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Julius Peppers finally gets his wish to play in a 3-4

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

When Julius Peppers was trying to wriggle his way out of Carolina last decade, one of the reasons his camp kept citing was his desire to play in a 3-4 defense.

He’s finally going to get his chance, though it might be different than it would have been in 2008 or 2009.

With the 34-year-old Peppers signing a three-year deal with the Packers this morning, he’s going to get a chance to play multiple roles for the Packers.

With the team intent on improving things on that side of the ball, they’re asking coordinator Dom Capers to adjust. One move was bringing B.J. Raji back to play over the nose instead of as a defensive end, and Peppers gives them a different type of end to play in their base defense.

He’s still a long and fluid athlete who was better against the run than given credit for, who should be able to make plays with his hand on the ground.

But he’s also still enough of a pass-rusher that they’d be foolish to not let him stand up opposite Clay Matthews in certain situations as well.

He’ll get to work with a familiar face in line coach Mike Trgovac (who was his line coach for a year and defensive coordinator in Carolina). But perhaps the shame is that Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene left the staff this offseason.

While some question Peppers’ motivation (primarily because of his enormous physical gifts), he also has a respect for the history of the game, and working with an all-time pass-rusher like Greene (who could motivate a tree stump into a sack) would have been fascinating.

It’s still an interesting experiment, and out of character for the Packers. Though they brought Charles Woodson in in 2006, he was five years younger than Peppers is now. But Peppers is still a unique athlete, who will give the Packers plenty of options.

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60 Responses to “Julius Peppers finally gets his wish to play in a 3-4”
  1. reesesteel23 says: Mar 15, 2014 10:17 AM

    Adrian Peterson vs. Packer in the 2 games in 2014?

    500 rush yards. 6 touchdowns

  2. tokyosandblaster says: Mar 15, 2014 10:18 AM

    I guess we will see. He’s better than any Vikings defender, even at his age, so at least there’s that.

  3. doctorrustbelt says: Mar 15, 2014 10:21 AM

    “Enormous physical gifts”

    TRANSLATION: Plain brown package that arrives every off-season at julius pepper’s friend’s house with bogus return address

  4. thevikesarebest says: Mar 15, 2014 10:23 AM

    He must’ve wished he played for laughable classless pathetic franchise aswell.#farvewillalwaysberemmeberedaviking.SKOL

  5. tb12eatitbitches says: Mar 15, 2014 10:24 AM

    He’s done.

  6. opietaylor says: Mar 15, 2014 10:31 AM

    Should have been the greatest of all time. Way too lazy. Just doesn’t work hard. He will play hard against the Bears and that’s it. Bad signing

  7. gustavejfrerotte says: Mar 15, 2014 10:35 AM

    “500 rush yards. 6 touchdowns”

    Zero SuperBowls…

  8. bobnelsonjr says: Mar 15, 2014 10:36 AM

    Peppers performed well last season and there is no indication he won’t perform for the next couple of years.

    There are some young defensive players drafted in high rounds that will either perform or be replaced in those couple of years.

    Peppers is a good insurance policy in case those young players turn out to be busts.

    If they aren’t busts, having Peppers in a deep rotation will extend his career and provide extra quality downs vital to playoff success.

  9. teal379 says: Mar 15, 2014 10:37 AM

    Anyone who says Allen would be better in GB over JP has just told all of us what their football IQ is.

    JP will be fine. He’ll be situational so he’s fresh and motivated. It’s not a horrible contract. GB is RARELY if EVER in cap hell (which is why 1/2 the FA’s out there are available to begin with) so I don’t care about the money.

    Last 2 years in Chicago were down, sure but he’s also the number one threat on that D over the last 2 years and got all the attention. Won’t happen in GB.

    Put him and Clay on the same side – what T/G combo wants to see that? Considering you might have Jones/Perry coming from the other and Raji in the guy (should GB keep him at NT like a sane man would).

    What happens if Mosley comes to GB at 21? Or they get the safety they want? That defense is immediately championship quality.

    Remember Hayward’s coming back, Shields is back, Traemon’s played better (last 1/2 of the year was some of his best). Got rid of the bum MD Jennings. (keep crowing about getting him Bears – he was the worst safety on a team that had the 2 worst in the league)

  10. gtodriver says: Mar 15, 2014 10:37 AM

    Someone send an ambulance to TT’s house!!!

    A three year contract to a 34 year old FA, by TT???

    It will be interesting to see how this contract is put together. I think there is a signing bonus that is being prorated over 3 years.

  11. realnflmaster says: Mar 15, 2014 10:40 AM

    Not good enough to be a JET

  12. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Mar 15, 2014 10:42 AM

    Favre will always be remembered as a Viking? Laughable. It took a Packers legend to make the Vikings relevant. I’m a little surprised your vocabulary includes “remembered.”

  13. Little Earthquake says: Mar 15, 2014 10:43 AM

    Salary cap hit of $3.5 million this year. Better than the king’s ransom Elway just handed out for Ware.

  14. pkrlvr says: Mar 15, 2014 10:43 AM

    I love this pick up! Love the viking trash talk. How hilarious and unaware their fans are….like you’ve won anything in the last 30 years.

  15. hurricanegrabowski says: Mar 15, 2014 10:43 AM

    Peppers signed with the Pack? Now the Bears know which side to run towards. He can still rush the passer some, but he just doesn’t care about the other parts of the game at this point in his career. Being a situational end or rusher will suit him, but usually you don’t pay those guys 8 or 9 mill.

  16. gbmickey says: Mar 15, 2014 10:45 AM

    And with all that money nobody wants to come to the queens.

  17. golforepar says: Mar 15, 2014 10:57 AM

    ….like you’ve won anything in the last 30 years

    Why be so nice? It’s been 50 years

  18. mypercyhurts2 says: Mar 15, 2014 11:01 AM

    Well, MM said they would be getting creative on defense next year. Rumor mill says some sort of hybrid D. Considering this is probably the mad scientist Dom Capers’ last shot, I am very curious about what they plan to roll out. With Peppers’ versatility and a D filled with players capable of playing a 3-4 or a 4-3, this could get quite interesting indeed.

  19. cooperlab says: Mar 15, 2014 11:04 AM

    “If you can’t beat them (Packers), You might as well join them”
    -Julius Peppers 3/15/14

    In the last 4 years since arriving from Charlotte to Chicago, Peppers and the Bears are 2-7 vs Green Bay.

    GO PACK GO

  20. deflateddome says: Mar 15, 2014 11:20 AM

    The creaks and cracks from Aaron Rodgers knees are getting quite uncomfortable from carrying this team year after year…

    The Packers should have spent the money on Wilfolk and sent the stiff Raji walking instead…at least one position on that defense would have been NFL ready…

  21. axespray says: Mar 15, 2014 11:32 AM

    As long as we’ve got some cap room to re-sign/extend Bulaga, Cobb, and Nelson this year.

  22. thesmartestmanever says: Mar 15, 2014 11:34 AM

    smart move. GB is thinking how to stop the offenses outside of their division.

  23. rgledz says: Mar 15, 2014 11:48 AM

    Amazing signing, a terrible defense just got even older. Congrats.

  24. osiris33 says: Mar 15, 2014 11:54 AM

    Nothing left in that tank.

  25. dooley644 says: Mar 15, 2014 11:57 AM

    Absolutely hilarious watching Bears fans trash a guy they defended to the death a week ago. He signs with GB and is suddenly the oldest, slowest player in the NFL. Enjoy looking up at the Packers again.

  26. deflateddome says: Mar 15, 2014 12:15 PM

    Yep..Like mickey says…No one wants to come to the Queens…

    Linval Joseph…meet the starting UDFA center for the Packers…

  27. tangysizzl says: Mar 15, 2014 12:25 PM

    Welcome to GB Julius.

    Next up, Devin Hester.

  28. shaggytoodle says: Mar 15, 2014 12:27 PM

    Peppers has had double digit sacks in 8 different seasons.

    The Packers are giving pretty good money for a guy who has done, and has had a great career and can ask for more $, because of it.

    I believe Peppers is the kind of guy that can play a while at least one more good season, especially with some better pieces he had around him in Chicago this previous season.

  29. aldante66 says: Mar 15, 2014 12:33 PM

    30 mil to a 34 year old. Tom Brady yes, Defensive Linemen no.

    This does confirm the fact the Pack don’t think Datone J will amount to the pass rusher he was supposed to be as a number one pick. I also see Jerrel Worthy not making away from by bust pick.

    Actually I have three guys on this team who I refer to as the Three Bustkateers: Worthy, Jones and Perry. Until either of them show me they can play, they stay there.

  30. skins1970 says: Mar 15, 2014 12:42 PM

    When did Vinny Cerrato get hired by Green Bay? That is crazy money for a 34 year old.

  31. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Mar 15, 2014 12:47 PM

    I see Ted Thompson got bullied into a desperation move.

  32. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Mar 15, 2014 12:48 PM

    What’s the matter? Couldn’t get Jared Allen?

  33. deflateddome says: Mar 15, 2014 12:54 PM

    What a move…Did Dan Snyder buy the Packers? I thought I saw a picture of him with a pallet full of Packers Stock on the localGreen Bay news…

  34. banlarson says: Mar 15, 2014 12:58 PM

    Pretty clear there are two kinds of Packer fans. Those that live in reality and question a move to sign a 34 year old DE in hopes he can stand up and play in a 3-4, and those that think he’ll be some kind of savior who makes GB a “championship defense”. So outside of paying Shields $12.5 million this year to continue to play on the team, TT’s big FA move was paying $8.5 mil this year to a washed up player with a big name. Good luck with that, we all know what kind of team this is without Rogers (sub-.500); adding Peppers somehow pushes this team over the top….I guess. Reality check?

  35. trapshoot says: Mar 15, 2014 1:04 PM

    Should be a good move. He’s got a few good years left and any things an improvement for Green Bay.

  36. motionaway says: Mar 15, 2014 1:06 PM

    I can see it now: Jay Cutler sandwich between Peppers and Matthews. What goes around comes around.

  37. rbax1010 says: Mar 15, 2014 1:24 PM

    Say what you will about age/money/etc., it is about spreading the offensive scheme as thinly as we can. When a offensive coordinator can nullify an entire D-Line by doubling one guy (Raji), that’s a problem. Offensive coordinator now has to be mindful of AT LEAST TWO stud pass rushers (even if Peppers is hybrid, you know Matthews or Peppers is coming in hot every play) every play. Have to respect Matthews&Peppers&Raji&Neal every single play. Brad Jones is looking promising too.

    All that on top of one of the deepest drafts in years with a guy like TT who is masterful at getting talent in late rounds? Very promising. Skeptics have to give credit where credit is due, and as long as A-Rod is at QB we are a championship contender.

  38. deflateddome says: Mar 15, 2014 1:27 PM

    I can see it now too…..Forte runs past both of them in Kap style…

  39. furny47 says: Mar 15, 2014 1:29 PM

    It’s not a bad move for anyone. The Bears were able to sign two DE’s who are in their prime which made an aging and mostly ineffective Peppers expendable. I love Peppers, but he’s on the downside of his career and his production is in steep decline.

    That said, Peppers instantly becomes the best defensive player on the woeful Packers defense. You can’t argue with TT for signing him, even at 34 years old and a shell of his former self, Julius Peppers is a man among boys in Green Bay.

  40. 13x Offseason World Champions says: Mar 15, 2014 1:30 PM

    Will produce more than everson griffen. At a fraction of the price.

  41. 1harrypairatesties says: Mar 15, 2014 1:30 PM

    Way to go Phil Emery you idiot! Letting Peppers go to save some cash just gave the Packers another weapon to kick our asses. Bears D was horrible last year & you are killing it even more. I bet Packers fans are already tailgating.

  42. lambeauandlombardi says: Mar 15, 2014 1:37 PM

    It is nothing short of comedy to read comments from fans of the team from Minnesota. Their team has known nothing but futility for over 50 years, yet these fans continue to think that their team is relevant and therefore their comments are relevant. This is a team that has won absolutely NOTHING. An NFL championship after the 1969 season where you lose the Superbowl later on means NOTHING. They weren`t the champions of anything.
    The best analogy of Viking`s fans would be this. Picture a pack of big dogs running down the road being followed by a yipping lapdog. One of the big dogs gets a belly full of the yipper and turns and takes a bite out of him. No more yipping lapdog to listen to. So Viking`s fans, leave the talk about the NFL to the adults and enjoy another 50 years of futility. If the NFL ever decides to contract back to fewer teams, like MLB was thinking of doing, the Vikings will be the first to go.

  43. nickinneohio says: Mar 15, 2014 1:41 PM

    Peppers picks the Pack that picked up Peppers!

  44. bearshaterseverywhere says: Mar 15, 2014 1:51 PM

    Packers fans in 2010: Peppers is washed up and worthless

    Packers fans now: OMG WE’RE THE BEST DEFENSE EVER!

  45. 4ever85 (aka Butch DeadLift) says: Mar 15, 2014 1:54 PM

    Pepp’s effectiveness will depend on how the Pack use him.

    If they play him a lot, he’ll give you two games.

    In two-games he’ll look like the old Pepp, make plays, and the announcers will talk about how he chased down Vick 8 years ago.

    Then, he’ll disappear for about a month.

    If the Pack keep him fresh, well, who knows? But it seems like a lot of money to find out.

    He’s also going to have to learn an entirely new system. I don’t see a 34 yr old 6’6 285 with plantar fasciates exactly screaming off the edges/covering as an OLB.

    He could be a 3-4 end, but don’t they primarily take on blocks? (Pls don’t make the Watt comparison. Pepp is NOT Watt). That’s a lot of dough for an old run-stuffer.

    If the Pack decide to run more 4-3, that’s where Pepp will be more effective, but won’t that mean Matthews will have to cover more? (Unless they blitz him).

    This is a very curious signing. Between this signing and Shields getting highway robbery, maybe it’s good the Pack tend to sit on the sidelines during FA.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  46. wafflestomp says: Mar 15, 2014 2:33 PM

    I can’t wait till the season starts to shut up these clueless Viking fans once again.

    But then again, it will be all about how the refs screwed them over, once again.

    Viking fans, always the kings of the offseason. And then real football sets in.
    You idiots are hilarious though. Thanks for the laughs.

    Know nothing fans for a do nothing team.

  47. aa1829 says: Mar 15, 2014 2:38 PM

    How unTT like. Don’t know what he has left, or how motivated he is, but he has a chance to improve the Packers defense if he has a mind to. At least we are doing something positive. Now JP, prove everyone wrong before we cut you next year.

  48. thevza says: Mar 15, 2014 3:09 PM

    Peppers sealed his fate in Chicago during that Week 17 game last year against the Packers: 4th down, game on the line, inside move with nothing between him and Rodgers, then what happens? He gets destroyed by John Kuhn. Touchdown on the play. Game over. Packers to playoffs, Bears go home.
    He’s just simply not worth big money anymore. But he had a great career. Had.

  49. cags777 says: Mar 15, 2014 3:13 PM

    It was a wise move for the Packers to do this – even if they get him for one good year. That being said, Packers fans can no longer trash other teams in the NFC North for poaching players from divisional teams. That would be like Newt Gingrich preaching about morality and personal responsibility.

  50. stellarperformance says: Mar 15, 2014 3:15 PM

    Jared Allen?? I would take Peppers hands down before Allen…..even if he were 40.

  51. deltaoracle says: Mar 15, 2014 4:00 PM

    Ted Thompson went crazy and signed an old guy who no one else wanted anyway to a huge contract.

    That was Charles Woodson 7 or 8 years ago.

    If this one works out 90% as well as that one did, I’ll be very happy.

  52. deltaoracle says: Mar 15, 2014 4:27 PM

    A couple of points that should be made, even though the trolls won’t pay attention:
    The Packers are not an “old” defense. As a matter of fact some of the veterans like Tramon Williams said that they needed to have more veteran players to help out all the young guys.

    This is essentially a one year deal which the Packers can extend if they want to.

    Most importantly, the days of opposing QBs having seven or eight seconds to stand in the pocket waiting for someone to break free appear to be at an end.

  53. motionaway says: Mar 15, 2014 4:48 PM

    How about a Matthews/Cutler/Peppers sandwich?

  54. stellarperformance says: Mar 15, 2014 4:50 PM

    I would still like a Bears fan accustomed to the mutual respect between our franchises to give an opinion on this guy. We still don’t have time for the pettiness that comes from Minnesota. They still just don’t get it.

  55. bearshaterseverywhere says: Mar 15, 2014 5:22 PM

    Stellar, do you remember how you guys beat the Bears last year to make it to the playoffs. Peppers got crushed by Kuhn and Rodgers spun out and passed to a wide open Cobb. Peppers doesn’t have much pep left, but will always be double covered due to his size. I would say the biggest reason the Bears got rid of him was cuz of the money. Julius is still a force, on any defense.

  56. purpleguy says: Mar 15, 2014 5:22 PM

    Yeah, the cheeser posts on Viking articles are never petty, but articulate and respectful. Sheesh. It’s rich seeing how Packer trolls created the Viking posting monsters and now whine about it.

  57. cobaltdriver says: Mar 15, 2014 8:15 PM

    I love this pick up! Love the viking trash talk. How hilarious and unaware their fans are….like you’ve won anything in the last 30 years.

    Lol..try since the beginning of time!!

  58. cobaltdriver says: Mar 15, 2014 8:25 PM

    Yeah, the cheeser posts on Viking articles are never petty, but articulate and respectful. Sheesh. It’s rich seeing how Packer trolls created the Viking posting monsters and now whine about it.

    Yet here YOU are(surprise!!)on a Packer article (shocker!)crying about Packer fans(no way ) instead of football.(shut the front door!!!!)

  59. filthymcnasty1 says: Mar 15, 2014 8:42 PM

    It will be nice to see him finally get his ring.

  60. jgedgar70 says: Mar 17, 2014 10:04 AM

    Glad to see Peppers has landed in another “cosmopolitan” big city full of millions of “I don’t care about celebrities, I’ve seen them all” people and there are so many millions of them that he will blend in, never be recognized, and no one will ever gawk into the patio door of his house.

    What? He signed on to live in Green Bay, WI?

    Never mind…………..

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