Considering what Julius Peppers did during his debut season, is it any wonder why the Green Bay Packers were comfortable with his salary-cap charge soaring from $3.5 million to $12 million for the upcoming season?
Only J.J. Watt was involved in more “turnover” plays last season — defined as an interception, forced fumble or fumble recovery. Those are the kind of plays that win football games.
“I didn’t know (what was going to happen) last year coming in, but he had a big impact,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He was by far the best guy we’ve had come in and play on the other side (of Clay Matthews) since we’ve been here. We moved him around, he’s smart, certainly didn’t play like a 34-year-old guy. He still has great flexibility and he’s a rare athlete for a guy that size. You guys hear me say all the time that you’re looking for guys that are difference-makers, you’ll make 1-2-3 plays a game.”
Peppers forced four fumbles, recovered three and intercepted two passes for a total of nine. Watt led the league with 10. It also was the third-highest total by a Packers defender since Mike McCarthy took over as coach in 2006.
NFL Leaders: 2014
Packers Leaders: 2006-2014