throwing tackles, tight ends, it doesn’t matter who he’s lined up against. He has his way with those guys. It’s just incredible to watch."

It’s the kind of performance that doesn’t translate into stat sheets and doesn’t even get its proper due on a highlight show.

"The numbers don’t talk about what he did," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "It was the intensity of the game he played at, the speed. My God, the details of his pass rush. Forget the sacks already. Some of the rushes where the ball came out quick, they were some of the prettiest rushes you’d ever want to see. Just beautiful, the skill, the technique, the work habit, you know? He’s starting to really come right now. It ignites everybody else around him."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1023179/index.htm

Peppers was the best basketball player and among the best football players ever at Southern Nash, where he received so many recruiting letters that he was given his own mail slot in the school office. In basketball he finished his career with more than 1,600 points, 800 rebounds and 200 assists and was heavily recruited by Duke. In football Peppers rushed for 3,501 yards and 46 touchdowns at tailback and manhandled opponents as a defensive lineman. In his final game, when Northeast Guilford High ran a sweep away from Peppers, he chased down the running back, stole the ball from behind and raced 90 yards the other way for a touchdown.
As a senior, Peppers placed second in the triple jump at the state track meet, despite wearing spikes two sizes too small because size 18s couldn’t be found. Having watched Big Head swing a bat, Davis believes he could have been a baseball star as well. The coach still shakes his head in disbelief as he recalls a three-hour football practice on a scorching summer day before Peppers’s junior season, after which all the other Firebirds lay sprawled on the grass or huddled around the water spigot. Peppers strolled over to one end zone and began doing backflips the length of the field. No hands. For 100 yards. In full pads and helmet.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/peter_king/12/20/mmqb/index.html

Julius Peppers was Deacon Jones and Lawrence Taylor rolled into one dominant force for four quarters. It’s the best I’ve ever seen Peppers play. I don’t care what the stats said — one sack, three other quarterback hits, one tackle. Peppers was as dominant as a defensive lineman can be. Once, he fought through two blockers, forced Favre to throw a wasted incompletion, and wrapped him up legally and fell atop him, crushing him to the ground. If Favre wasn’t thinking, I came back at 40 for this?, when exactly would he ever question his decision to come back for another year?

Peppers’ dominance got Bryant McKinnie yanked from the game. (When’s the last time you saw a top-10 left tackle get pulled for performance, not being hurt? Ever? I don’t recall it.) It forced Brad Childress to put pedestrian Artis Hicks at left tackle, and to keep a back in to chip on Peppers when the game got desperate and the Vikings fell behind in the second half.

"Yeah,’’ Favre said, "we were up 7-6 at the time. No secret, I was getting hit a little bit. I felt the pressure on a lot of plays. We had seven points. So I think everyone in the building was like, ’They’re not moving the ball. They’re not getting points.’ Brad wanted to go in a different direction and I wanted to stay in the game. We were up 7-6. Yeah, it’s not 70-6, but we’re up 7-6.
I’m sure there’s plenty of blame to go around, and I’m not saying a quarterback should be so sacred that he should never get yanked from a game. But should a quarterback get yanked if he’s got pressure in his face on play after play? Only to protect him from injury?

Peppers > Ware

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/post/_/id/4678220/stock-watch-mcclellin-developing-quickly

3. Julius Peppers, DE: His performance against the Packers should erase any criticism about Peppers being overrated. He’s not; never has been. The Packers doubled and sometimes even triple-teamed Peppers. Yet the veteran still came away with two sacks, and freed up his teammates to combine for another three. If anything, Peppers is a tad underrated, especially as a run defender who is often tasked with the job of holding up blockers to allow the linebackers to make plays.

Somebody bring me some evidence that Ware has an impact like Julius Peppers does for his team.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/19397/the-true-impact-of-julius-peppers

But in the meantime, how can we fairly judge Peppers' performance? As we've noted several times, his presence has allowed the Bears to limit their blitz frequency and devote more players to coverage. The results has been remarkable. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bears have the NFL's best pass defense when rushing four or fewer men.

The second chart provides those details. The Bears have rushed four or fewer men on about 70 percent of opponents' dropbacks this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a 66.6 passer rating in those situations, the lowest in the league.

"I've been seeing [extra help] a lot, just as I have my whole career," Peppers said. "It's not anything new. So you know, I'm being patient, I'm working hard. The sacks and stuff will come. I'm not really concerned about sacks right now. I'm concerned about winning games and being disruptive. I think I'm doing a good job at that."

http://www.panthers.com/team/roster/...-45bd307bd462/

[Peppers] Helped Panthers boast only defensive unit since the NFL merger in 1970 to improve from last in the League in total defense to second in one season.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/peter_king/01/18/nfl-all-pro-team/index.html

Though Peppers had but eight sacks this year, he had a huge impact on a defense that went from 21st in the league in points allowed in 2009 to fourth this year; from 4.3 yards per rush last year to 3.7 this year; from 29 touchdown passes surrendered last year to 14 this year. He pushes the pocket. He buzzes around the quarterback. He makes other guys -- Israel Idonije, Tommie Harris -- better.
There's no question the return of Brian Urlacher at the pivot point of the defense has been a significant addition, but Peppers has been the most important reason the Bears have become the Monsters of the Midway again, and that's why he's my defensive player of the year.
I considered Clay Matthews long and hard for this award, and it was close. Midway through the season, Matthews was the guy. But then I saw Peppers beat a wounded Jake Long for two of his three sacks against the Dolphins, and saw how he pushed Bryant McKinnie around on the Monday nighter in Minnesota. He's the John Stockton of the Bears defense, the guy who makes everyone around him better.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ys-peppersbears011411

Peppers makes plays in spite of double teams and he empowers Smith’s Tampa 2-based defense to stick to its roots, relying on a four-man rush instead of counting on linebackers and defensive backs to blitz. According to Football Outsiders, the Bears rushed six or more defenders on 16.7 percent of passes in 2009, the third-highest rate in the league. They also sent only four players on 56.4 percent of pass plays (22nd). This season, though, the Bears have sent six or more defenders just 1.4 percent of plays (25th), and they relied on a four-man rush 72.2 percent of pass plays, the third-highest total in the league.

The Bears’ run defense was ranked second – its highest since the 2001 season – and it also allowed the third-fewest points (16.0).

Getting double- and triple-teamed is "just the way of life" for Peppers. He can’t remember the last game – if ever – someone counted on just an offensive tackle to handle him.

And although he didn’t get to 10 sacks, Peppers said he considers 2010 one of his best seasons.

"I don’t get concerned with that type of stuff,"

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1105560/index.htm

You could argue that Carolina's best big-play threat last season didn't line up at wide receiver or in the backfield. He was on the defensive line, in the form of 6'7", 290-pound end Julius Peppers. That's part commentary on the injuries that bedeviled the Panthers in 2004--they played most of the season without receiver Steve Smith andrunning backs Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster--but it also tells you something about Peppers's athleticism. Against Tampa Bay he returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown; against Atlanta he snatched a Michael Vick fumble out of midair with one hand and went 60 yards for a score; and against Denver he returned an interception 97 yards before being dragged down just short of the goal line. No other Carolina player had as many plays of at least 45 yards.

You could write that off as a case of Peppers's being in the right place at the right time; or, more accurately, you could say that Peppers, who also led Carolina in sacks (11) and forced fumbles (four), is redefining the defensive end position. "I'm always trying to be around the ball, and when it comes out, I'm ready to get it," says Peppers, who in an Aug. 20 preseason game against the Giants was up to his old tricks, sacking Eli Manning, picking up the ball and running 29 yards for a touchdown.

Here's another way that Peppers gets himself ready: When the Panthers do off-season running drills, he doesn't participate with his linemates. Rather, he runs his gassers with the defensive backs. No wonder the coaching staff doesn't hesitate to drop him into pass coverage. "He's a D-back in a D-tackle's body," says fellow lineman Mike Rucker. Defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac says Peppers's big-play abilities are related to his basketball skills. The second pick in the 2002 draft, Peppers played forward for two seasons at North Carolina; it's natural for him to go for the steal and head the other way.

"Everyone always makes the mistake of saying who is going to be the next this or the next that," says Panthers defensive tackle Brentson Buckner, a 12-year veteran. "Before you put a label on someone, saying he'll be the next Julius Peppers, do your homework. Those come along once in a lifetime."

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/every-play-counts/2006/every-play-counts-julius-peppers

Is Julius Peppers underrated? That might seem like a silly question because everyone who follows football knows that Peppers is a good player, a rare talent who has not only the typical strength of a defensive end but also the speed and athleticism of the power forward he once was. But watching Peppers on every play of the Carolina Panthers' 23-21 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, my jaw dropped at seeing not just a good or even very good player, but a defensive lineman doing things I didn't think a defensive lineman could do.


Every year Peppers was with the Panthers, they always won at least 7 games, the year he leaves they only won 2 games. Meanwhile Chicago missed the playoffs 3 straight seasons, Peppers comes to town and they make the NFC Championship game.

NFL awards and honors

NFL Rookie of the Month (10/02)
2002 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team (2002)
2004 NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year
2004 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
NFL 2000’s All Decade Team
100 Sacks Club
2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 NFC Pro Bowl
2004, 2006, 2010 All-Pro First Team
2008, 2009 All-Pro Second Team
Four time NFC Defensive Player of the Month (11/2004, 10/2006, 11/2010, 11/2011)
Four time NFC Defensive Player of the Week (11/13/06, 11/9/08, 11/1/09, 11/18/10)

Panthers franchise records


Most career sacks (81)
Most career forced fumbles (30)
Longest Interception return: 97 (vs. Denver Broncos 10/10/04)

NFL records and accomplishments

Most interception return yards by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 178 yds
Most interception return yards in a single season by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 143 yds
Longest interception return by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 97 yds
Most interception return yards in a single game by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 97 yds
Most combined interception and fumble return yards by a defensive lineman in a single season since NFL merger in 1970: 203 yds
Tied for second most interceptions by a defensive lineman in NFL history: 8
Tied for tenth most forced fumbles in NFL history: 36
Tied for twenty fourth most sacks in NFL history: 102.5
Second most blocked kicks in NFL history: 12

He also has 57 passes defensed which is a very large number for defensive lineman.

http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/videos/Bears-Confidential-Peppers/C6984A16-9B56-4A46-90FE-BBED74EF28A0 Julius Peppers interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlo2as4nwTM Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you, the most devastating, dominant, disruptive, defensive, player in the NFL, your very own, Julius Frazier Peppers.

Bear Down!

Come join in the discussion of this same topic in the Cowboys forum...

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/9/29/3430256/why-i-believe-julius-peppers-is-better-than-any-defensive-player-in

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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