Julius Peppers is making a minimal impact for the Green Bay Packers this season. That seems like a statement that isn’t debatable.
Unless you ask Julius Peppers.
Peppers insists he’s still the same player he’s always been.
“I don’t know what the perception is,” Peppers said. “I’m the same player that I’ve been.”
Of course, that isn’t true.
Peppers has largely been a part-time player for the Packers this season at 36 years old. His snap counts have been over 40 in just two games this season. They’ve typically been around 30 and have twice been under 20, including 19 last week.
When Peppers has been asked to play a major role, such as in week 8 and 9, when Clay Matthews was out, he has been a non-factor.
Peppers has just eight tackles and 3.5 sacks on the season. For the number of snaps, the sack total is decent. The tackles aren’t.
In fact, opposing offenses typically run right at Peppers when he’s on the field on running downs. And they should. At this point in his career, Peppers is a total liability against the run.
Frankly, the Packers shouldn’t even have him on the field in those situations.
Peppers is a proud guy, of course. He thinks this is still a work in progress.
“We still are trying to figure it out, in my opinion — how much to play, how much not to play, when to play and those type of things,” Peppers said. “Hopefully soon here, we’ll get it mapped out, and we’ll have it set to how we’re going to move forward.”
That’s actually fairly laughable.
We know how much and when Peppers should play — only on obvious passing downs, much like Dwight Freeney has been used late in his career. He’s really only played more than that out of necessity and it hasn’t worked.
The Packers need to use Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Datone Jones and even Jayrone Elliott on potential running downs.
Peppers is merely a situational player at this point. He was a great player once — he’s likely a Hall of Famer — but those days are gone.