So Julius Peppers Doesn’t Play Hard All the Time

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Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers

Yes, we’re still excited that the Green Bay Packers signed free agent Julius Peppers. And we knew this beforehand.

Peppers is notorious for not playing hard all the time. He was notorious for it when he left Carolina and signed with the Bears. He’s still notorious for it now that he’s left the Bears and signed with the Packers.

Now, let’s be honest. It’s pretty much impossible to go balls out for every play of an NFL game and not kill yourself. So, you could in fact say no one plays hard all the time. But that hasn’t stopped people from labeling Peppers as a loafer.

Kind of like that POS Albert Haynesworth. All the talent in the world. Too lazy to use it. On a side note, B.J. Raji is starting to inch closer and closer to Haynesworth territory, but that’s a story for another time.

Peppers is undeniably talented. Always has been. The kind of guy you expect to flat out dominate a game. And when he doesn’t do that, well, his effort gets called into question.

All of the Chicago media types and fans have been quick to point to this perceived lack of effort since Peppers signed with the Packers. In fact, CSN’s John Mullin suggests there were people in the Bears organization that didn’t think Peppers was trying either.

What the Bears desperately needed from Peppers was a max-effort every single week to carry a defense that was reeling for virtually the entire second half of the season. They didn’t get it. It simply wasn’t there — for whatever reason, or reasons — and suddenly, like it or not, Peppers had gone from a linchpin of a defense to a player not to be counted on every week. A paragon of consistency was all of a sudden precisely the opposite.

The suggestion here is the Bears couldn’t count on Peppers. We’d suggest maybe he didn’t play hard all the time because he played for the Bears and knew those clowns weren’t going anywhere.

Not that that’s an excuse. They paid him handsomely and you’d think the guy would have enough pride to show up every week.

The question is whether Peppers will show up to ball with the Packers because no one gives a shit about what happened with the Bears. We say he will, at least most of the time.

Unlike in Chicago, Peppers isn’t going to be asked to carry the Packers defense. He’s going to play second fiddle to Clay Matthews, at least when Matthews isn’t nursing a hamstring injury. Because of that, Peppers isn’t going to see as many double teams. He’s also probably going to be a rotational player rather than an every-down guy, which means he’ll be fresher as the game goes on.

Peppers picked a great situation for himself. He’ll be put in a position to make enough plays this season. If he doesn’t do anything in these opportune conditions, then we’ll question his effort.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

5 Comments on "So Julius Peppers Doesn’t Play Hard All the Time"

  1. the real russ letlow

    dude looked like he played well against us. I didn’t check the stats but I certainly remember an interception vs Wallace and a strip sack vs Rodgers. It isn’t his fault the rest of his crappy team was too dumb to pick up the loose ball. We did, scored and, you know, won the game. Oh, and except for a great block by Kuhn, Peppers almost ended our 2013 season.

  2. CO Bob

    You can’t play “hard” all the time unless you drug your opponent with shots mixed with Ambien….

  3. Shawn Iltarion

    Monty hits the nail right on the head here.

    I totally get where the Bear fans are coming from. Peppers was paid to be the Bears best defensive player. He was in decline, and the defense was terrible. Understandable that they wouldn’t be heartbroken to see him gone now.

    However, that doesn’t mean Packer fans shouldn’t be pumped to get him. He does not have to be the Packers’ best defensive player. In fact, he doesn’t even have to be the Packers 2nd or 3rd best defensive player.

    If Peppers can get 7.5 sacks for the Packers, that would be a HUGE addition to a defense that already has a couple guys that can get to the QB.

    Reggie White was on the decline when the Packers got him. He was still a dominant defensive player, at times, the first couple years we had him, but by the time we were going to the Super Bowl, he was no longer a play hard every down player either. What he COULD do was make a big play for you, a key sack, in the fourth quarter when you had to have one.

    If Peppers can just do that, then he can be a big factor for the Packers next season.

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