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Julius Peppers Didn’t See Backup Role Coming

This is textbook Green Bay Packers. Outside linebacker Julius Peppers just hasn’t been paying attention.

As we’ve noted, Peppers barely played in week 1. Nick Perry starts opposite Clay Matthews and, it appears, Datone Jones is the first outside backer off the bench.

This, despite the Packers pretending all throughout training camp that Peppers was still No. 1 on the depth chart. We knew better. Julius didn’t.

And now it appears he’s not too happy.

“Look, this is what I’m doing: I’m playing the game plan the way that it’s written up and the way it’s presented in the meetings on Wednesday,” Peppers said. “Less opportunities is something that’s going to be an adjustment. It’s a long season. A very long season. I think we all are going to have to figure it out.

“Me, I’m going to have to make that adjustment and see how I fit into the role that I am being asked to play. I think the coaches upstairs are going to have to figure out the role that they want me to play – when they want to put me in, what’s enough, what’s not enough.”

Here’s the thing.

Peppers isn’t an every-down player anymore. He’s terrible against the run, although it’s possible he just doesn’t care (much like Clay Matthews).

Either way, he’s a liability in that part of game, whereas Perry excels.

Many of us have talked about the need to limit Peppers’ snaps throughout the offseason. At 36, we’d rather see a fresh Peppers make a couple plays a game as a situational player instead of giving up big gains and turning in the occasional play.

The Packers’ coaching staff would probably like to see that as well.

However, typical of Mike McCarthy’s regime, no one bothered to tell Peppers. They just ignored the elephant in the room and didn’t play him much in week 1.

Surprise, Julie!

Why be up front with a guy when he’ll find out eventually anyway?

Look, this is the best plan for the Packers, but we have zero respect for the cowards who couldn’t tell the player involved the plan to begin with. We’re not talking about an undrafted rookie, either. We’re talking about a future Hall of Famer.

Not even those guys get respect from Mike McCarthy.

Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.



  1. Empacador September 16, 2016

    I’m calling bullshit on this. From an article on ESPN today as well:

    “Peppers, 36, arrived at training camp knowing that the coaches intended to reduce his playing time this season – he said they’d had an “open dialogue” about the idea since he signed with the team in March 2014 – and understanding that giving some of his snaps on early downs to Nick Perry and Datone Jones would save him the wear-and-tear of defending the run so much.”

    He does believe he could handle more than the 29 snaps he played against the Jaguars – just 40 percent of the Packers’ 72 overall defensive snaps – and when asked Thursday if that number had been acceptable to him, Peppers again smiled and contemplated his words before answering.

    “Look, this is what I’m doing: I’m playing the game plan the way that it’s written up and the way it’s presented in the meetings on Wednesday. Less opportunities is something that’s going to be an adjustment,” Peppers said. “It’s a long season. A very long season. We all are going to have to figure it out.

    “Me, I’m going to have to make that adjustment and see how I fit into the role that I am being asked to play. I think the coaches upstairs are going to have to figure out the role that they want me to play – when they want to put me in, what’s enough, what’s not enough. It’s an adjustment period we’re going through right now. We’ll figure it out.”

    Now maybe Peppers is a bit surprised at how quickly they reduced his playing time, but reading that entire text changes the context a bit. It might be early onset Alzheimer’s for Peppers. Although when they decided to jettison Woodson, they didn’t even bother to ask Charles to take a pay cut. Like that wasn’t even an option. Ask yourself this question with regard to where each player is at within their respective career arc: Could the Packers have used Woodson more in 2013 or Peppers more in 2016?

    Forget the speculation of whether Sitton was becoming a locker room cancer or not. Why is Peppers worth whatever they are paying him for limited production, yet guys still producing like Woodson and Sitton were shown the door? The Packers conduct themselves in less than flattering ways sometimes as of late. Whatever horse shit narrative they expect people to believe at the time is how they conduct themselves. “Listen to what we say, nevermind how we conduct ourselves.”

    1. Chad Lundberg September 16, 2016

      Thank you.

  2. PF4L September 16, 2016

    We know that the Packers decision makers make a hot mess here and there, no one denies that, that’s what we hate about them, besides the arrogance and God complex they show.

    As far as Woodson, lets get over it already, He was slated to make close to 10 million. when Ted decides to move on, he moves on. He shouldn’t have got rid of Cullen Jenkins, but we got passed it.

    As far as Peppers, he has a 10.5 million dollar cap #. His salary and 2 small bonus’s will pay him 8 million this year. So, i look at it like this, whether Peppers starts, or doesn’t start, he has to perform. I’m looking for 8-10 sacks, maybe 2 FF’s, a interception would be nice, for 8 million. If he doesn’t have enough left in the tank to get those numbers, the Packers should have let him go and saved the 8 mill.

    I would have rather of kept Sitton, kept the starting 0 line in tact, and also kept the same depth. Getting rid of Sitton is NOT good for us this year. The bottom line to me, is that Sitton is more valuable than Peppers. If they wanted to reduce Peppers effectiveness with decreased playing time, they should have just cut him instead, and saved more money than cutting Sitton.

    1. Empacador September 16, 2016

      I’m over Woodson, simply making the comparison. Is Peppers bringing to the table worth what they are paying him for a reduced role? A cool million per sack seems awfully high. Since they cut Sitton to save all this cash, why not start the purge early? Sitton and Peppers means they could have signed a couple more free agents to be. This is a weird dynamic so far this season.

  3. Killer September 16, 2016

    Here is what I think is going on behind he scenes. I cannot prove it but it makes sense.

    Peppers last year played like a 28 year old. Due to PEDs Now, with the investigation and media attention and nearly at the end of his career I think he decided to stop the PEDs to preserve his legacy as well as he can. The extra year or two and the extra 6 or 9 sacks were not worth it to him even though the risk of being caught using PEDs is slim to none.

    Clay Matthews is in a different situation. Instead of quitting the PEDs to protect his reputation he almost has to keep taking them… to protect his legacy. All of his success is due to PEDs. He started taking them at age 17 at 165 lb. and ballooned to 246 by age 23. Seriously, even Arnold Schwarzenegger could not gain that sort of muscle in that time span — and he, by the way, also used performance enhancers and still could not do it! He could not get playing time on his father’s high school team. PEDs changed all that. Without them he could not maintain his balloon of muscle (or his speed) and his performance would be reduced ridiculously. It would end his career and make his previous PED use obvious.

    The only way for Clay to hide his PED use is by continuing to use PEDs. Very ironic.

    Anyway, I’m sure “the Packers” (TT and MM) have figured this out. Thus Clay starts and Julius has reduced playing time.

    P.S. If the NFL ever switches to legit, not pretend, PED testing, Clay’s career is over.

    1. Howard September 16, 2016

      Correct you cannot prove anything about Matthews. Until you can why don’t you refrain from the continued slanderous statements. Clay’s height, weight, and quality of play is passed on from his great grandfather, his grandfather, and his dad. It is in his blood line. Look at it. There is your proof. Case closed. No proof from the prosecutor. In fact the prosecutor should be disbarred for bringing forth such a frivolous, and slanderous case.

      1. Killer September 17, 2016

        That’s the thing, Howard, with the way the NFL and NFLPA has it set up there almost can’t be proof. Let Clay’s lawyers worry about slander.

        I’ve heard your genetics argument before. Height, weight, and quality of play are not purely a function of great grandfather, grandfather, and dad. It also involves great grandmother, grandmother, and mom. Also, look at Clay’s brother. Same lineage but, did he gain 81 pounds of muscle in 6 years (including 60 pounds in just 3 of those years from 17-20)? No, he did not. Genetics does not explain that. PEDs does logically explain it.

        It is funny because you say I can’t prove anything (true) but then claim genetics is proof and that the case is closed. You are saying I cannot prove guilt while also saying you HAVE proved innocence. Just not true Mr. Double-Standard.

        Common sense dictates PED usage by Clay is much much MUCH more likely than not. That is all we can say for certain.

        1. Killer September 17, 2016

          One further point, Howard.

          When you say that the great grandfather, grandfather, and dad of Clay is “proof. Case closed.” that Clay has not taken PEDs what does that mean? If that alone is “proof” then you are saying it is logically absolutely impossible for anyone with Clay’s lineage to take PEDs. They cannot physically do it. It is not possible. How much sense does that make?

          If someone gains 60 pounds f muscle in 3 years I think you would agree PEDs should be strongly suspected. But not if they are a Matthews or, more accurately, a Packer. If this was a Vikings player I’d be quite certain they were on PEDs. So would you, I’m sure.

          1. Howard September 17, 2016

            Anyone can take PEDs. Prove that they did before you make claims that are slanderous. Did you go to Packer sites and express outrage that the Viking Williams tackle tandem was caught taking masking agents for PEDs. Probably not Mr. Double-Standard. If Matthews was tested for masking agents you may have me agreeing. You do not even have that. You have nothing. Look at the bloodline.

          2. PF4L September 17, 2016

            I don’t get how killer has the time to follow the Packers like he does. Subconsciously he must be a Packer fan or i guess he just likes looking at teenage boy football players.

            You’d think as a Viking fan he’d be too busy counting Divisional Championships, than studying the young body’s of Packer players in their teens.. Which i don’t mind saying, seems more than a little disturbing…..Yea, someone had to say it.

  4. Kato September 17, 2016

    The difference between Woodson and Peppers are large. I loved Woodson, still do, but his cap hit of $10 million in 2013 was a lot bigger as a percentage of the team payroll than peppers is this year. Not to mention Chuck played safety, an important position, yes, given how much the packers safety play struggled in 2013. Part of that was big Ted overestimating Jerron McMillans abilities. But in today’s NFL, pass rusher is one of the most valuable positions on the team. Why do you think JJ Watt and Von Miller make nearly as much as the elite qbs? Last time I checked, safeties don’t make $20 million. The only reason the Packers kept Peppers at his salary with the depth at that postion group is because a defense can never have too many proven pass rushers. Watch some Seahawks and Broncos games. The pass rush predicates everything that defense does. The defensive backs are good, but the pass rush makes them look better.

    1. Empacador September 17, 2016

      The salary cap difference between now and 2013 is one aspect I did overlook. You are correct, they have about $32 million more today than they did in 2013. I would say it is a stretch saying Peppers is anything but a former shell of himself as a pass rusher now. How do the young guys ever develop when they can’t get into the flow of the game? I know PF4L would like to see 10 sacks, although I think that may be wishful thinking. We shall see.

      You are correct about over estimating Jerron McMillian as well. My question is why do they continue to overestimate Demetri Goodson? You know when his suspension is up, someone is getting cut to make room for him. Otherwise why didn’t they cut him outright after camp?

      1. PF4L September 17, 2016

        Still woulda kept Sitton and cut Peppers for reasons i outlined above. Peppers looked like an old man against the Jags. We’ll see what happens.

        1. Empacador September 17, 2016

          I couldn’t agree more.