Age of no concern to Bears' Peppers

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,303
    Likes Received:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +1,175 / 0 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    52ß
    As long as defensive end thinks he's getting better every day, he just goes about job as player most vital to defense

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    9:07 p.m. CDT, August 1, 2013

    BOURBONNAIS — Age may be just a number, but in the NFL it also is a warning sign.

    When players hit the wrong side of 30, they start to slow down as their bodies don't hold up as well to the rigors of a 16-game season. They're not as explosive as they were in their prime, a step late to make some plays that used to be routine.

    But Julius Peppers long has been called a freak of nature and now he's entering a stage of his career in which he will find out if he can continue to perform as one of the best ever to rush the quarterback, at least since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

    Peppers, 33, is entering the fourth year of the six-year contract he signed in 2010. He is 18th on the all-time sack list with 1111/2. Only five players ahead of him have produced multiple 10-sack seasons at 33 and beyond — Bruce Smith (four), Reggie White (three), Kevin Greene (four) and Chris Doleman (three) are the top four on the NFL's all-time list. The other one is 11th-ranked Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson (three).

    Peppers, who spoke for the first time in training camp after Thursday's practice, unequivocally said he doesn't feel himself aging.

    "Not at all," he said. "I'm serious, I don't. I feel like I'm 25. Age is real, but it's really in your heart and your mind how you feel. I feel young in those places and I think it's showing."

    You won't get an argument from the Bears' young-at-heart, 57-year-old coach Marc Trestman, who is dashing around the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University every day. He lights up talking about seeing Peppers chase down running backs from sideline to sideline during spring drills at Halas Hall, the kind of offseason action veterans often ease up on. He's not taking plays off in training camp and the plantar fasciitis that plagued him previously seems to be in the past.

    A healthy Peppers could be better than he was a year ago. A teammate described his level of focus in meetings as uncanny. He has been voted to the last three Pro Bowls with the Bears and eight overall.

    "It's so impressive, it's hard to describe," Trestman said. "The way he carries himself around the locker room through the meetings and certainly on the field. He's all over the field. He's first in line. We all want to grow up and be like Julius. Quite frankly, that's the kind of a man I think of him as."

    But Peppers knows there are questions about the aging defense with core players like himself, linebacker Lance Briggs (32) and cornerback Charles Tillman (32) battling Father Time.

    "These guys come out and work hard," Peppers said. "We all know what we're doing. We have the right mix of older guys and younger guys.

    "Once your body starts to (decline) physically, it's real. You have to put the work in. I'm doing that. I wouldn't say it's any harder, it's just what I am doing, doing the right things to get my recovery and working on the right things."

    The Bears need the 6-foot-7, 287-pounder to flourish to replicate the success of a year ago in a transition season. It's difficult to make a case that any defensive player is more important to the team's success. He doesn't just rush the passer — he had 111/2 sacks last season and has 301/2 as a Bear — he's a force against the run too, playing his role in the scheme.

    Peppers will make $13 million this season and it was an easy decision for the club to keep him with a salary cap number of $16.383 million. If he plays well, the Bears will have to think hard about paying him the $14 million he is due in 2014, when his cap number climbs to $17.183 million. Before you gulp, realize the Bears have an abundance of cap space for next season — more than $30 million — and that is counting Peppers.

    "I am going to worry about the present," Peppers said. "All of that is for after the season. Of course, I understand what we're talking about. Right now is not the time because all it is going to do is become a distraction."

    Right now, Peppers wants to keep his focus on improving.

    "Every day it's a process," he said. "You never get to the point where you feel like you're the best or you can't get any better. It's cliche, but it's real. That's just the maturation of a player. You come out and find something to get better at and do it until you can't do it anymore."

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...eppers-bears-chicago-20130802,0,3805504.story
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Papa_Bear_7

    Papa_Bear_7 Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    93
    Ratings:
    +109 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    35ß
    Love me some Peppers! The guy most definitely is a freak of nature and I'm glad he's on the Bears. None of our "old" defensive guys seem to be aging at all. Peppers is his usual dominant self while Tillman and Briggs actually seem to have gotten better over the last couple years. Not sure what drinking fountain they've been drinking out of, but I wish Urlacher had found it. :thumb:
  3. Papa_Bear_7

    Papa_Bear_7 Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    93
    Ratings:
    +109 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    35ß
    What the junk? Where's my thumbs up smiley? lol
  4. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    10,303
    Likes Received:
    1,120
    Ratings:
    +1,175 / 0 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    52ß
    I'd like to think Pep has at least 2 years left. Peanut and Briggs probably 3. As long as theres a decent D-line rotation and Pep has recovered more from the plantar I believe he'll continue to be a dominant force.
  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,411
    Likes Received:
    1,373
    Ratings:
    +1,718 / 3 / -2
    ßearz ßuckz:
    1,241ß
    Shorty I hope you're right and I hope that ol' Phelonious Phil has learned a little lesson this offseason about not parting ways with still productive defensive players before their time like (Iz cough....zy...cough, cough). Yeah this again, and it was a damn fool move that's beginning to show itself as why. :mad: Wootton is hurt again trying to play the utility role Izzy did and I think that's too much for a guy who's a bit prone to injuries. That kid could be another Peppers is he can just stay on the field.

    But I digress. :oops:

    Men reach their physical peak in their late 20s but that doesn't mean that 30 something year olds are washed up and over the hill as Pep, Peanut, and Briggsy are all proving. These guys are all huge contributors to the success of that defense and not as easily replaceable as some may think. I'll give in a little on the Urlacher thing and admit that after his knee injury (thank you for that again Major Wright) he was not the player he once was and IF his knee wasn't getting any better than maybe he never would be again and it was time for him to lay down his sword and pick up his gold clubs. But we'll never really know will we?

    Despite Peps soaring cap cost and the need to extend Peanuts deal at whatever a top NFL CB offering a hometown discount gets, AND still keeping Briggs around to help train guys like Greene and Bostic it needs to be done. Hell playing on a bad foot Pep still had an All Pro year and his very presence on the field make life easier for Melton, Wootton, McClellin and Paea. He's another guy with HOF written all over him and I believe the best all around RDE in the game even at his age. He keeps himself in top shape and barring a major injury there's no reason he can't play out his contract with the Bears as long as he's permitted to do it. Maybe they will need to do a little restructuring of his deal in order to accommodate other signings but Phil needs to put away the sharp pencil and use one that's duller than he did with Brian Urlacher. Pep shouldn't be "lowballed" if they do ask him for a concession or two.

    Initially I wasn't in favor of going after Pep because he had a rep for taking plays off when he was with Carolina. Boy was I wrong and I'm glad to admit it because whatever he was accused of while he was there I have never seen even once since he began playing for the Bears. He's another "warrior" who'll play hurt and straps up and plays 'til the whistle every play. So Phil the guy is under contract for another three year and albeit at a heavy price let's not mess with this too much huh? We really do need to keep him around because whatever McClellin or Wootton may become they still aren't Julius Peppers and they should be expected to be. He's a once in a decade type of DE and if we keep winning games we won't get a shot at anyone even close to him in the draft.
  6. Blue Horse-shoe

    Blue Horse-shoe Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +216 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    178ß
    I'd like to see him get into the 15-20 sack range . With his ability it should happen more often than it does - but he's still a great player.
  7. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    109
    Ratings:
    +109 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    Don't care what Peppers' cap number is in 2014. People are so obsessed with sack numbers and don't even realize the kind of attention Peppers gets each game from opposing teams. He is outstanding against the run and had an outstanding season in 2012. He is worth every penny they pay him. If Peppers plays at yet another high level in '13 they need to bring him back and look to cut the fat elsewhere. He's the only guy on this team that I can say gives us 100% every season. Best FA acquisition ever!
  8. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    109
    Ratings:
    +109 / 0 / -1
    ßearz ßuckz:
    That's never gonna happen when you get double teamed game after game and don't have a consistent pass rush from your LDE or even your DTs. For all the fanfare that Melton gets, he still isn't consistent game after game. And Paea has simply not lived up to his billing. And you can't get sack numbers like that when you play alongside inconsistent clackers, like Pep does.
  9. EmeryBored

    EmeryBored Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0
    ßearz ßuckz:
    I think he's immortal. ;)

Share This Page