Julius’ Peppers’ tenure with the Chicago Bears came to an abrupt yet expected end following the 2013 season. The perennial Pro Bowl defensive end never missed a game during his four seasons in Chicago, while also racking up 38 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Now, Peppers has shed his Bears uniform for the green and yellow of the Green Bay Packers. He’s also changed his defensive position and his entire outlook on football.
“It’s not necessarily about ‘What are they going to do to us?’” Peppers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of opposing offenses. “It’s ‘What are we going to do to them and how are they going to respond?’ I think it’s the perfect fit (in Green Bay), being able to do what I want to do, play with the guys that I want to play with. And just be on a team that has a real chance at winning.”
Outside of Peppers, the Packers remained characteristically quiet in free agency this offseason. They did, however, re-sign a few key members of the defense, including nose tackle B.J. Raji — who has since been lost for the season due to a biceps injury — and defensive end Mike Daniels, who the Bears targeted at one point. Peppers though is undoubtedly one of the biggest free agent acquisitions that General Manager Ted Thompson has made during his tenure in Green Bay, and he may be hoping for another home run similar to his signing of Charles Woodson in 2006. The Packers desperately need Peppers to return to his former self in order to help a defensive unit that finished near the bottom of the league in total yards and points allowed in 2013.
It’s no secret that outside linebacker Clay Matthews has been the heart and soul of an otherwise underwhelming defensive unit the past several seasons. Under defensive coordinator Dom Capers, the Packers’ defense has relied heavily on creating turnovers but struggled to keep opponents’ points off the scoreboard. Now, with Peppers in tow, the Packers hope that the combination of he and Matthews will wreak havoc on offenses and help Green Bay reach the Super Bowl.