Julius Peppers is one of the most physically imposing defensive ends in the NFL along with Mario Williams of the Houston Texans. Before Peppers was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2002 former Titans and Eagles Defensive End Jevon Kearse was the blueprint player for the position with his combination of size and speed. At 6’4” and 260 pounds he had the strength to overpower smaller left tackles and speed to rush around larger left tackles. Peppers came into the NFL being able to do what Kearse did and even more. At 6’7” and 280 pounds he wreaks havoc on defense. For his career Peppers has averaged a shade over 10 sacks per game. He had a career high of 14.5 sack just two years ago and is still in his prime at age 30. The Chicago Bears made a major push to sign Peppers and were fortunate enough to get their target free agent.
Peppers is very difficult to block man to man. He often gets double teamed which ends up helping teammates on the defensive line. The toughest defensive ends in the NFL to block one on one are Peppers, the aforementioned Mario Williams, and Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts. Many people believe that the addition of Peppers to the Bears will benefit defensive tackle Tommie Harris the most. This may be true but another area of the defense that will see good matchups to produce solid numbers is the linebacking unit, particularly Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. In week one against the Detroit Lions both linebackers combined for a total of 18 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Peppers already wreaked havoc on the Lions by sacking quarterback Matthew Stafford, forcing a fumble on the play, and injuring his right throwing shoulder. In week two both Briggs and Urlacher combined for 14 tackles against the excellent offense of the Dallas Cowboys in an upset victory. The Bears are 2-0 for the 2010 campaign and Peppers is a big reason. When offenses have to game plan for an elite player like Peppers it helps every one of his teammates.
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