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September 19, 2008

Fox: Sacks aren't measure for Peppers

Coach John Fox isn't worried that defensive end Julius Peppers doesn't have a sack yet in the Panthers' first two games.

"I think Julius has played exceptionally well this year," said Fox on Friday, two days before the Panthers play at Minnesota. "I've said this before. Way too much is made of sacks, way too much. I don't know how else to say it. Great players make Super Bowl runs and have only two sacks. It's a team game and there's more to it than sacks."

Peppers, the team's all-time sacks leader with 56.0, had just 2.5 last season. He continues to be double- and sometimes triple-teamed. Also, Fox said the offensive style of the Panthers' first two opponents -- San Diego and Chicago -- might have played a role in Peppers' not getting to the quarterback. The Chargers and Bears both favor quick releases and play-action passes from their quarterbacks, rather than wide-open passing attacks.

The last time the Panthers played at Minnesota (in 2006), Peppers had three sacks and five quarterback pressures.

"That might not have been his best game, but it was one of his better games," Fox said.

-- David Scott

Posted by Observer Sports on September 19, 2008 at 01:03 PM | Permalink


I've been waiting for this post. I think many know how I feel about Poopers; but to his credit, he has been disruptive these first two games. Still, I'm not on his bandwagon until he starts getting same game-changing plays in on a regular basis, signs a reasonable contract, and continues to perform well throughout the life of that contract. Still, he has been in the backfield often this year (much like Brayton... he just needs to close the deal (just like Brayton).

If Peppers can't put numbers up like he used to, then he should get a pay decrease (like everyone else would). Moreover, if Brayton and Peppers are getting the same stats, they should be getting the same paycheck.

Back to the real world--- in Pooper's defense, he hasn't had much time to get a sack. Opposing offenses have not been on the fiel as much, which decrease the chances for things like sacks.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 19, 2008 1:18:42 PM

In short/to translate...

It's still his contract year and he is showing the potential so far. Not to mention, he does have a whole new attitude, which shows with his play and demeanor on the field.

We should get a better gauge of what's to come this week.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 19, 2008 1:22:02 PM

I have said many this many times before, but we can not continue to put all the pressure on Peppers. The problem is Mike Tergovac who does not send in enough blitz packages to over load Peppers side of the ball. Or any side for that matter. This is the reason we are still at the bottom of the league in sacks. Trust me are where we are because somebody is praying for us. We cant continue to be one play away from a loss!!!! Although they have been fun to watch

Posted by: Chuck | Sep 19, 2008 1:40:16 PM

I have said this many times before, but we can not continue to put all the pressure on Peppers. The problem is Mike Tergovac who does not send in enough blitz packages to over load Peppers side of the ball, or any side for that matter. This is the reason we are still at the bottom of the league in sacks. Trust me we are 2-0 because somebody is praying for us. We cant continue to be one play away from a loss!!!! Although they have been fun to watch! (needed proof reading)

Posted by: Chuck | Sep 19, 2008 1:42:39 PM

So what IS the measure of a great DE? Tackles? 4 through two games, and no more than 3 in any one game for the past six games. Occupying blockers? He doesn't get double-teamed anywhere near as much as he did even during '06. Beating one-on-one blocking? Not often. So WHAT IS HE DOING? Brad Childress isn't happy for Jared Allen to be "disruptive." Tom Coughlin isn't happy for Justin Tuck to be "disruptive." They want THEIR guys getting to the quarterback.

At almost $16 million against our cap, two tackles a game without any sacks is NOT performing, no matter HOW you slice it.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Sep 19, 2008 1:46:18 PM

Example: Peppers took a speed rush last week and forced Orton into the arms of Damione Lewis.

Example: Peppers drops back into zone coverage and gets in the lane, preventing a pass to the TE and forcing Orton to throw the ball out of bounds before the blitzing Diggs gets to him.

Example: Peppers is single-blocked, but the RB stays in on the left side to help just in case. Brayton on the right side, along with a LB, nearly gets to Orton and he throws incomplete.

Anyone with a football IQ above "moron" understands the value of being disruptive. Only our native ass-talker can't quite grasp the concept.

Posted by: Michael Procton's Proctologist | Sep 19, 2008 1:58:11 PM

Michael, get back to school or no football for you this weekend.

Posted by: Michael Procton's Dad | Sep 19, 2008 2:25:38 PM

Why is it so important to have a sack anyway? Why do they keep stats on sacks? Do you really think the quarterback feels more pressured if he has been sacked several times? Is it really fun to be in the stands and see a player from your team sack the opposing quarterback? Is it disheartening for the offense to receive a sack or multiple sacks during a game? Is it a setback if your quarterback is sacked? How about if he is sacked in the end zone? Is that a good play? I've always thought sacks were an important part of the game. I guess they are not. I never thought about it from John Fox's point of view. So, no sacks are not bad? If there were a lot of sacks would he be pleased? Would he be even more pleased if there were a sack on every play? I'm guessing not, listening to him. He could care less if there were a sack or not. This is from a man who swears a punt is a good play. Just sayin.

Posted by: Lee | Sep 19, 2008 2:47:13 PM

Procton is right here --- all you tar heel fans that also happen to translate into Panther fans are sooooo apologetic for mr. peppers. you don't think that RB's stay in to help on Tuck or Allen? of course they do, but Tuck or Allen (as they are being used as the reference point here) are still making plays. 2 or 3 times this season peppers has whiffed on tackles or has been a little too late on sacks, etc. etc.

all i'm saying and i think all procton is saying here is that, peppers has played the last 1.5 seasons as an average to maybe slightly above average DE, therefore it's hard to justify him going 16 million against the salary cap.

the only point i'll concede is that Tergovac does not draw up the blitz near enough to help the front 4 create the sacks we need. Tergo loves the bend but don't break defense.

Posted by: john | Sep 19, 2008 2:56:35 PM

As long as the team wins, I don't care about the number of sacks Peppers has or the number of interceptions Jake throws. The win loss ratio is all that matters. Period. End of story.

I will argue though... I have a hard time with people suggesting that we pay Peppers 100+ million when his production doesn't merit that sort of money.

Posted by: Mike | Sep 19, 2008 3:03:18 PM

Pep can get to the QB which he showed during the 1st two games, can tackle, can drop into coverage, can contain runners, can block field goals. He does it all

Posted by: jake the snake | Sep 19, 2008 3:06:24 PM

At 16 MILLION against the Cap he better be damn more than "disruptive".

I am a Heel's fan, and I like Peppers but for the money he will command he realy needs to step it up. I will save all my rants on TURGOCRAP for later but when one of the best pass rushers in the league (or so we like to think)gets dropped into coverage on passing downs, there just arent a lot of opportunities.

The bigger problem is that Peppers needs to perform when he does get the chancel. I as a fan expect more from him. If he intends to be the highest paid defensive player of all time, he damn well better play like the BEST defensive player of all time.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 19, 2008 3:10:26 PM

well said joe, i'm hoping jake the snake was being sarcastic because "he does it all" made me laugh. he's done NOTHING in recent memory that stands out to me.

Posted by: john | Sep 19, 2008 3:13:56 PM

Peppers is still the guy opposing offenses gameplan around. Look at every QB when he drops back - his eyes look at Peppers, look at every running back when he runs - his eyes atleast glance at Peppers.

Peppers is playing very well, he is not a stats guy cuz they dont mean anything. A hurry can be more important than a sack because it can force an interception or bad decision by a QB

Posted by: bb | Sep 19, 2008 4:54:06 PM

I for one, am glad Peppers isn't just another "sack happy" DE like Allen or Freeney, or even how he himself used to be. He does a very good job stopping the runs to his side(which are rare). Has anyone stopped to think that maybe the reason his #'s are down is because we are always in close games or playing from behind, therefore never forcing our opponents to abandon the run. A DE's first priority is to keep containment, then tee off on QB's in obvious passing situations(which again are rare). Good job Peppers, for not constantly running yourself out of the play by trying to run around the OL on every down, leaving gapping holes in the defense. Thank you for caring more about the team's success more than your own. I Appreciate it.

Posted by: Jeremy | Sep 19, 2008 4:55:49 PM

Disruptive is good, not great. He is being paid, and I'm sure he expects to keep getting paid, as a great defensive end. If he can't do any better than "disrupt", we need to clear the wasted salary cap space. A freakin' home crowd can be disruptive, and they sure as hell aren't being paid.

Posted by: jeff | Sep 19, 2008 5:13:22 PM

i have to give peppers credit for being solid against the run but they need to cut him loose next year.you can buy a lot of talent for 16 million.m

Posted by: ray | Sep 19, 2008 6:33:42 PM

this guy can be a force this year, bottom line. he just needs to show it to get paid. he will sign, probably for outrageous money. I remember the game he had vs cleveland in 06, stunning. given the browns defense tha day, it was maybe not stunning that day but really really aggressive. I want more aggression from him, and less dropping back in pass protection from the playcalling of the defense (which is not his fault, only doing his assignment)at 6'7 280 this guy should be overpowering his way to the quarterback alot more if given the chance almost every down. please panthers coaching staff, use this guy to his strength, PASS RUSHING!

Posted by: brendan | Sep 19, 2008 6:35:50 PM

just read that we can franchise peppers next year. if thats the case we can resign gambble.gross will probably have to go.ive always felt that pressure,especially up the middle is more important than sacks.

Posted by: ray | Sep 19, 2008 8:22:14 PM

So what is it that makes Allen "sack happy" compared to Peppers? Since he became a full-time starter (2005), he's averaged more tackles (65-49), as many INTs (.3), more PDs (8.7-5.7), more FFs (4.3-2.7), more FRs (2.7-1.7). Oh, and yes, more sacks (11.3-8.7), even though John Fox and the Peppers apologists believe those don't matter. Oh, and for the guy who's "got the skills to be one of the best TEs in the league," it's Allen with the 2 career receiving TDs, NOT Peppers.

And yes, ray, we can franchise Peppers. But why in GOD'S name would you want to pay $18.96 mil for a DE who can't even get to the QB?

Posted by: Michael Procton | Sep 19, 2008 10:49:59 PM

I agree, Peppers hasn't been as dominant as many make him out to be over the last couple years. He's always been streaky though and will probably have some big games this year. I expect the Minnesota game to be a break out game for him this season. He should've had a sack last week but Orton ran away and right into Lewis.

But seriously, what happened to all the blitzes that we were using early in the preseason??? I mean it looked like we were really wanting to go after the QB and our starting defense didn't give up any points for the first 3 preseason games. Now all of a sudden, when the games matter, ol' Trgovac is going back to the (let's hope our front four is all we need to get pressure on the QB). And when we do blitz, we usually drop Peppers back in coverage.

I'd like to see a more aggressive defensive scheme like the Giants have. They lose 3 D-line starters during the course of the offseason and are still getting pressure on the QB, not because of their starting 4, but because of their blitz packages. And guys, QB pressures are the main contributer to interceptions, NOT good coverage.

Posted by: Christian | Sep 20, 2008 8:31:00 AM


Posted by: harrydogg | Sep 20, 2008 10:46:04 AM

I concur Jeremy.

Posted by: harrydogg | Sep 20, 2008 10:49:13 AM

Great point! It pays to think big picture than dwell on the individual statistics. As long as there is a W next to their name, I'm good to go. Would I love to see Peppers eat up a QB, yes. But at the end of the day, all that matters is the W. JP will get his in time. I'm very curious to see what Smitty will do against Minnesota. Will they double team him leaving Moose and DJ available or play him man to man? This should be a good one!

Posted by: Carolina Wild | Sep 20, 2008 2:56:17 PM

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