ASHBURN, Va. -- His sack totals earned him attention and eventually a big contract. His sack totals this season, though, have only led to questions: Is Julius Peppers, at 33, fading?
Through six games the Chicago Bears defensive end has one sack. Naturally, Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, who will match up against Peppers on Sunday, doesn’t see any change in his game.
“I don’t see a difference,” Williams said. “He’s still a disruption in the backfield. Maybe production goes down but that’s because everyone keys on him. And the [Bears'] line is banged up so it allows you to send extra guys to his side.”
Williams hasn’t faced Peppers since Williams' rookie season of 2010. Peppers did not record a sack in that 17-14 Redskins victory. Williams is obviously a different player since his rookie season, adding strength and experience.
He knows Peppers will be a challenge. Since the 1982 season, Peppers ranks 19th in the NFL with 112.5 sacks (and No. 3 since 2002) and his 38 forced fumbles are the fourth most in the league since 2002.
“He’s been doing this for a long time,” Williams said. “He’s very athletic, fast, strong. He’s scrappy. He’s a household name for a reason. … He approaches the game a little different. He has speed, he has power. He also has an array of moves that can get any offensive tackle off guard. It’s going to be a tough matchup.”
Williams said he still loses sleep over individual matchups like this one. He faced Dallas' DeMarcus Ware last week, though Ware left the game early with a leg injury. Williams played well against Green Bay's Clay Matthews, but has been inconsistent at other times.
“It’s Julius Peppers, man,” Williams said. “It doesn’t get too much harder than that. He’s definitely one of those guys that stays on your mind until after the game.
“It’s a chance for me to prove myself to my team and ultimately prove myself to me, to know that I can line up across from guys that are always on the All-Pro team and always in the Pro Bowl and come out and play effective.”