Peppers Prominence Presumedly on Playoffs

Julius Peppers signed with the Bears in the spring of 2010 to a lucrative contract that made him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. With his promising athleticism, freak-of-nature speed and size, Peppers was given $20 million right off the bat. But in his first season with Chicago he produced a mere 8 sacks, well below double-digit expectations. Peppers subsequently returned to form in the form in each of the last two seasons, but with the playoffs around the corner his lvalue for the Bears hangs in the balance.

During Chicago’s run in the 2011 playoffs Peppers was a non-factor as he was only visible for 4 tackles in the 2 games Chicago played that January. This time around it is of utmost importance for him to get to the quarterback to cause those rushed throws. Most importantly, he has to bring the double team; this year that has been the case, and while he’s getting paid the least amount of money out of his 6-year deal this season ($8.9 Million) he has had his most production as a Bear with still one game to go. Peppers enters the game on Sunday against the Lions with 11.5 Sacks, and while he probably won’t reach his career high of 14.5 back in 2008 his year has been stellar nevertheless. The most important thing for Chicago is to continue the momentum generated from last weeks dominant performance.

The road Chicago could be faced with given that everything turns out in their favor could be extremely fortunate. Peppers has played in big games before and has a lot of postseason experience, but it seems as though the stud rush end has yet to have that marquee January that has put him at the top of the list in terms of defensive stars. Now would a great time for this to be the case. The Bears will be on the road for every game this January but that doesn’t mean they can’t make noise. Peppers has just 2 sacks in 10 postseason games which shows he has yet to star on the biggest stage, but that could change in a matter of a couple of weeks. Also if Peppers is able to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines that frees up players like Melton, McClellin, and Idonije to really be effective.

It all starts with the star end and his play could be the determining factor as to how far Chicago’s season lasts.