NFL.com expert tabs Peppers as one of top pas
NFL.com expert tabs Peppers as one of top pass rushers
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 6/16/2011 11:42 AM
Ranking the league’s top pass rushers, NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan puts the Bears’ Julius Peppers in the top group along with four other players.
Last season Peppers was named All-Pro for the third time in his career. The first Bears defensive end to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Richard Dent in 1993, Peppers tied for the team lead with eight sacks. He also recorded 50 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
“Leaving Carolina for Chicago reminds me of when Reggie White left Philadelphia for Green Bay,” Kirwan writes. “A premier pass rusher like Peppers comes along once every five to 10 years.
“Peppers has 33 sacks and 13 forced fumbles in the last three years, but has played without the benefit of a solid rusher on the opposite side most of that time. In 2010, he led all defensive linemen with nine passes defended.”
Peppers was a key member of a Bears defense last season that tied for third in the NFL with 35 takeaways and ranked second in rushing yards allowed, third in opponent passer rating and sixth in third-down percentage.
“He’s unbelievable,” teammate Brian Urlacher said late last season. “In my mind, he’s defensive player of the year. There’s no one player in the NFL that affects the game on defense more than he does.
“You look at what he does; the schemes people have to do for him. He pretty much eliminates one side of the field. You have to double him. If you don’t double him, it’s a sack or you throw the ball quick. It makes our job easy. And then in the running game, he’s always in the backfield. He’s helped our whole defense.
“He’s been everything we thought he would be and more, and he practices every single day. He practices hard, he plays hard. I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy. He does a great job for us.”